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Describe about background of the study/ setting the stage and challenges in switching from Waterfall to Agile Model.



Background of the study/ setting the stage


Over the past decades, many software development ways are created and used in the software industry (Chromatic 2013). Every way holds some different characteristics and features that could differentiate from the other methods, and in general, it can be explained that these methods can be classified as a heavyweight and lightweight method. The heavyweight methods that are also referred as traditional methods mainly emphasize the comprehensive planning, along with ample documentation as well as up-front of full design (Chromatic 2013). In difference to this, lightweight methods are referred as agile methods that focus on more individuals as well as interaction process and its tools (Kautz, Pedersen and Monrad 2009). It also stresses over working on software as compared to comprehensive documentation. It also values the collaboration of customers more than the negotiation contract. It also focuses on responding towards changes as per the plan (Kautz, Pedersen and Monrad 2009).

The traditional ways are more used in IT industry, due to its straightforward approach, structure and methods, which has proved that they can offer predictability, assurance, and stability (Kautz, Pedersen and Monrad 2009). However, there are various challenges, which include slow adaptation towards changing needs of the business; schedule, operational requirements, and delivering fewer features and functions that are mentioned in the needs (Kautz, Pedersen and Monrad 2009). The requirements for a complete set of requirements before the design is the key challenge for the traditional methods as there are many vague user specifications (Kautz, Pedersen and Monrad 2009).


The importance of this research is that it will help in identifying the challenges that rise due when agile software is deployed in place of waterfall model (Laanti, Salo and Abrahamsson 2011). This research will also offer the guidelines for management to support the companies in avoiding as well as overcoming the barriers to adopting the agile methodology. The research will apply qualitative methods of design that will be mainly used for capturing the practitioner’s knowledge and scrutinizing the agile model (Laanti, Salo and Abrahamsson 2011).


The goal of this research is to explore the challenges that occur when organization switch to agile development from waterfall model.


The rationale for conducting this research is to examine the potential issues in transitioning from waterfall to agile. This study is carried out to give solutions to the issues so that it could be avoided.

Research Problem

Research Question

Question 1: Challenges are occurring while switching from waterfall to agile methodology?

Question 2: Give solutions to those challenges.

Problem statement

The few studies related to the agile software development methodologies are not successful in exploring how the method is used in the company and was not able to assess their applicability in big projects (Rubin 2012).

Literature Review


In the IT industry history, the software items are growing bigger and bigger, and that’s the reason needs for having netter prediction as well as control of the big software projects output is required. This has highly resulted in the model of agile development (Pikkarainen, Salo, Kuusela and Abrahamsson 2012). The waterfall model mainly adopts the phases of sequential order. In its first stage, it needs the customers to analyze as well as get fixed before the design is undertaken. It is considered as the high characteristics of this model, and this model flows downwards (Pikkarainen, Salo, Kuusela and Abrahamsson 2012).

Challenges in Waterfall model

The key reason for the failure of waterfall approach in the development of software is:

Needs are not analyzed before starting the project

Needs change during the process of software construction

User understands what they require after viewing the initial software version (Hoda, Noble and Marshall 2011)

New technologies are used for making strategies unpredictable.

Many projects are going through such challenges, which have created ineffectiveness of waterfall model (Hoda, Noble and Marshall 2011). This model of predictive fails to get cope with the increasing changing environment of business. Therefore, there is a high need to adopt the adaptive approach to the development of software (Dingsoyr, Nerur, Balijepally and Moe 2012). Agile is considered as the adaptive approach to developing the software. Most significant projects of software development cannot be easily predicted as well as planned, and agile is referred as a more flexible model that suit with changing demands of business. It can make use of short cycles for increasing highest customer value (Dingsoyr, Nerur, Balijepally and Moe 2012).


Agile development stress over agility in the production of software, and it’s based on various defined values (Tolfo, Wazlawick, Ferreira and Forcellini 2011). The manifesto of agile stress over four fundamental values such as responding towards the changes in the plan; interaction and individuals in the tools and process; collaboration with customers over negotiation contracts, and working software in documentation (Tolfo, Wazlawick, Ferreira and Forcellini 2011).

Challenges in switching from Waterfall to Agile Model

The key challenges are given below:

  1. Requirements- one of the fundamental problem, which are faced by the company when they adopt the agile, is the owners of the product that are appointed recently that leads towards the backlog of product and it consist of user stories, which are in various levels of inconsistent and abstraction with previous software versions (Cohn and Ford 2003).
  2. Implementation of agile- the organization come across many issues at the time of application. This is mainly happening, when project managers and various other agile team members try to limit their knowledge about the method of agile (Sumrell 2007). This result into the formation of the Agile team and they give most of their time in discussing the books that mention about the agile process, instead of implementing the process.
  3. Learning of organization- Basically, the review meetings are designed to help the process of learning in the company (Moe, Aurum and Dyba 2012). Due to agile master holds their perception of what is agile, the learning process becomes nonexistent.

Research Methodology

Data collection methods

The most important aspect related to research methodology is research methods. These research methods are supportive in collecting data through various sources of research.  There are different methods by which data could be composed quickly for research purpose. There are two kinds of data collection methods such as primary and secondary data collection methods.  Primary data are mainly those facts that are collected first hand. In this primary research data is collected through survey method through formulating the questionnaire through which respondents will give their answer. Secondary data will be collected through previous work of scholars (Singh and Soni 2011).

In the secondary data, the literature review will be conducted that includes thoughts of different researchers on the agile model and waterfall model in the context of modern organizations. In research examine the information will be gathered from books, articles, journals, libraries and websites. The collected data will be analyzed with the help of graphical method (Singh and Soni 2011). The survey method will be used as the practical method for collecting different information, and this method is increasingly used that too at fewer prices.

