(With apologies to Kermit the Frog, whose song "It Ain't Easy Being Green" is a much older meme).
I love reading case studies of teams that shake up "business as usual" and reinvent their world. It inspires me to be open to the possibilities of such change.
If you are involved at all in software engineering, check out this blog entry by the Songbird development team as it shows their shift from the traditional waterfall model to Agile methods.
There are some good ideas here, some of which might be adoptable to your own work.
The traditional waterfall model has taken a huge number of deadly arrows over the course of my little lifetime in tech:
- The book Microsoft Secrets shows that in the early 90s, Microsoft couldn't manage their humongous Office projects with the traditional model and went to an "synch and stabilize" model to get things under control.
- Practices on the Internet have created an implicit demand that every downloadable software project will have both a stable version and the latest development version available for download. This doesn't work with the traditional waterfall model, because development builds for the waterfall model are not guaranteed to work.
- Back in my old Sequent days, working on the OS, we always had the standard that "you never break the build" but we never put our weekly builds out on the Internet for just anyone to download. I'm incredibly impressed with the stability and quality of bi-weekly builds of huge projects like OpenSolaris. For most purposes, you could probably take one of those builds and chances are, be quite happy with it.
- Yet, many famous and hugely profitable software enterprises seem to run on the waterfall model from all external evidence. I don't need to mention these.