Agile is the new Waterfall

With changes in software development methodologies, the role of the data modeler has changed significantly.  In many organizations, data modelers now find themselves on the outside looking in, relegated to documentation “after the fact” rather than active participation in database design where the true value is added.  Some organizations using Agile practices have incorrectly dismissed the importance of data modeling, often with disastrous results.  Luckily, organizations are re-awakening to the importance of data. 

The body of knowledge regarding approaches to development (methodologies) also continues to evolve.  To understand the future, we must also appreciate the past.  Many people do not realize that the majority of development practices today originated from manufacturing practices such as Statistical Quality Control (SQC) pioneered by W Edwards Deming and the Toyota Production System (TPS). This gave rise to Total Quality Management, Six Sigma and numerous other disciplines.  Agile methodologies adapted many of the ideas to software development, causing many to champion Agile approaches as well as regarding Waterfall methods with disdain. 

However, the application of Agile approaches has also come up short in delivering maximum business value.  There is more to learn from the manufacturing and quality sectors with the adoption of LEAN approaches, with an organizational focus rather than software exclusively.  In a webinar earlier this week, I discussed this topic, with a specific emphasis on the importance of lean data modeling that is compatible with all development approaches.  Without this discipline, Agile is the new Waterfall. 

The link to the webcast is .

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