Does incorporating a few Agile practices into waterfall make waterfall Agile?

Of course not. But yet we hear people infer that incorporating a few Lean practices into Scrum makes it Lean. It doesn’t.

Waterfall is not just based on its practices, but on its mindset of being able to predict and plan out ahead. Putting an Agile practice into waterfall will likely improve things, but it doesn’t make it Agile. The reason is that waterfall =mindset + practices. The practices are done within the context of the mindset.

I like Scrum when it’s done within the context of Lean. In this case we can use Lean’s fundamental model on which we can improve. It provides a critical role for management – create the environment within which teams can thrive. It also gives us guidance on how to solve impediments without having to relearn the solutions.

More significantly, if Scrum’s immutable roles, practices, events or artifacts don’t apply as well as something else, we can adjust what we do. We may no longer be doing ‘Scrum’ but we’ll be doing something more effective without the danger of running into “Scrum-but” (‘we’ll have solved the impediment, not ignored it).

Be aware of the difference of “Scrum with Lean” and doing “Scrum within Lean”.

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