Research methodology

After establishing the aims, along with formulating the central questions of research, it is significant to design the research methodology. As per Williams (2012), developing the research methodology, it is needed to establish an effective plan, and accordingly study should be completed (Williams 2012). Relying on the research nature, a researcher can make use of various research tools and techniques. In context to this, Kennaley (2010) has mentioned that researcher can go with the single approach or mixed approach for collecting research data (Kennaley 2010). In this research qualitative, research method will be used for gathering data from both primary and secondary sources.

Research design and application


The primary data collected from the respondents in the survey will be analyzed by a graphical method that will support in interpreting the information. The defendant’s response will be identified about aims of the research. In data analysis, the questionnaire will include around ten questions for analyzing the IT experts over the use of the agile model and what all challenges or benefits they are getting through it (Scotland and Boutin 2008). For the purpose of gathering the data through the survey, the data will be presented through bar chart. The survey questions will be close ended to collect direct response from respondents (Scotland and Boutin 2008).

Research Schedule

Project timeline

Timeline is the significant aspect of research, as it’s significant for the researchers in successfully completing the research within set time and with the help of required resources, in order to meet the set objectives (Scotland and Boutin 2008). Below table will show the research timeframe for every activity of the project.

                              Research Activities


Research Proposal

7 days

Chapter 1: Introduction

7 days

Literature review

21 days

Research Methodology

7 days

Findings and Data analysis

14 days

Conclusion & Recommendations, and  Submission of Report

7 days

Expected Results & Overall Outcomes


The transition through the waterfall towards agile is quite challenging as per the literature review. It also comes through the commitment of values of agile and needs employees mind shift in the company. The team is getting more centric through the help of multi-skilled professionals that need to work together to create the products as per customer requirements (Scotland and Boutin 2008). The key challenge is in its transformation for facilitating manager’s role, command absence, and structural control, self-steering team empowerment, offering values to the needs of customers, product quality, as well as resistance to change (Scotland and Boutin 2008).


While advantages related to agile methods in IT companies tries to encourage its usage, they also need to view the challenges in moving to this process. The agile approach is quite different from all the traditional methods, practices, and roles. Therefore, moving towards agile might impact various aspects of the companies. All organizational members need to be prepared for challenges in the process of transformation.

Critical Reflection And Ethical Issues

This research is very helpful for me in understanding agile development model and its application in software companies. This study is useful for me, as I am interested in pursuing my career in IT industry. Different ethical considerations are needed in this study at the time of gathering the data for the support of research methods. Suganya and Mary (2010) have mentioned that problems associated with anonymity and confidentiality is crucial for all the researchers to explore the organization, person, and place in the area of research. The researchers will be able to adopt as well as maintain the ethics from this research that relates to privacy, honesty, integrity, confidentiality and approved at the time of data collection by literature review and survey methods (Suganya and Mary 2010). Ethics will also be considered at the date of analyzing the documents gathered during data collection process. For instance, researchers will try to save the confidentiality of data and explore the participants at the date of survey.



Chromatic 2013, Extreme Programming Pocket Guide. 1st Edn., O’Reilly Media, ISBN, Sebastopol, CA.

Kautz, K., Pedersen, C. F & Monrad, O 2009, Cultures of Agility-Agile Software Development in Practice, AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)

Laanti, M., Salo, O & Abrahamsson, P 2011, Agile methods rapidly replacing traditional methods at Nokia: A survey of opinions on agile transformation. Inform, Software Technology, vol. 53, pp. 276- 290.

Moe, N.B., Aurum, A & Dyba, T. 2012, Challenges of shared decision-making: A multiple case study of agile software development Inform, Software Technology, vol. 54, pp. 853-865.

Dingsoyr, T., Nerur, S., Balijepally, V & Moe, N. B 2012, A decade of agile methodologies: Towards explaining agile software development, J. Syst. Software, vol. 85, pp. 1213-1221.

Hoda, R., Noble, J & Marshall, S 2011, Developing a grounded theory to explain the practices of selforganizing Agile teams, Empirical Software Eng, vol. 17, pp. 609-639.

Pikkarainen, M., Salo, O., Kuusela, R & Abrahamsson, P 2012, Strengths and barriers behind the successful agile deployment-insights from the three software intensive companies in Finland, Empirical Software Eng, vol. 17, pp. 675-702

Rubin, K.S 2012, Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. 1st Edn, AddisonWesley Professional, Michigan.

Singh, N.P & Soni, R 2011, Agile software: Ensuring quality assurance and processes, Proceeding of the International Conference on High Performance Architecture and Grid Computing.

Tolfo, C., Wazlawick, R. S., Ferreira, M. G. G & Forcellini, F. A 2011, Agile methods and organizational culture: Reflections about cultural levels, J. Software Maintenance Evolution, vol. 23, pp. 423-441.

Williams, L 2012, What agile teams think of agile principles, Communication ACM, vol. 55, pp. 71-76

Kennaley, M 2010, SDLC 3.0: Beyond a Tacit Understanding of Agile, Fourth Medium Press.

Cohn, M & Ford, D 2003, “Introducing an agile process to an organization,” Computer, vol. 36, pp. 74–78.

Scotland, K & Boutin, A 2008,“Integrating scrum with the process framework at yahoo! Europe,” Toronto: in Agile 2008 conference.

Suganya, G & Mary, S. S. A 2010, Progression towards Agility: A comprehensive survey, In Proceedings of the 2010International Conference on Computing Communication and Networking Technologies (ICCCNT), IEEE.

Sumrell, M 2007, From waterfall to agile-how does a QA team transition? In Proceedings of the Agile Conference (AGILE).


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