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Agile-Waterfall Hybrid: Smart Approach or Terrible Solution?

Project managers often face long product development cycles, and constantly changing priorities that disrupt the development process. The consequence: an end product that doesn't meet customer expectations.

Traditional project management methodologies are often blamed for being unable to adapt to the changes which often make testing products or changing alterations impossible. An Agile approach is often considered the perfect solution, especially for projects with multiple changes.

While the Agile approach has many advantages, it is important to note that it is not a “one size fits all” solution. As a result, we often see businesses using a combination of Agile and traditional Waterfall methods. Generally, these custom Hybrid solutions are products of a trade-off: having to keep some level of planning and structure while aiming to reap the benefits of an iterative, flexible, collaborative approach.

One of the most popular of these combined methods today is the Agile-Waterfall Hybrid method as described by Erick Bergmann and Andy Hamilton.

The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid model really is a compromise and as such, it has as many pros as cons. That said, it is often considered a smart approach for adopting both methodologies without compromising too much – essentially, making the best of both worlds.

The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid method in a nutshell

  • Implementing Agile-Waterfall Hybrid allows certain software-specific teams to work Agile while hardware development teams and product managers can keep using a traditional PMP/Waterfall approach for the overarching project.
  • This method involves tight integration and continuous collaboration between Waterfall and Agile departments and teams from product concept through validation and production. The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid method enables efficient collaboration, and a better adaptation to changing requirements.
  • The Hybrid model greatly supports product line management and reusing software code when dealing with a line of somewhat similar products. In such situations, quick turnaround and the efficient reuse of work items and processes is crucial. Backlog management is a critical area for the successful adoption of this Hybrid model, increasing the importance of adequate software version / release planning methods.

As with all Hybrid models, both sides must compromise. Waterfall development must give up some of the certainty of fixed expectations for the flexibility and freedom of the Agile world. The Agile compromise is to be creative but with far less freedom, working against a fixed deadline with cost forecasting and thorough risk assessment.

The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid model aims to retain the dependency tracking and clarity of Waterfall, while embracing the strengths of the Agile methodology, providing the flexibility and transparency necessary to adapt to fast-changing requirements.

Due to its support for both Waterfall and Agile processes and its highly flexible architecture, codeBeamer ALM is an ideal tool for Hybrid software development.

Interested in finding out more? Contact us to book a free, live 1-on-1 demo, or start your free 30-day trial of codeBeamer ALM to see how it could help streamline your development processes. Before you start, let us recommend you watch the webinar recording below: