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A quick summary of the facts -

  • Multinational Company

  • Traditional Waterfall Project Management

  • Agile/Scrum being used for the Design/Test/Build (>25 Sprints)

  • Traditional Waterfall Gates must be approved to progress

  • Stakeholders want a mini-gate to bookend each sprint to measure
    adherence to schedule

Can this approach work and what artifacts should suffice for the Waterfall Governance?

  • "Traditional Waterfall Gates must be approved to progress" Does this mean, for example, all requirements must be gathered and approved prior to starting on Analysis/Design? Also, do you have a designated Product Owner - or do you go to a change management committee for approving changes? – Ashok Ramachandran Aug 1 '14 at 14:15
  • There is a designated Product Owner however, for major changes we have a Change Committee as part of the Waterfall process. – Venture2099 Aug 2 '14 at 10:18
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This is basically what Sprint Reviews in Scrum are about. At the beginning of each sprint, the team commits to deliver a working, deployable product increment including a certain number of backlog items. And in the end of each sprint, the team demonstrates to stakeholders the new features they have completed.

In Scrum (and Agile approaches in general), the only real measure of progress is working software. In my experience, most stakeholders can be made pretty happy by showing them working, deployable software instead of (or on top of) documents, charts and promises of future results. YMMV - your stakeholders may want to see some documents like test reports, user documentation etc. on top of the product demo itself though, so be open to negotiation.

  • Unfortunately I cannot vote you up but I am very appreciative. You have confirmed what I thought to be the case. Thank you. – Venture2099 Jul 31 '14 at 23:42
  • @Venture2099 why can you not vote-up this answer? You were able to accept it. – warren Aug 7 '14 at 19:27
  • I did not have the required rep at the time but I do now; thank you for tagging me in this and reminding me. – Venture2099 Aug 7 '14 at 19:54
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Vote up for Péter for the input on Sprint Review

I have been in a similar traditionally non-agile environment. Based on my experience,to answer your questions

Can this approach work

  • Yes, it could work.

    But it depends on how available the stakeholders are for the review & for approval. Any delays in approvals could create delays in progress & planning of next sprints.

    It also depends on their understanding of Agile which enables your stakeholders to make correct decisions on which artifacts are optional for waterfall governance & see what artifacts in Scrum replaces them

    And the other thing I want to emphasise is that stakeholders are mainly concerned about "adherence to schedule" which might communicate to the team that completing the tasks is the biggest priority while reality could be far from this

what artifacts should suffice for the Waterfall Governance?

  • Different organisations have different time tested waterfall methodologies and require different artifacts for governance. So it really depends on the process your organisation is following. The artifacts defined in scrum (Product backlog, Sprint backlog & any other similar reports) should be sufficient for successful governance of the project.

    since the requirement is usually at the organisation end, a good starting point is to consult the process team (I hope your organisation have one based on the summary you have given, your stakeholders might also be able to give an input on this :) ) & try to identify what artifacts in your governance model can be replaced with scrum artifacts and what are optional.

Hope this helps

  • +1 for mentioning the availability of stakeholders for review - this is indeed a critical point which is not to be blindly assumed. Regarding completing the current tasks, in a good Scrum the OP selects the currently most valuable items for each sprint, so completing these on time does generate the best value for the stakeholders' bucks. – Péter Török Aug 1 '14 at 5:43
  • As stated above - I don't have the rep to upvote you but your answer was extremely helpful. – Venture2099 Aug 1 '14 at 13:15
  • Not a problem.. it'll be great if you can keep me posted on how it went, executing Scrum(initially) in traditionally strict waterfall oriented environments is (IMHO) more challenging than doing same to an ad-hoc environment. Some stakeholders are usually not happy with letting go of traditional project artifacts they are used to (Specially when it comes to reporting). Good luck! – HasaniK Aug 3 '14 at 0:08

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