water scrum fall

A Guide to Water-Scrum-Fall Project Management

10 min read7th of October 2021

Water-scrum-fall. Wagile. Scrumfall. There’s a lot of terminology floating around to describe one project management methodology – but what is it… and are you already using it?

The short guide explains everything you need to know.

What is Water-Scrum-Fall?

As the name suggests, Water-scrum-fall is a hybrid of two project management methodologies that you’ll already be familiar with: waterfall and scrum. This hybrid approach is sometimes also called ‘Wagile’. 

The ‘water’ aspect covers the upfront project planning, such as direction, timeline, and budget. ‘Scrum’ features the middle of the process, with a particular focus on teams. The combination of both methodologies creates a flexible approach where the team can utilize the best parts of each while working on a project.

Here’s how it looks on paper. Waterfall, with scrum sprints interspersed throughout the project.

Pick the right type of project for the challenge at hand

Is Water-Scrum-Fall right for my organization?

The truth is, many organizations may already be using water-scrum-fall. Just not formally or effectively. 

First coined by analyst firm Forrester Research, the term water-scrum-fall was used to describe the reality of agile methodology in many organizations. 

Take software development as an example. Traditionally, development teams using a waterfall methodology approached the development process for a product as a large, single project. At the end of the project, a development team releases the finished software.

Contrast this with a development team using the scrum methodology. The same project would be approached with a series of mini projects called sprints, and software would be released periodically until the full product was complete.  

How do Agile and Waterfall methodologies fit together?

Water-scrum-fall is a flexible approach, embracing traditional and agile development principles. This hybrid methodology allows teams to use whatever techniques best meet the needs to solve the task at hand at any certain time.

Some organizations use agile principles and scrum communication techniques in their day-to-day product development but, for planning, budgeting or documenting the project’s progress, revert to the waterfall

How are Water-Scrum-Fall projects different from Waterfall or Kanban?

Waterfall Projects: 

Waterfall project management divides a project into distinct, sequential phases, with each new phase starting only after the preceding one is finished. The Waterfall approach is the most common method for project management, with team members working in a linear fashion toward a common end objective.

Kanban Projects: 

Kanban is a visual project management paradigm that fosters small, incremental updates to projects or systems. The Kanban method is based on pulling work from a backlog and completing it just as needed, often known as the Just-in-Time approach. Kanbans are used to implement Agile methodology.

Water-Scrum-Fall Projects

The water-scrum-fall Projects, also sometimes known as Wagile in Agile Management, provide you with the Long term vision of the Project Timeline whereas the Kanban process helps you achieve your tasks in a quick manner. The combination of Kanban and Waterfall projects gives the Project manager the flexibility to get more done in less time.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Water-Scrum-Fall?

Advantages
 
  • Each project optimized for success
  • Each process evaluated for fit
  • Bespoke methodology
  • Increased flexibility and adoption
  • Speed and control 
  • Enhanced adaptability 
  • Practical and priority-based workflows

Disadvantages

  • Requires Waterfall and Agile expertise
  • Overwhelming possible combinations

How do you implement a Water-Scrum-Fall project?

Water-scrum-fall is complex to pull off in a user-friendly manner, as it involves connecting many moving parts.

Waterfall Project

As the diagram above shows, waterfall relies on dates and sequences, and reporting on object relationships with a combination of standard and custom fields is likely to be straightforward. 

Where things get difficult is when organizations want to combine the waterfall featured above, with the agile tactics shown below.

Kanban Project

Finding the right software is critical here – because blending the best of waterfall and the best of agile is something you’re only likely to find in the most advanced solutions, as picture below.

Water Scrum Fall Project

When would you need to use Water-Scrum-Fall?

Use Case 1: Project Managers usually struggle with long projects where multiple teams and departments are involved. Some teams prefer Kanban, while others prefer the Waterfall style Projects (it is extremely difficult for a Project manager to convince all of them to work in one type of Project Methodology).

Cloud Coach Solution: Cloud Coach provides Water-Scrum-Fall Projects where different teams can follow a Kanban process or Waterfall process within the same Project. Given the time frame of a project, it is extremely important for a Project Manager to keep the teams happy and satisfied to ensure timely completion of the project.

Use Case 2: Project Managers deal with Change Orders often where the timelines are extended or more deliverables are added (In these Cases a New Phases or Short term tasks are added). 

Cloud Coach Solution: Project Managers can create Water-Scrum-Fall Projects, and if they receive additional requirements they can always add Phases/tasks to accommodate those or add Kanban Process Boards to help and achieve the tasks on time.

Use Case 3: An organization has used a specific approach to projects for a long time. Projects tend to be longer in duration and structured tasks have specific dates to meet. Sometimes there are multiple levels of tasks and phases to complete a particular phase of the project.

Cloud Coach Solution: Project Managers can use Waterfall Projects to follow a structured project plan featuring multiple layers of the work-breakdown structure (WBS) to further divide the phases and tasks required to complete the phase of the project.

Use Case 4: A software development project team works on small, iterative projects, but don’t follow a larger project plan. The team doesn’t have a set process, but is looking for process organization to track progression of tasks on these quick projects. 

Cloud Coach Solution: The Kanban project method is one single board that tracks the progression of tasks, known as cards, within the project. The board can follow one of the established Cloud Coach processes, or by one customized by Cloud Coach Admin. Each card can have color tags associated with them to categorize the tasks and make them searchable. The Project Manager can easily assign their team members to cards, who can track many types of details of the cards such as the description, priority and due date.

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