Deck the halls with specifications
Water folly lolly la, la la la la
Wad up the changed versions for decorations
Water folly la, la la la la

Don we now our passing deadlines
Waterfall folly la, la la la
Tripping bugs like aging landmines
Wateryfolly la, la la la la

Ok, I kid. In all seriousness, I’ve learned some great things going from Agile to Waterfall that I’d like to share. Scrum has a few problems that I’d like to see addressed. One is that the PO job is too hard! On the project I’m working on, we have a great team of Business and Functional Analysts. They are working with end users to design something that works overall WITH agreement and flexibility for change in the future. Because they demo the creation in Proof of Concept, and because there is User Acceptance Testing, there is more customer interaction than the Agile team I worked on. Also, instead of the product owner being the one who understands, we are all responsible for understanding and building/testing/designing what suits the business need. The part where someone communicates well with the users is deemphasized in the way Agile is often implemented, especially with Scrum.

So far the best part of working on this team is my stress level. I’m not working every weekend and until 1am. I don’t feel on the verge of tears or like I’m working with an axe over my head. I have a reasonable amount of time to do things. The schedule is MORE agile than my agile project was. I do not miss the daily Scrum meetings at all. I meet up with the analysts when I have questions, and in this way communication is better than it was on my agile team.

If I could change one thing, it would be the specs. Rather than endless pages of documentation, we’d do quick presentations, diagrams, and demos. The recordings in video would be the working spec. It is getting the walk through and agreement that matters, not the format. I also notice that business people read even less than we do. No one making business decisions want to read a 150 page technical spec. I like the agile approach better.

I’ve realized I want to work on a team with great communication, a flatish org structure, and to have trust. I’d prefer a place who doesn’t do “initiatives” and instead is focused on building great software (what works over what the process is). I don’t think scrum or waterfall are good answers. In fact, I think scrum as practiced has little to do with the agile manifesto.