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The cross-functional agile team playbook

How to avoid waterfall mishaps and build successful product teams

The evidence is clear: waterfall doesn’t work.

Waterfall stems from early assembly-line principles that use sequential, noniterative assembly tactics. Each discipline that participates in the project operates independently. The business is interested in seeing the value generated match or exceed the dollars spent on the product. IT is given orders and needs to meet the specification provided by the business. Here’s where the process breaks down:

  • A siloed organizational structure creates a conflict of interest between IT and the business. It shapes an environment where cooperation and trust simply can’t exist.

  • The requirements lack full context as user research and user testing are not part of the waterfall workflow.

  • Learning and changing come too late and costs too much money address in waterfall projects.

The Agile Manifesto explicitly states the value of working software over comprehensive documentation, but that’s hardly going to help a siloed waterfall organizational structure where IT and business don’t see eye to eye.

Ship products faster and better with cross-functional teams.

Establishing a cross-functional team is a critical step for any product organization. The benefit of this team structure is that representation from core product disciplines are aligned throughout the entire process. Each team member understands the goal of the product, their role, the work they’re on point to produce, and how that influences the others on the team responsible for the build. This whitepaper explores where the waterfall process breaks down and details in-depth the tactical steps to build a truly cross-functional product organization.

Software engineering maturity

Software engineering maturity

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