Why Scrum Sprints Are Not Mini Waterfalls

Companies that transition to Agile often adopt the analogy that sprints are just mini waterfall. This article provides five reasons why Scrum sprints are not mini-Waterfall. Each argument is illustrated by a diagram that provides a clear visual evidence of the difference between the Agile approach and a traditional process.

These reasons are:

  1.   Continuous design, development, integration, and testing
  2.   Cross-functional team members
  3.   No change in scope during Sprint
  4.   Time boxing
  5.   A strictly defined cadence

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1 Comment on Why Scrum Sprints Are Not Mini Waterfalls

  1. Personally, I would question whether point 3 (no change in scope during a sprint) should always be adhered to in a commercial environment. Things change, sometimes at short notice, and if that change means that what you’re working on is either (a) no longer the priority or (b) no longer wanted by the customer, then clearly you need to take action.

    One option is to cancel the sprint and re-plan, but there’s an overhead involved in doing this. If the change in scope is relatively small, should teams need to go through the relatively costly exercise of planning another sprint?

    I fleshed out my thoughts on this subject in more detail at: http://agileblog.garyreynolds.me.uk/2011/12/accepting-change-into-iteration.html

    Thoughts?

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