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What strategies are there for moving from Waterfall to Agile?

It can be hard to showcase or even develop Agile skills when Waterfall is strongly embedded into your company. Expert Gerie Owen offers advice to help change that.

I'm looking to develop Agile skills, but my company is firmly entrenched with Waterfall. How can I break out of this rut?

That's a difficult situation to be in. Most companies are looking for Agile skills of one sort or another today. If you are looking to advance outside of your current employer, you will often need to show that skill set. Even within your current employer, there may be a time when Agile skills are looked upon as valuable.

But moving from Waterfall to Agile may not be as difficult as one might think. There are things that you can do to change that dynamic. First, get actively involved in the Agile community. You may have a local Agile user group and you should take part in it. You can meet other Agile professionals, connect with the community and learn from others within it. Following them on Twitter and LinkedIn is a great way to start.

You can also advocate for Agile within your own situation. Many Agile teams don't exclusively follow the Agile model. Rather, they selectively take on pieces that make sense to their unique environment. You may find that your teams may be open to sprints, even as they plan everything out and deliver working code infrequently. If your organization holds post implementation review meetings, you can use those to show how a more Agile approach could have mitigated issues raised those meetings.

In order to do so, you have to be viewed as an Agile expert within your company. How do you do this? First, question on a daily basis if there is a better way to move forward with your project. If you are speaking up and offering fresh ideas, you may find that your teams are receptive. Second, educate yourself on Agile. Get a certification, whether paid for by your company or on your own. It is an investment in your career.

Lastly, there are likely others in your organization who think like you do. Find them and start an internal Agile interest group. Together you may be able to effect changes that you may not be able to separately. Moving from Waterfall to Agile starts with you and ensuring you're familiar with it. From there, you can begin to pave the evolving mindset.

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