Is Water-Scrum-Fall Reality? On the Use of Agile and Traditional Development Practices

Georgios Theocharis, Marco Kuhrmann, Jürgen Münch, Philipp Diebold

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For years, agile methods are considered the most promising route toward successful software development, and a considerable number of published studies the (successful) use of agile methods and reports on the benefits companies have from adopting agile methods. Yet, since the world is not black or white, the question for what happened to the traditional models arises. Are traditional models replaced by agile methods? How is the transformation toward Agile managed, and, moreover, where did it start? With this paper we close a gap in literature by studying the general process use over time to investigate how traditional and agile methods are used. Is there coexistence or do agile methods accelerate the traditional processes’ extinction? The findings of our literature study comprise two major results: First, studies and reliable numbers on the general process model use are rare, i.e., we lack quantitative data on the actual process use and, thus, we often lack the ability to ground process-related research in practically relevant issues. Second, despite the assumed dominance of agile methods, our results clearly show that companies enact context-specific hybrid solutions in which traditional and agile development approaches are used in combination.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct-Focused Software Process Improvement : 16th International Conference, PROFES 2015, Bolzano, Italy, December 2-4, 2015, Proceedings
EditorsPekka Abrahamsson, Luis Corral, Markku Oivo, Barbara Russo
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-26843-9
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-26844-6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event16th International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement - Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
Duration: 2. Dec 20154. Dec 2015
Conference number: 16th


Conference16th International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement
SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


  • Agile methods
  • Comparative study
  • Development practices
  • Scrum
  • Software process
  • Systematic literature review


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