To Change Managers who grew up in the 90s; time to exercise those rusty memories and revisit the immortal(ish) words of TLC. Remember how we “don’t go chasing waterfalls?” These days, it’s more like should we be chasing Waterfall? Because, with Agile seemingly so well suited to OCM, we can question the relevance of competing methodologies. And if other approaches are better suited for change management, should we move away from using the Waterfall method altogether?
For us, whether a project runs using Waterfall or Agile methodology will only be in our control if we’re involved from the start. This is where we have the opportunity to influence the project team’s choice of approach.
Whether you’re involved at the outset of the project or not, you will have to select the approach your OCM team will take. We’re focused on the people side of a project’s implementation, which means we are sensitive to the ever-fluctuating variables of end user behaviour. This makes Agile a more appealing choice for OCM in general. But that may not always be the case.
At this point, it’s helpful to use 5 questions to guide your decision:
- Are the project requirements fixed and clear from the outset or are they uncertain and likely to change?
- How involved does the customer intend to be?
- Does this implementation have to occur quickly or is it a long-term project?
- Will management be looking for extensive documentation and metrics as part of project deliverables or are they more concerned about seeing the product as soon as possible?
- How many dependencies does the project have?
The answers to those questions will fall in one of these columns, which should indicate which is the best suited (if not best-loved) methodology for a project.
|AGILE APPROACH||WATERFALL APPROACH|
|Change focused, unclear at outset||Planned in advance, fixed|
|Product focused||Project focused|
|Less paperwork||Extensive metrics and documentation|
|Iterations of stages||Fixed, sequential phases|
|Constant customer feedback||Customer feedback at milestones|
|Requirements not clear||Requirements fixed|
|Revenue focused||Cost focused|
|Research throughout project||Research completed prior to project kickoff|
|Adapts to and prevents risk||Risk averse|
While it’s tempting to not go chasing waterfalls, we need to remember the last line of TLC’s chorus: “I know you’re going to have it your way or nothing at all, but you’re moving too fast.” The details of what an end user needs to adopt and how to get them to do so is specific to the project itself. These details will ultimately determine whether you should abandon the advice of an (excellent) 90s anthem and select Agile over Waterfall or not.