Managing agile and waterfall together

by Josh Biggs in Software on 28th September 2020

If you are not fully happy with the conventional Waterfall methodology but hesitate to switch to Agile, you can try a hybrid of these two approaches. In this article, you’ll find a brief description of the two most popular hybrid options.

Agile and Waterfall approaches to software development don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Some companies stick to the conventional Waterfall concept because they suspect that switching to Agile would be too costly or complicated. If this is your case, consider applying Agile and Waterfall combined. Like this, it will be easier for your staff to adopt innovations and the transformation won’t be too drastic. Below, you’ll find useful tips on how to create a hybrid of these two approaches and which benefits it will bring.

What Should the Hybrid Inherit from Waterfall

These are the shortcomings of the Waterfall that you probably would like to avoid:

  • The time of working on a product is distributed unevenly. The staff would pay primary attention to the initial phases and concentrate less on the final testing.
  • Be ready to recompile your product from scratch if a major bug is discovered at the last phase of testing. All the staff will need to wait until profile specialists eliminate the error.
  • The expenses of fixing an error discovered at the final phase might be up to 60% higher as compared to debugging on initial phases.
  • The delivery of large projects might be postponed because the initial requirements were not articulated clearly enough. You might start building the product just to realize by practical consideration that you completely misunderstood the ultimate objective.

However, the Waterfall concept has certain advantages as well, and you might strive to retain them:

  • Its rigid model is spot-in for projects with well-defined requirements. Upon completion of each phase, you receive a quality result that you can easily check and analyze.
  • It provides optimum conditions for working on technical and functional specifications as well as technical architecture.
  • The quality assurance specialists can build comprehensive test cases without haste, run them and get unequivocal outcomes.
  • If your staff doesn’t regularly meet in the office, it will be easier for them to remotely figure out the requirements and explore the documentation.

The hybrid Agile Waterfall methodology proves that these merits can be successfully preserved.

What Can Agile Contribute to the Hybrid Model

This approach has fewer drawbacks than the previous one:

  • Your staff should be flexible, dynamic and eagerly adapt to frequent changes. This might provoke excessive stress to decision-makers and developers.
  • If some of your employees, clients or partners don’t adhere to the same methodology, you might fail to find common ground. The efficiency of Agile might decrease if you don’t think in sync.

However, the strong sides of this approach confidently outperforms the weak ones:

  • Tests are carried out at the end of each sprint. If any bugs are identified, it will be easier and more cost-efficient to fix them.
  • The client doesn’t need to wait until the product is ready. They can check it at each stage of development, make adjustments and control the implementation of the initial requirements.
  • If the client modifies the initial requirements, the developers will relatively effortlessly adjust to it thanks to the adaptive planning method.
  • This methodology regards documentation as excessive ballast and reduces it to a minimum while providing more space for designing and executing test cases.

To make the most of this concept, you might want to know about Agile metrics that matter.

Project management Agile Waterfall takes the best of both approaches and allows you to enjoy a greater flexibility without stressful disruptions. Below, we’ll concentrate on the most widespread and efficient ways of mixing these concepts.

The Essence and Advantages of Agifall

Agifall is one of the two most common ways of combining these two approaches. It will allow you to accomplish the following goals:

  • Cut down expenses
  • Boost the quality of your products
  • Accelerate the development

You’ll be applying ready-made prototype tools while centering the planning around the ultimate user. The planning and requirements of the Waterfall concept will be fragmented into user stories. These stories will be integrated into the sprint not linearly but by their priorities.

This combination of Waterfall and Agile will suit you if you often deal with loose Waterfall processes. To start working on a new phase, you don’t need to wait until the previous one is completed. Some of your employees can focus on separate elements or modules while their colleagues are still conceiving the general outlines of a bigger process — this is where the Agile methodology fully reveals itself. Graphic designers and testers can carry out their duties while the development is still on a course.

The Peculiarities and Benefits of Water-Scrum-Fall

The Waterfall Scrum hybrid suggests implementing Scrum communication techniques together with Agile principles. If you incorporate this methodology in your working process, the subsequent aspects of it will remain unaffected:

  • Planning
  • Formulating the requirements
  • Budgeting
  • Documenting the progress

You’ll switch to an iterative and timeboxed version of Scrum as soon as the development begins. Developers and testers will be partially relying on Scrum methods, while business analysts and release managers will keep working along the more traditional principles and Scrum With Style.

This hybrid allows you to estimate the budget with maximum accuracy since you can gather plenty of details at the planning stage. The management of the project will feel more confident when allocating their investments, especially if the first phase is carried out on a conventional plan-driven basis.

The experts of the Forte Group emphasize that developers and testers might intuitively lean toward Water-Scrum-Fall because it empowers them.


If you are not fully happy with the old Waterfall system but hesitate to switch to Agile, try implementing Agile in Waterfall environment. Discuss with your staff if they would be eager to experiment with a new methodology and be ready to spend time and effort on detailed explanations. If it turns out that your company is not yet ready for such an upheaval, you’ll come back to the conventional Waterfall in the shortest time and with minimal losses. But most likely, you’ll be able to make the most of the hybrid concept and adjust it to the needs and capabilities of your business.

Categories: Software