From Waterfall to Iterative Lifecycle - A tough transition for project managers

Rational Software Corp.
Philippe Kruchten

Although the Rational Unified Process advocates an iterative or spiral approach to the software development lifecycle, do not believe for one second that the many benefits it provides come for free. Iterative development is not a magical wand that when waved solves all possible problems or difficulties in software development.

Projects are not easier to set up, to plan, or to control just because they are iterative. The project manager will actually have a more challenging task, especially during his or her first iterative project, and most certainly during the early iterations of that project, when risks are high and early failure possible. In this paper, I describe some of the challenges of iterative development from the perspective of the project manager. I also describe some of the common traps or pitfalls that we, at Rational, have seen project managers fall into through our consulting experience, or from reports and war stories from our Rational colleagues.


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