The dynamics of mini-waterfalls: Modelling the regression from agile scrum to waterfall development within a single software project

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering


Gokongwei College of Engineering


Industrial Engineering

Thesis Adviser

Jose Edgar S. Mutuc

Defense Panel Member

Jonathan R. Dungca


In any industry, change will inevitably be needed in order for the firms in this industry to progress. In a software engineering firm, one such change initiative would be Agile Scrum. Through the establishment of co-functional teams and iterative development, this change initiative seeks to improve the productivity of developers and the overall quality of the software being developed. It has been applied with great success to numerous software firms (Li, Moe & Dybå, 2010); however, among these cases, there are also recurring themes of regression into waterfall development, thereby creating mini-waterfalls (Benefield, 2008), which is problematic as miniwaterfalls do not exhibit the full benefits to be derived from working under the Agile Scrum methods. To address this problem, this study first sought to understand the major differences in the Agile Scrum and waterfall development processes. It was found that while waterfall would at some point be superior to Agile Scrum in completion--indicating that more work is finished in a shorter span of time--it is inferior to Agile Scrum in overall completion and visibility in terms of how many functions are running at any point in time. This study then sought to find the link in the transition from Agile Scrum to waterfall, from which it was understood that the developers exhibited a tendency to focus on and advance beyond the sprint plan in certain areas of the project because of the perception that more work could be done in this way, and likewise more work was being done in those areas because of that decision to specialize therein. Based on the analysis of the dynamics in regression, a solution was developed and proposed: to form the sprint plan around the work that was done in advance, such that the Scrum team could be given the freedom to achieve greater productivity while also keeping themselves aligned with each other.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 computer disc ; 4 3/4 in.


Industrial engineering; Industrial productivity; Scrum (Computer software development); Agile software development

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