We’ve all been there. You’re in a meeting and someone asks you what you plan to achieve over the next 12 months. The only problem is that those damn hipster developers have adopted Agile and refuse to give you any plans or estimates beyond a few weeks. That won’t fly in a presentation to the board of directors who want some kind of guarantee backed up with a specific timeline of the progress that will be made in the next year.
This all used to be so much easier with Waterfall. You’d have a huge spec with every aspect planned, refined, and agreed upon, and everyone would know who was doing what for months in advance.
What is your average enterprise cube farmer supposed to do?
I’m happy to say that there is a new evolution of Agile that is taking root in enterprises all around the world. You may have heard of this new management strategy by its street name of “waterfragile” or “scrummerfall.” Whatever you call it, there is only one way to describe it: winning.
Waterfragile takes the best terminology and “powerpointability” from Waterfall and Agile and ditches anything that requires hard work. The result is a chart that defines the highlights of every “Sprint” over the next year. It gives those top floor old school management types the kind of security and confidence they need to flick their bosses a winning “I got this” smile at the next executive retreat, while also using terms like sprint and two-week development cycles that developers have come to love. It does it all without the need to design, document, or even really understand the project being planned.
Now, there are some who will say that the diligence and discipline required to adequately plan and execute a project with Waterfall is completely at odds with the Agile method of planning small iterations. Haters gonna hate. This is true. However, when your PowerPoint presentation is put up on the wall showing every fortnight “Sprint” planned out for the next year, all you will see is the smiling faces of those who have no idea what any of it actually means.
So, next time you find yourself being asked for a long-term plan for a complex project that you have no hope of actually creating a reasonable specification and timeline for, I encourage you to take a closer look at the waterfragile revolution. Waterfragile plans and charts are just so damn pretty and easy to build that you’ll wonder why anyone ever called project management hard work.