Plato Elevate Winter Summit has been announced (Dec 7th-8th)

🔥

Back to resources

Master Transition From Waterfall to Agile

Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Agile / Scrum

30 August, 2021

Arun Singh
Arun Singh

Sr Product Manager at Blume Global

Arun Singh, Senior Product Manager at Blume Global, shares how he went above and beyond with his organization during the transition from waterfall to agile.

Problem

Starting to work in a company that follows a waterfall model might be a little chaotic; a lot of things happen haphazardly. We had a team of about 30 - 40 people, which was still good enough because we did not have too many loose ends. As we progressed and grew the company, the team size scaled to about 300 people, and the tumultuous waterfall model did not work anymore. It started falling apart as more people had to work overtime and during weekends, which of course, added stress.

Together as company leaders, we decided that it was certainly not the way to scale and grow. We started taking our first steps towards being agile. Bringing in the concept of agile development, rather than the waterfall model, was a whole different set of challenges because we were driving “change.” The change was not going to be easy, as expected, and before we headed towards a disaster, we took some initiatives.

Actions taken

First and foremost, not every individual in the team is on the same level for change. Some adapt very quickly, while others take some time. We brought everyone together and explained to them the importance of agile so that the change was more organic in nature than forceful. On the other hand, we were aware of the challenges during the first few iterations, and the mistakes many might make in the process.

Then, we spoke with our CEO to keep things transparent. Of course, the CEO needed some clarity on the transition phase and how everything will fall into place after a couple of months. Eventually, some of the things are better managed now. We have better visibility of our resources and capacities, which helps us plan with no trouble.

Earlier, the process was more like, we bite into something and then start chewing it, but now we know how much we can chew, so we bite only that much. Planning before the sprint does help us to begin with a shared understanding of what we will work for. This could be an initial plan to approach the sprint in a responsible way that would work.

There were training sessions for employees not to get frightened of the changes or anything that follows in the process. The company took a license from Coursera as an annual plan, which had great free courses. We offered all our employees courses on agile, SAFe agile, product development, scrum master and so on. It was a great start to take some time to learn about the agile methodologies before jumping into them. Many employees had the opportunity to work in an agile environment beforehand, but others 一 like fresh graduates 一 took some time to learn through the process.

Establishing priorities is increasingly important to complete everything that needs to be done. I would always pay more attention to customers, and urgent tasks, so that later I could focus on lower priority tasks. For example, I would always put an existing customer first, rather than a new one, because the current customer has put his faith and invested in our company to get the best solutions. I cannot even think of getting a new customer without fulfilling the needs of my existing one.

Lessons learned

  • Remember that your existing customers are your highest priority over any of your potential customers. This will build a reliable customer base, and that will bring in more customers if you can keep the show running.
  • When developing a product roadmap, you also have to keep in mind that you are acquiring it to win. Create some points of interest and differentiation that will distinguish you from competitors. Find the unique selling point that will dazzle the users.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Preparing Your Team for the Remote Workplace

29 November

Vadim Antonov, Engineering Manager at Meta, dictates how he brought a brand new team into the remote learning process by ramping up onboarding and creating a mentor system.

Alignment
Remote
Internal Communication
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Data Team
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Vadim Antonov

Vadim Antonov

Engineering Manager at Facebook

How to Strengthen Your Team Pitch

29 November

Vadim Antonov, Engineering Manager at Meta, details his journey to improve his personal hiring process and team pitch.

Alignment
Personal Growth
Hiring
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Changing Company
Vadim Antonov

Vadim Antonov

Engineering Manager at Facebook

Delegate successfully as a first time manager of Product Managers

24 November

Andrew Tsui, a Product Leader, works to build great teams that are independent, demonstrate mastery of their domain, and fully commit to their purpose.

Scaling Team
Building A Team
Delegate
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Psychological Safety
Cross-Functional Collaboration
New Manager
Andrew Tsui

Andrew Tsui

Director of Product at Startup

Overcoming Constraints Through Creative Thinking

23 November

Neelima Annam, Sr Director Information Technology at Outmatch, recalls a time when she had to use non-conventional methods to train her team.

Different Skillsets
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Neelima Annam

Neelima Annam

Sr. Director Information Technology at Outmatch HCM

Building trust as a new Manager

23 November

Neelima Annam, Sr Director Information Technology at Outmatch, shares her insight into her growth path of evolving her management style to build trust.

Alignment
Personal Growth
Conflict Solving
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
New Manager
Neelima Annam

Neelima Annam

Sr. Director Information Technology at Outmatch HCM

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.