Chapter Communications Blog

Similarities between Agile and Waterfall methodologies for Software Development

Author: Raashid Kiani, PMP, CSM

The Agile development is relatively new and, based on my experience, is the most misunderstood methodology. The objective of this article is to explain the similarities between Agile and other conventional methodologies in order to convey the message that Agile is not a very new way of developing software applications. The main difference is that you welcome change based on the customer’s feedback early on in the software application development and you deliver the products quickly rather than waiting to develop the entire software before engaging the customer.

This article mainly focuses on Waterfall and Scrum. However before I delve into detail let us rehash the definition of the Waterfall and Agile developments.

Waterfall

The Waterfall Model is a linear sequential development methodology where every next phase has finish to start dependency. This means that any phase under development begins only if the previous phase is complete. The methodology is based on three simple principles: strong documentation, low degree of customer involvement, and sequential structure of project realization.

The Waterfall approach does not define the process to go back to the previous phase to handle changes in the requirements. The diagram below shows the different phases in Waterfall SDLC (Systems Development Life Cycle).

waterfall 

 

 

Agile (Scrum)

Agile methodology is based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between cross-functional teams with very extensive involvement of the client. Agile methodologies are open to changing requirements. The business stakeholders and developers work together to align the product with customer needs. 

scrum

 

Similarities

We need to understand that adapting Agile methodology does not mean that you are kicking into something very new. However, when it comes to the comparison on the two methodologies, people tend to forget that both methodologies have the similar goals i.e. to deliver a quality software application fulfilling the customer’s requirements. Both teams do the same activities – gather requirements, design, develop, test and deploy. Thus, the foundation stays the same, i.e. you still do the planning, execute the project and track the progress. I have listed down the similarities to provide more insight here, which may help to understand the concept and which may make you feel comfortable choosing either of the methodologies.

Aspects

Waterfall

Agile (Scrum)

 

Feasibility analysis

Cost benefit analysis is done to evaluate if the project/product development is financially, technically and operationally feasible. This may result in a business case. This phase normally takes long as effort is made upfront to capture as much detail as possible to avoid rework in the subsequent phases of the project.

Feasibility is also conducted, however unlike waterfall, this phase will not take long. Considerably less time is spent refining the requirements and working out details.
The customer/client are engaged very early in the phase to get buy-in and refine the requirements as we go.

Planning

Detailed planning is considered as a vital part of the conventional methodologies with the aim to deliver the project as per expectations and avoid changes to the requirements/scope. The plan formulated at the start of the project is monitored throughout the project. There are likely fewer chances to change the scope, add or exclude the requirements. And once the project plan is baselined, change is not welcomed.

Planning is also very important however, the detailed planning is not done upfront. The detailed level planning is done during a sprint planning when team is ready to take a certain chunk of the requirements and start planning to develop. This planning is ongoing, as the team is working on an active sprint, the product owner along with the scrum master or other SMEs continue to refine requirements and plan the next subset of requirements. The change is welcomed, however new requirements are not added during an active sprint.

Monitoring  & Tracking

The progress of the project is tracked against the project plan. Regular status reviews are held to evaluate the progress and then report the status to the management and sponsor(s). The weekly or monthly status reports are also built by the project managers and then shared with all the stakeholders.

Project tracking is also very critical in Agile. The progress is measured against each sprint. The team collectively reviews the results of the sprint and evaluates the progress on the project. The sprint report is created and shared with the stakeholders. The progress is also measured through the demo of the functionality built.   

Communication

The communication plan is normally part of the project plan. The project managers are mostly responsible to communicate on the project and conduct progress review meetings that can be on a weekly or a monthly basis.

The communication is very open, regular and face-to-face. Daily stand up, sprint planning, retrospective and sprint reviews are worth mentioning. The customer is actively involved throughout the project.

Roles

Typical roles. The team members deputed for particular roles perform only their assigned roles and that will not change (e.g. a developer will only do the development and will not work on testing or any other work stream).

Same roles like business analyst, solution architect, developers, testers etc. with the exception of scrum master, which is interchangeably switched with project manager.
However, teams in Agile are self-organizing and, unlike Waterfall, team members switch roles if they can or have cycles (e.g. a developer may help tester in testing).

 

Documentation

Involves extensive documentation.
Considerable time and effort is spent upfront to document the requirements.

Advocates working software delivery compared to spending time on comprehensive
documentation. However, one should not be carried away with the notion of having absolutely no documentation in Agile SDLC. You still need to document requirements, build design and write test plans.

In the end I would say there are pros and cons to both methodologies, however it is you who needs to evaluate which one to pick. Moreover, these methodologies are guidelines and you might need to tailor them when keeping the requirements of the organization in mind.

