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What is WAgile?

Posted by Adrian M.

Article Rating // 4544 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Agile Methods


WAgile is a term coined to describe software development processes which employ a combination of Waterfall and Agile methodologies.  While there are not defined standards for WAgile, most organizations which find themselves using this hybrid approach do so by using agile constructs for the development teams aka scrum teams while also employing waterfall planning methods at the portfolio or program levels.

With waterfall methodologies being considered legacy or outdated and with agile methodologies being viewed as the modern way to develop software, why WAgile?

Well, most organizations do not make the conscious decision to use WAgile hybrid approaches but rather their WAgile environment is the result of a waterfall organizations' decision to become agile only to discover that demands placed on them by management, shareholders, or investors do not allow them to adopt a pure agile approach.

Scenarios which may require a WAgile approach include:

  • Projects involving strict regulatory or compliance requirements requiring a more structured and more documented approach
  • Large and complex projects where early planning and design stages follow a more traditional Waerfall approach to ensure comprehensive requirements gathering and design
  • When dealing with clients which expect or are more comfortable with traditional project management methods, a WAgile could satisfy the contractual obligations
  • Organizations which use a yearly budget cycle required by regulatory reporting, such as publicly traded companies governed by specific accounting standards
  • When contractual obligations or leadership expectations require strict adherence to scope, budget, and timelines
  • When moving directly to an agile approach is not possible, WAgile can provide a bridge or a stepping stone to future transition

Finding themselves in a hybrid environment, companies would do well to accept the WAgile approach by leveraging the best of both worlds and tailoring their specific methodology based on their specific needs.  Some WAgile processes may be skewed more towards agile while others may be more skewed towards waterfall.  Neither approach is wrong if it meets the needs of the organization..

You may hear, from agile purists, comments such as “WAgile is bad”, “Move away from WAgile”, “Is WAgile even a thing?” , “WAgile creates confusion”, “WAgile is ugly”, “WAgile is worse than waterfall”, etc.  

Should you listen to them?

Sure, listen to them… but… make up your own mind.  Don’t let yourself be persuaded by opinions but by the requirements that your organization is faced with.  

In a nutshell, if WAgile works then it works.

What is WAgile?  Waterfall + Agile



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