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Waterfall, Agile or “Wagile” for Salesforce Projects?



Successful Salesforce implementations have several key defining features: deployments need to be done quickly, collaboratively and must be business-driven.  With these key features in mind, project managers and implementation teams need to consider the best methodology to ensure success with a Salesforce project.  There are various methodologies that have been described extensively, but which one is best for helping you to quickly drive value from your Salesforce solution? You’ll often hear about Waterfall and Agile (included within Agile are other similar approaches like Scrum, DSDM, XP, and others) commonly used for IT projects.  But between those two methodologies is a hybrid approach called Wagile (Waterfall + Agile).

What is Wagile?

The Wagile approach attempts to combine the features of both Agile and Waterfall and make a best possible solution for a project’s needs.  This approach can vary from Waterfall with a touch of Agile to Agile with a hint of Waterfall.

Why Choose Wagile?

I go into more detail in my project management methodology guide for Salesforce, but I’ll briefly touch on why you should consider using Wagile.

Wagile is the happy grey area between Waterfall and Agile, a good project manager can take the best of both both successful methodologies, and create one that suits the organization and project.  For Salesforce especially, it is all the more important that you take what is best and implement it in a way that would benefit your organization.  The reasons for using Wagile include:

  • Iterations – Wagile allows for iterations in design and build even if the approach is mostly Waterfall. This benefits Salesforce, as the system can be built and then changed throughout the project to ensure buy-in to the final design and a match with the organization’s strategy.
  • Plans – Planning is done early and plans are reviewed often to ensure adherence to timeline. Because of the breadth of capabilities and functionality in Salesforce, an early adherence to create a project plan and following it through is essential.
  • Communication – Communication within the project is paramount to its success. Leveraging the colocation and regular interactions from Agile methodology is essential.  Salesforce implementations benefit from significant interaction among participants as the solution iterates quickly.  Also, since Salesforce is based on business need, communication outside the project to business owners or users as the solution develops is critical.

In Conclusion

As you prepare for your first (or next) Salesforce implementation, consider a hybrid approach to managing the project. Wagile allows the project to take what is best from both Waterfall and Agile including but not limited to: understanding the business need, alignment of budget/scope/time, and iterations to reduce risk of scope creep. Also, Wagile encourages continuous communication and involvement from all parts of the project to instill ownership among team members. This allows you to leverage the best parts of Salesforce, including: Chatter, Chat and other social collaboration functions.

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Marc Pulverman

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