“Waterfall vs Agile”. How to make a startup take off?

Apr 13, 2018

Oleg Kondrashov, the CEO of EnCata, talks about modern business methodologies from the passenger’s point of view.

Travelling by plane has become common for us nowadays. As an example, I have spent the last year in the passenger’s seat and got used to all the comfort I get in the air. Just look: you book a ticket online, come to the airport just a few hours before the departure, go through the custom services and go on board. You don’t expect any surprises inside — you are greeted by the captain that asks you to fasten your seat belt and tells you the time, the flight route and the altitude above the sea level. Lovely stewards tell you how to use life jackets and show the nearest emergency exits. After an hour or two you will be served a hot dinner and of course you can relax and just fall asleep, because in a few hours you will find yourself in Abu Dhabi, Boston or Moscow. You’re sure that everything will be fine — you are in the safest transport in the world.

Okay. Now try to imagine that the crew was seized by the team of “another” startup, which is worshipping Agile. Classic Agile. Classic Chaos.

So, you come to the airport, get on board (you already can’t stand on your own two because of your recent Boston meeting and now looking for your seat to sleep for the next few hours). You get in your sit and fins out that the seat belts were cut, and the exit has been already blocked by several suspicious guys looking as marketers.

In a very ordinary voice, the captain says: “Guys, I don’t know where we’re flying today. The main thing is to take off! “. You will be probably upset after this declaration. “Does anyone have any recommendations how to take this thing off?!” — the captain will ask similar questions more than once. And the stewards will not repeat all the vital information about belts or emergency exits as they usually do. Most likely, they will be separated into two small groups: the first one will play the saxophone, the second — will sacrifice the dog to Jupiter. They have exactly two or three weeks for this at least, before the captain will come to a decision to land this “thing”.

Now you are in the world of Agile, in a world of chaos. So don’t be surprised when a few kilometers before Heathrow captain will take a strong-willed decision to fly to Morocco. But you will land somewhere in the Dallas’ suburbs. In case if you manage to do this, of course. Let’s be frank — we might not survive on such trip. But captain’s efforts still deserve respect. He seemed to be a great leader and an outstanding businessman, managing to conduct ICO among passengers in addition to everything happening around during the flight.

I’m sure you will no longer fly by “Agile airlines”. Perhaps you can even pay attention to the low-cost “Waterfall Atlantic”. Already sitting in the liner’s seat, you can notice that the captain and the crew are leaving the plane. “Dear passengers, don’t worry!” — the captain tries to break the tension. — “We’ve perfectly tuned the autopilot. You will definitely be in Heathrow in next 7 hours and 15 minutes. “

“If there is no thunderstorm and the plane keeps the altitude of 10 thousand meters throughout the flight” — the analyst adds timidly.

The crew leaves hastily, while you’re staring with sad thoughts about the meaning of the word “If.”

When we talk about the methodologies of Agile and Waterfall a little more seriously, we can find many pluses in each one of them:

· Flexibility and smooth technology change in Agile gives a young product the possibility to make a pivot in any direction and for a really small period of time.

· The ultimate goal and planning in Waterfall allows the startup to consider long-term prospects.

But we are perfectly aware that only intellectual approach in the business processes organization can bring extraordinary results indeed.

Only combined methodologies and corporate philosophy can grow startup into a successful company, which will not be afraid of the thunderstorm or captain’s voluntarism.