Waterfall is sometimes better than Agile

I use this as small workshop/discussion panel addressed to people who are wither fixed on doing everything Agile way. This helps to understand that not everything is meant to be developed in Scrum. I briefly talk about what is a waterfall and what is the agile approach. In the end, I open discussion panel questioning: What projects can’t be done Agile way?

How did we use to work? Waterfall

We used to split developing products into parts following one after another:

  1. Collecting requirements
  2. Designing
  3. Implementation
  4. Verification
  5. Maintenance

We call this model a Waterfall because the flow is from top to bottom with no returns whatsoever. It was first shown to audience 29 June 1956 by mister Benington. It was connected with software for SAGE. Strictly connected with NORAD. In 1970 Winston Royce said this model is not working, but not all agreed and in 1985 US DoD made this an example of how their contractors should work. Rules are to never ever move for next step if the current one is not fully finished.


  • The structure is clear. Information is clear.
  • The goal is set from the beginning.
  • The risk is higher.
  • If terminated after 90% of the time give almost no value


  • It’s difficult to change anything
  • Exclude the client from the process.

How we are working right now? Agile

Shortly, Agile Manifesto was proclaimed 11-13 February 2001, let’s go through principles once more:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

There are many agile frameworks out there on market. You may be familiar with Scrum and Kanban. They both do the similar thing: they prepare a piece of working product, deploy it, gather feedback and repeat from start, but with taking in mind what you already learned.


  • Changes are easy to apply.
  • Trackable progress.
  • The risk is lower.


  • Require high skilled / cross-functional teams.
  • Hard to scale

So what projects can NOT be run an Agile way?

There are elephants in the room, believe me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *