Waterfall is a project management methodology with sets of processes designed for environments where the future solution can be predicted and documented.
Agile frameworks are designed for complex environments where the future solution is unknown, so plans and solutions are iterated as more is known.
The differences in these approaches means that agile tends to be more successful than waterfall.
Methodoligies are processed based and define all of the rules, artefacts, tasks and decision-making points that are required. In essence, a methodology is a complete set of rules and processes. PRINCE2 is an example of a project management “methodology”.
Frameworks, like SAFe however, are designed to be incomplete. While this means they are lightweight and highly adaptable, they often require significant expertise to make them successful. Some frameworks, like Scrum, provide a bottom-up approach. Ultimately, there is no “agile project managementmethodology” — they’re all frameworks.
The essential difference between Waterfall and agile frameworks like Scrum is in its predictive versus adaptive practices. Importantly, Waterfall is a methodology. It employs processes that assume if you follow them, you’ll have successful delivery. Scrum, however, while it has a high level plan and objectives, empolys empiricm to inspect increments of potentially releasable product and then adapts to any changes needed in a plan for the next 2 weeks.
Due to its inherent ability to adapt to change, research indicates that agile frameworks like Scrum are more successful.
|Schedule driven||Value driven|
|Assumes that extensive up-front planning will decrease risk and improve solution delivery||Assumes that building solution increments, inspecting them, and then adapting plans will decrease risk|
|Project management governance||Product management governance|
|Bottom-up: Upfront plan creates the cost, schedule, estimates||Top-down: Financial investments are made in the intended outcome and imapct.|
|Development is phase based and sequential||Development is iterative and incremental|
|Focus is predictive||Focus is adaptive|
|Demonstrate progress by reporting on activity and stage gateways||Demonstrate progress by demonstrating the impact and outcome of the investment based on the features delivered; showing an increment of the solution each Sprint.|
|Product quality at the end after extensive test/fix activities||Quality is built in with upfront standards|
|Batches are large (frequently 100%)||Optimises smaller, economically sensible, batch sizes for speed of delivery of valued features|
|Critical learning applies on one major analyse-design-build-test loop||Leverages multiple concurrent learning loops|
|Process is tolerant of late learning||Work is organised for fast feedback|
|Handovers between analyse-design-build-test phases with knowledge stored in documents||Cross-functional team with knowledge of the product invested in the whole team through shared experiences|