 

Loic Hascher100x100

Author: Loïc Hascher, PMP, ACP

How should you spend a rainy Saturday? What about gathering with a group of fellow project managers to learn more about "Charismatic Presentation Power"? This was indeed a very insightful day for all of us! With lots of practice and exercises provided by former professional actress Anouk Scherer. All attendees could try out their presentation skills while being recorded and reviewed by the whole group. As we all know, controlling your voice speed, your tone and gesture are not an easy thing, especially in front of a big audience. But thanks to Anouk's experience, all of us could learn and improve!

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 pm master 2

alp vesikalik

Interview by: Alp Camci, PMP

Get to Know Jürgen Ekert

Continuing our "Extended Get to Know" series, Alp interviews Jürgen Ekert Head of Project Management & Engineering in Endress+Hauser Group Services.

Could you please tell the readers about yourself like your specialized fields, current role, your motivation in being a member of the Swiss Chapter or any other relevant information about yourself, which you would like to share?

Yes my pleasure. My name is Jürgen Ekert and at Endress+Hauser I am globally responsible for Project Management & Engineering. Already during my study at university, I realized how important project management is. I started at Endress+Hauser as a project manager and executed national and international customer projects. During a 2-year working period in Southeast Asia I learned a lot about cultural differences and the many aspects of project management. Later in my career I broadened my knowledge and became a Project Management Professional (PMP). Communication and collaboration are for me the most important topics needed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of projects. This was one reason I decided to execute a coaching education program. I see coaching as a new language, which helps in leadership, project management and in private life to get the best out of people. In the Endress+Hauser world I have trained and coached more than 1,000 people in many different countries. I draw my motivation from working and exchanging with other people.

Could you please tell us about your previous and current participation in the PMI-CH Chapter?

To survive in our fast changing and globalized world we need constantly to adapt to new situations, keep open to other opinions, new technologies, different behaviours and other cultures. This is one thing I love about my job. Nevertheless, it requires continuous self-driven learning.

If I am not traveling I enjoy the events and the networking of PMI Switzerland. It is a good platform for exchange and getting inspiration from others. For more than 5 years now, I have organized an annual PMI event for PMI Switzerland at our office in Reinach. Having the full support and commitment of my company for this is something I really treasure. I always try to find speakers that inspire and help the participants to explore areas outside their field of activity. We have had, for example, an extreme runner and a guy from Generation Y. Usually the speakers I select have also in one way or another inspired me.

jurgen ekert
As actively participating in and hosting events with the Swiss Chapter, could you please tell us about your experiences?

The Swiss Chapter is a connection of nice and experienced people offering the platform for exchange in the region (nearby). Enjoying a network evening after work, accessible in just a couple of minutes is great. Last year I changed the position and gave my own speech at PMI Switzerland which was a great opportunity to share my experience.


Are you also active in any other chapter?

Part of my team is located in India, so I have already contacted the local PMI Chapter in Mumbai and plan to do a speech there in 2019. My motivation clearly is to network and get some insights in a fast changing and volatile country. It will be interesting how PMI operates in India.

How do you describe the role of project office in your organization and the benefits towards project managers?

“Doing the same things in the same way, right from the beginning.” That’s what we establish. Driving constant change within the group. With harmonized processes, harmonized tooling platforms and training for Project Management & Engineering we are moving our organization step-by-step to project excellence.

How do you see the project management role and the role of project offices evolving over the coming years?

Adaptability is key in a fast-paced changing world. Nevertheless, having a good plan, working according to that plan and being able to adapt and align to changes as fast as possible is essential. In my opinion project management will also be very important in the future. With artificial intelligence and new tools project managers will gain insights they never had before. So, faster decision making will be possible. With this the project manager will be able to focus on the real issues / topics in the project as well. My feeling is we will be able to handle projects that we have not been able to handle before. We need to have processes, methodologies and tools that help to manage unknown and complex situations simply and predictably.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a project manager?

Biggest challenge? That is a good question. I would say the biggest challenge for me as a project manager is the fact that human beings often prefer indirect communication instead of direct communication. Talking to a person directly makes a huge difference.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as Head of PMO?

The biggest challenge I see is the resistance of people to change. We tend to stick to things which worked in the past but things from the past will not always work in the future. Here, the interesting thing is to take people along the journey.

How would you describe the influence of your profession as a project manager in your personal life?

There is absolutely no influence on personal life. Hahaha kidding. Clearly this has an effect on private life as well. The way you do things, the way you organize things. Sometimes you have to be careful that other people do not feel you are over-organized.

We heard that you are engaged in a charity project?

My passion in free time is running. I enjoy my daily run (my hour of power) to relax, generate new ideas, release stress, clear my mind, think about project management… I always say this is meditation with adrenalin. A few years ago two friends and I implemented an idea to do a run from Feldberg to Basel (along the Wiese River for a total of 59 km – partial distance possible) and collect a €1 donation by the participants per km they run. We donate 100% of the money to establish water distribution systems in Cameroon, Africa and collected more than €100,000. My background in project management helped us to implement our plan, to get organized and quickly react to changes.

