Agile Practices for Waterfall Projects: Shifting Processes for Competitive Advantage


pmwj23-jun2014-Lanier-IMAGE1 BOOKBook Title:  Agile Practices for Waterfall Projects: Shifting Processes for Competitive Advantage
Author:  Barbee Davis, PMP, PMI-ACP, PHR
Publisher:  J. Ross Publishing
List Price:   US$ 54.95        Format:  hard cover; 346 pages

Publication Date:   2013     ISBN: 9781604270839
Reviewer:      Alicia L. Lanier, PE
Review Date:              May 2014


Most of my work has been in civil engineering, where projects are typically managed as waterfall projects, or at least under the illusion of being managed as such. Several years ago I was searching for more effective tools in managing aspects of these waterfall projects that truly are complex and ambiguous, and in many cases depending on multi-disciplinary, distributed teams.  Along the way, I learned about agile philosophy and practices. I wish someone had handed me this book 5 years ago, when I started my Agile-learning journey. I reviewed this book because I wanted to learn more about how to incorporate agile practices into these types of projects, instead of having either an agile project or a waterfall project.

The author makes the distinction between ‘Big Agile’ (philosophy) and ‘little agile’ (approaches that are more specific to certain types of projects and industries).  In the author’s words, “you cannot ’do’ Agile, you have to ‘be’ Agile.”  This book begins with a compelling argument for the need for Agile now, as added to but not entirely replacing traditional processes, resulting in a hybrid management process.

The language is approachable, and helps a project manager or other team member understand what agile is, and if agile is a good candidate for their project.  The author provides an overview of the history of agile, followed by how to start agile teams, important tools for Agile teams to use, estimating tools for Agile projects, scaling to the enterprise level, and working with distributed teams. As an Agile practitioner, I especially appreciate the chapter devoted to shifts and changes required of me as well as those required of my organization.  And as the mother of a teenager, I encourage the reader to seek out the section on managing Millennials! 


To read entire Book Review (click here)

About the Reviewer

pmwj23-jun2014-Lanier-IMAGE1 REVIEWERAlicia L. Lanier, PEflag-usa

Portland, Oregon

Alicia L. Lanier is a project management consultant, professional engineer, and facilitator. She has managed her firm, Lanier Consulting, LLC, for more than 12 years, successfully helping teams tackle projects over a broad range of disciplines and scale.  Ms. Lanier brings in “Big Agile” and “little agile” to typically waterfall projects, teaching teams facilitation techniques, coaching staff on project management concepts, and providing individualized project management tools for long-term sustainability.

Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of cooperation between the publisher, PM World and the Portland, Oregon, USA Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI Portland Chapter – www.pmi-portland.org). Publishers provide the books to the PMI Portland Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  Reviewers can keep the books and claim PDUs for PMP recertification.  PMI Portland Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.  If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected] or [email protected].