One weird thing that Waterfall does well that Agile does not

It’s 2019. We are all supposed to hate Waterfall. But I’m not convinced it’s completely bad. In “Waterfall land” you begin a project, you design it, you get it signed off, you build it, you deliver it and then you celebrate.

One of these things is sorely missing from most Agile practices: celebration.

As humans we like to enjoy our successes, but continuous delivery cycle of Agile (and worse, CI/CD) means we never get to the end of something. We never get a chance to sit back, look at what we build and say “it is good”. Everything we build rolls out the door without fanfare as we move on to the next story.

But we are not soul-less. We are humans with feelings: joys, and sadnesses, and celebrations. We need to find a space in Agile to celebrate.

I’m sure some readers are yelling “retro” at me. But a retro, at least in my experience, is not a chance to celebrate. At best it’s a place where we list things we could be celebrating — as if by writing it down the celebration is done. But it isn’t.

So here’s my idea: add some points to significant epics to celebrate. Decide during grooming or planning what that celebration will be. Maybe we go home early one day, or play a board game, or learn a non-work skill, or make macaroni pictures.

Without celebrations, it’s much harder to find that sense of achievement. It’s not weird. It’s human.