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Agile vs. Waterfall: Finding the Right Mix in Software Engineering with Dustin Goodman, Engineering Manager at This Dot Labs

In this episode of the Engineering Leadership series, Tracy Lee and Dustin Goodman shed light on the advantages of combining different project management processes to create a more efficient and effective workflow.

Dustin, an engineering manager who works at the development consultancy This Dot Labs, shared his insights on how he recently helps companies optimize their engineering processes.

To illustrate, Dustin shared an example of a project he worked on. The company was aiming to deliver a feature set in three to four weeks. By implementing a combination of waterfall and agile methodologies, they were able to break down the project into smaller, manageable tasks and deliver results incrementally. This not only improved efficiency but also allowed for quicker feedback and iteration.

One of the key takeaways from the discussion was the importance of understanding the highest value proposition and how it aligns with the organization's key performance indicators (KPIs) or objectives and key results (OKRs). By identifying the most valuable aspects of a project, teams can prioritize their efforts and ensure that they are delivering the most impactful results.

Planning and flexibility were also highlighted as crucial elements in creating an effective workflow. While upfront planning is necessary to set clear goals and expectations, it is equally important to remain flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. This balance between planning and flexibility allows teams to respond to new information and make necessary adjustments without derailing the entire project.

Tracy and Dustin also mentioned the example of 37 Signals, a company that follows a six-week timeline for each project from inception to delivery. This approach emphasizes the importance of setting realistic deadlines and maintaining a sense of urgency without sacrificing quality.

Combining different project management processes, such as waterfall and agile, can create a more efficient and effective workflow. It is important to understand the highest value proposition and how it relates to the organization's KPIs or OKRs. Planning and flexibility are key, and it is important to be able to plan for the long-term, but also be able to pivot quickly when needed.

This Dot is a consultancy dedicated to guiding companies through their modernization and digital transformation journeys. Specializing in replatforming, modernizing, and launching new initiatives, we stand out by taking true ownership of your engineering projects.

We love helping teams with projects that have missed their deadlines or helping keep your strategic digital initiatives on course. Check out our case studies and our clients that trust us with their engineering.