Waterscrumfall

Waterscrumfall
Intent
: Attempt to leverage Scrum benefits while retaining a stage gated approach

Proverbs: A dog cannot serve two masters; cr*p or get off the pot

Also Known As: Scrum-But, Agile In Name Only (AINO)

Motivation: Organizations may often have the goal of adopting an agile way of working, but they can lack the cultural grit to transition away from an established stage-gated culture. They then attempt to effect a compromise in which an iterative development approach is encapsulated within a development stage. In so doing they hope to leverage the benefits of agile practice, whilst not actually changing the organization's delivery approach or the terms of reference that are comfortable to stakeholders.

Structure: A team attempts to sprint in order to produce increments of work that are drawn iteratively from a Product Backlog. However, the sprints are constrained by the pre and post conditions of stage gates that are determined by a project plan, and the value delivered is correspondingly reduced.

Applicability: Waterscrumfall is widely used to constrain agile practice to a development stage. Requirements analysis and delivery are held to be outside of the remit of agile teams.

Consequences: The stage gated culture of an organization remains unchanged. Definitions of Done are weak because they do not cover the value stream through to release. Potentially releasable increments of value are not delivered and work continues to be batched into large shipments. The ability to inspect and adapt the engineering process is compromised due to delayed feedback. The potential to gain from early returns on investment is lost. Reputational damage can occur to agile practice since stakeholders may believe, incorrectly, that agile methods are in fact being applied.

Implementation
: This anti-pattern has been widely implemented across the public sector, but it can also be found in commercial organizations, particularly those at enterprise scale. Various agile scaling frameworks (e.g. Agility Path) have been developed in an attempt to provide remedy.

See Also: Iteration, Increment