How do you see PMI in terms of participating in the development of the project management profession?

PMI is constantly working on the foundation of project management. For example, education programs, e-learning, events and of course the PMBok Guide help people to take on the profession of project management and achieve deeper insights. The Agile Practice Guide, which was released with the 6th edition of the PMBok Guide gives new insights to the latest developments in project management. This is a great opportunity. PMI and especially the Swiss Chapter connects people with similar backgrounds.

Any other thoughts and information you would like to share with our readers?

I hope to see as many readers at this years PMI Event at Endress+Hauser on the 5th of December. I look forward to further exchanges and inspiration. Thanks for the interview.

Elena Milusheva   Loic Hascher100x100
 
Authors: Elena Milusheva, PMP and Loïc Hascher, PMP, ACP
 
 
How to plan for "The beginning of the end"
 
nyc skyline
 
If you think that the Manhattan skyline is there to stay, you might not know that the design of a new skyscraper includes already the plan of its dismantling. The same should go for a system, although it rarely does. Ask those who try to read data archived 20 years ago in the then formats. System decommissioning is much more than unplugging and scrapping it. In fact, it requires as much solid planning, technical understanding and program management approach as the implementation project itself. Yet, the decommissioning projects rarely receive much Management attention. 
 
"Unfairly so," underscores James Greene - previous PMI Swiss chapter president and experienced project manager, who shared with us on 18 October in Basel the complexity of decommissioning projects. But the first question was the obvious: why should we decommission systems at all? Or isn’t that just a simple press on the “erase” button? 
 
Actually decommissioning projects are much more complex than that. James compared them with surgery. It really consists of taking something out of the organization and then letting the organization heal from the removal. And there are multiple reasons why you should undertake such a project, whether it is decommissioning an IT system, a merger with a new company, offshoring, etc...
 
By sharing his experience on the subject, James insisted that the analysis is the key phase. You need to understand the scope of what needs to be done as well as the requirements. Does my system have any interface with others? What is the data as an input and output of the system? What is the impacted infrastructure? And of course, as we all know, who are my stakeholders? 
 
Once this analysis is done, you have to document all of this in the system retirement plan, and while executing it, ensure that all dependencies are converging towards to same goal: being able to retire the system without impacting the daily business!
 
As a conclusion, most of us are involved with implementation projects, and only a very few with system decommissioning. But after this insightful presentation, we all realized that they can be fun too!

Julia Posselt

Author: Julia Posselt, PMP

Connect with your Leadership Superpower

A lovely Saturday morning in Bern. It’s our PMI Switzerland Volunteer Day 2018 where Elena and I surprised thirty-five of PMI Switzerland’s active volunteers with the benefit of diving into a one-day experiential workshop, earning PDUs for their recertification with PMI while at the same time stepping into their leadership authority

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Impressions of our lively day

Highly energized, we excitedly designed our group and leader alliances, explored multi-sensory experiences, took on different perspectives, learned about dynamic leadership, reflected individually as well as in dyads and groups, loved the circled seating, experienced the power of co-leading, dived into lots of experiential exercises and deepened our curiosity using lots of powerful questions. 

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The Multidimensional Leadership Model

We walked and explored the five different dimensions of the Leadership Model, discussing the five different ways to lead while finding body postures and gestures to deepen the essential findings of the Leader Within, Leader in Front, Leader Behind, Leader Beside, and Leader in the Field.

PMI vol day 2018p5Every leader can potentially operate from all five dimensions at different times, shifting from one to the otherdepending ontheir leadership style and the needs of the moment. At the center of the model lies Leader Within. Leading from Within allows you living your life with integrity according to your own internal compassandguided by your purpose and values. From here you choose which other dimensions to step into. Invited to an inner journey, the group went on a journey to new awareness, taking aha-moments as inspiration to spark actions in their voluntary work as well as their day-to-day work life.

Thank you for making our day so special…

Larisa Aragon who provided us with a central location at Uni Engehalde nearby Bern main station. 

Oli and his team from https://www.lunchbag.ch spoiled us with local tasty tidbits. 

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 And, last but not least, the Multidimensional Leadership Model and its gestures were demonstrated and facilitated by our fantastic four coaches: Gail Corbett-Smith, Lourdes Martins, Michael Bieder, and Norun Laahne Thomassen. 

Curious to experience the “Leadership Tai Chi” yourself? 

Then join us at the PMI Zurich Event in January 2019 (date and location will be announced early December). For organizing a workshop for teams in other regions please don’t hesitate to directly reach out to me, sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’ll be happy to forward this action… making connection key to inspiration. 

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