If we’re so agile why celebrate waterfall?

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Several years ago I was the PM on a two year long waterfall infrastructure project. We all worked our tails off and upon completion were given a celebration luncheon. We who lost the most sleep were celebrating that we worked 18 hour days, had just completed a 72 hour rollout of a new system, and that we could now sleep. Sure, during busy times along the way we were given Red Bull & pizza to keep us fed throughout the night but that’s not celebration, that’s caffeine. We had to wait for almost two years for a proper celebration and then we were only celebrating that we had survived the process.

Agile differs from waterfall most in that it’s a culture and not a process. In agile we have a culture of celebration that we work into every routine. Our daily standups, planning meetings, and product demonstrations are all commonly called “ceremonies.” Healthy agile teams treat them as celebrations, and invent lots more celebrations.

Waterfall does have a celebration culture but I don’t want to be in a culture that celebrates overworking, ruining my work/life balance, and utter exhaustion.