Enterprise Services Blog Going Bimodal: Why Your IT Organization Needs Agile and Waterfall

Going Bimodal: Why Your IT Organization Needs Agile and Waterfall

  • March 23, 2017

By Joe Hill, Analytics Chief Technologist, Analytics & Data Management, and Fellow, Enterprise Services

The partnership between agile and waterfall is often the right solution for enterprise IT.

What approach should IT teams take to their work? Should they be agile and iterative, which gives them the ability to be more nimble and dynamic, or should they take a more traditional approach to IT, which, while slower, can lead to greater stability?

While there’s no doubt that agile has been transformational, it’s important to point out that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are still instances where traditional waterfall is the way to go. Any company that fails to realize this and instead decides to go all in on one approach or another is destined to fail. In my report, Modern Adaptions: The Business Sense of Bimodal IT, I outline why bimodal IT is often the right solution.

When Agile and Waterfall Coexist

The internet is a fantastic platform for agile development. But it wouldn’t exist without HTTP and HTML. These two basic architectural standards were developed using waterfall and bring the stability and standardization necessary to support all the other agile development being done. Without them, agile development would be harder, slower, and less successful because developers would effectively be starting from scratch with everything they did.

While most IT projects may be moving toward agile, remember that architectural standards (things like HTTP and HTML) need to be developed more slowly and carefully if you want to get them right. Ultimately, the key is to strike the right balance so that you can take your time where it makes sense, thus setting yourself up for success with agile development everywhere else.

For the rest of my discussion on agile vs. waterfall, read my Enterprise Forward report, Modern Adaptations: The Business Sense of Bimodal IT