Waterfall, Agile and Value + FREE CHEAT SHEET

Episode 81 - 19 Apr 2017

It seems that "the internet" has concluded that four graphs - VALUE, RISK, VISIBILITY and ADAPTABILITY - are the key to the differences between Waterfall and Agile.

But here's the thing: I'm not sure that the "Gang of Four" graphs are correct. In today's episode, I take pot shots at the RISK curves - with a little help from the one and only Henrik Kniberg.

My thanks to James Allen for letting me know that the graphs are copyright VersionOne. I've added a link below.



Waterfall and Agile

Through the lens of VALUE

Oh... and stick around to the end for details of how to get your free

"Agile vs Waterfall Cheat Sheet"

This is Development That Pays

I'm Gary Straughan

And I was preparing for this episode,

(When I say "preparing", I of course mean "while I was googling")

I came across this set of four graphs.

The dotted line here is for a Waterfall project

The yellow line is for an Agile project.

Nicely done.

I also came across this set of four graphs

And this set

And this set

And this set

And this set

And this set

And this set

I'm not sure where this "quadrumvirate" originated

  • If you happen to know please let me know so that I can credit it properly -

Wherever it came from, it's really caught on.

It would appear that the internet is in broad agreement that these are the four graphs

that describe the whole Waterfall vs Agile 'thing'

So they must be right?


Well, I have bones to pick with at least two of them.

Today we'll take a look at one of those

the graph of Value

The first bone of contention is the term

"Business Value"

I don't really like that term. At least not in this context

The term I prefer is CUSTOMER Value.

The waterfall projects I've been involved with

delivered ZERO customer value

until the big bang launch

Think of building a bridge

Quarter of a bridge

Half a bridge

7/8 of a bridge

No value delivered to the customer

It's only when the bridge is finished

And people can drive across it

That value of delivered

Agile-wise, I'm happier.

But not completely happy.

I know we want to deliver high value early,

But do we really get such a flying start?

Or is the first sprint all about getting things set up?

I'd prefer to see more of an s-curve

To indicate a slow start

before we get into our stride

then levelling off in the later stages.

When I was googling to find every possible version of "the four graphs"

I came across another graph.

By a guy called Henrik Kniberg.

You may have come across him before.

We've mentioned him a few here on Development That Pays,.

His image of how to do - and not to do - a Minimum Viable Product

went viral

and - like the four graphs - was much....


Anyway, here's Henrik's take on the value graph.

A usual, Henrik gets everything right

Here's the nice s-curve for the agile project

And the waterfall project delivers little value until the end

Henrik gets something else right...

Something that you can't see because I've "doctored" this diagram slightly,

I'll show you the real version in a moment.

Something that most of the others get wrong.




Possibly right

Possibly [right]

If you've been delivering value...

you've been learning.

... and if you've been learning,

you've been learning how

to provide more value.

Here's Henrik's un-doctored version.

With the additional VALUE highlighted here

As Henrik puts it:

"Faster learning means higher value."

Two quick things before we finish

Firstly, What do you think about this?

Has Henrik created the ultimate waterfall vs agile value graph?


If you're interested in Waterfall and Agile and the differences between them

you should grab a copy of this cheat sheet

It's called the

"Waterfall vs Agile Cheat Sheet"

Click the link

Follow the instructions

And it's all yours

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Thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you next time.