The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the authors.
Published here November 2015

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary


Of course, the title of the book "Going Beyond The Waterfall" should be warning enough that the authors are intent on extolling the merits of the "Agile" approach to managing projects. However, chapters 7 & 8 in Section 3 of the book make a valiant attempt to compare the respective merits of the Agile versus Waterfall approach to the design of the project's life span. Both chapters set out respectively: What is Agile or Waterfall; Misconceptions about each; Impacts on Scope; Impacts on Requirements; Managing Scope Change; and relative Risks of each.[25]

This comparison works well, though we still felt some bias in the text favoring Agile. Nevertheless, the authors' final position is to opt for a Hybrid model that takes the best of both worlds applied according to the phase of the overall initiative from Strategy to Realization, or from Analysis to Deployment. This approach is shown graphically in Figure 2.[26] As an aside, note that the very straight arrow across the bottom is labeled as a "cycle progression"!

Figure 2: Water-Scrum-Fall blended life [span] model
Figure 2: Water-Scrum-Fall blended life [span] model

In our view, the authors provide very sound and realistic advice for the types of projects envisaged, not necessarily only IT projects. For readers in senior positions, the book provides a good read and actionable advice and templates for advancing the cause of the enterprise at its upper levels. After all, as the authors observe, "The next decade of digital business will see continued pressure for organizations to react quickly to changing conditions in the economy, market, and competition."[27] The assumption is that this book provides some answers.


As always we submit our draft reviews for author's comment before publishing. Here is what Barbara Davis had to say:[28]

"We were not trying to suggest that all failure is great. Rather, the whole purpose of the book was about accepting that some degree of failure may be an outcome and that scope is fluid, not rigid, because it must adapt when failure does occur.

In addition, we were not actually advocating Agile over any other methodology. We both firmly believe that Agile, as is RUP or Waterfall, is one of several tools or approaches that one can leverage in the execution of the project. Which tool or approach is wholly dependent upon the type, size, circumstances of the project and the tolerance of the company. We simply wanted to provide context for them so that people can make an educated and informed decision about which to use instead of defaulting to only one.


That, I think, is fair comment.

R. Max Wideman
Fellow, PMI

Downside  Downside

25. Ibid, pp 27-160
26. Ibid, p158
27. Ibid, p176
28. By Email, 10/4/2015
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page