Agile vs Waterfall debate

It seems no amount of process can overcome dysfunction. Perhaps the biggest challenge of developing tech products is respect among the team members. Or as we say in Requirements That Work, "friends build products."

Joel St-Denis writes in the Agile vs Waterfall debate: It was interesting to see that 2 of the companies in question had success in moving from a Waterfall to Agile methodology and both Product Management and Development had made the transition with success. On the other hand, 2 of the other companies had found challenges, and continued to struggle with the shorter sprints, or scrum approach, to Agile. The consensus seemed to be that there was a lack of respect between the PM and Dev groups in the companies which had issues, and this led to both departments pointing the finger at one another for delivery failures.

We commented on the role of product management in agile environments in Extreme Product Management with more specifics in how to deliver products people want to buy in an agile development environment.

Regardless of the development methodology, product managers should serve as conduits of market information. Too often we're attempting to control product development through rigorous requirements and a comprehensive Gantt chart. Instead we should influence with market information in the form of stories and personas.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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