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Waterfall to Agile: Flipping the Switch

OTBC (Oregon Technology Business Center)
8305 Southwest Creekside Place
Beaverton, Oregon 97008, US (map)
Public WiFi

Suite C, 2nd floor


Waterfall to Agile: Flipping the Switch
Presented by Bhushan Gupta, Nike Inc.


Agile software development methodology is transitioning from a fad to a practice. More and more software development practitioners are contemplating to switch from Waterfall to Agile if not entirely at least partially. Terms like scrum, sprint, stand up, story points, and velocity are becoming the ‘Lingua Franca’. While enough light has been shed on the mechanics of creating a release and iteration plan, managing story development, and sprint retrospectives, the team dynamics and behavior for success has not been given the mindshare it deserves.

Although the rules of the game when moving from waterfall to agile development change substantially, the players and their goals do not. The player that, “product manager” now becomes “product owner” and need to very actively pursue customer interest as a customer surrogate. Test engineers who took pride in breaking the code are now urged to work side by side with the developers and ensure that the defects are resolved immediately for a successful completion of a sprint. The project managers who are supposed to drive the schedule take on a role of facilitators making every effort to see that the sprint is complete and the velocity is adequate. Requirements that are frozen rarely gel and the designs go through multiple refactoring cycles to make sure that the development progresses. The new product quality champions who were always looking for “the knee in the defect trends” now barely have any fluctuations in the defect find trends from sprint to sprint. Referring the game, there is a new character in the theatre, “scrum master”, who manages the delivery of the stories.

Can this change be achieved by simply creating a backlog, a release plan, and a sequence of iterations? No. It takes changes in people’s perspectives, the way they think, and the way they achieve their goals. Would a Type A “product owner” who is used to take a product to the market with all the bells and whistles be comfortable to do so with less than the planned functionality? Would a star developer forget about gold plating and would a test engineer who always took pride in finding errors in someone else’s work be able to stand by developers and work with them. Most of all, would the orchestra be able to perform without the precisely written music, the “requirements document”? This paper analyzes the transition of a waterfall team to an agile environment and how changing the perspectives of the players can make the transition a success when the switch from Agile to Waterfall is flipped.


Bhushan Gupta has a M.S. in Computer Science from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM. Bhushan has 27 years of experience in software engineering, 17 of which have been in the software industry. Currently a senior member of the GSS QA team at Nike, Bhushan is deeply involved with the agile development. Prior to joining Nike, Bhushan worked at Hewlett-Packard for 13 years in various capacities and led his groups in product development lifecycles, development methodology and execution processes, and software metrics for quality and software productivity. Bhushan has published and presented numerous articles in various conferences and has participated in panel discussions.

A Special Treat from PNSQC

Plan on coming early! In collaboration with the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference (PNSQC) the SPIN meeting will have pizza and pop provided by PNSQC beginning at 5:30 pm.

PNSQC is the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference, a group of volunteers interested in Software Quality. The Mission of the PNSQC is to enable knowledge exchange to produce higher quality software. As a non-profit, it seeks to promote software quality by providing education and opportunities for information exchange within the software community.

Thanks also to OTBC

We want to thank OTBC (http://www.otbc.org/) for providing the space for this talk

How to Register

This is a FREE lecture sponsored by the Rose City SPIN. But you can help us plan food and drinks by registering at: https://sept2013spin-reg.eventbrite.com/?ref=estw

Rose City SPIN

The Rose City Software Process Improvement Network (SPIN) is a monthly forum for networking, mutual support, and promotion of effective software practices. We exchange practical experiences, ideas, knowledge, wisdom, and war stories about the technical, business, and human facets of software process improvement. The Rose City SPIN serves the software development community of the Portland/Vancouver metro area. Whether you work for a large company or a small one, corporate or self-employed, industrial or academic setting, you are welcome at the Rose City SPIN.