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Can I use Agile to implement Business Central?

Updated: Mar 16

Agile methodology is an iterative software development and project management approach that focuses on delivering value to the customer in small increments. This methodology can be used to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) like Business Central.


However, it's important to note that the success of an Agile implementation depends on many factors, such as alignment between the team and stakeholders and a clear understanding of the goals and requirements of the project. In this post, I explain the difference between Agile and Waterfall and how to choose the right methodology for an ERP implementation.


How does Agile differ from Waterfall methodology?


Agile and Waterfall are two different methodologies for software development and project management. The main difference is their approach to project planning and execution.


Waterfall is a structured, linear approach to project management where each project phase must be completed before moving on to the next one. It follows a sequential design process where all requirements are gathered up front, and the project progresses through distinct stages such as design, development, testing, and deployment.


On the other hand, Agile is an iterative and incremental approach that focuses on delivering value to the customer in small increments1. It is known for its flexibility and encourages frequent stakeholder interaction, team initiative, and short-term deadlines1. In Agile methodology, the team works on different project phases concurrently and can adapt to changing requirements or stakeholder feedback.


Overall, Waterfall methodology is best suited for projects with well-defined requirements that are unlikely to change, while Agile methodology is better suited for projects where requirements may evolve or change over time.

What are the benefits of using Agile methodology?


There are several benefits to using Agile methodology. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Facilitating and prioritising decision-making: Agile methodology helps developers make the correct decisions and understand which decisions are more critical.

  2. Boosting productivity and collaboration: Agile projects are split up into sprints, which can increase productivity and cooperation among team members.

  3. Reducing risks: Agile methodology can help reduce software development and project management risks.

  4. Preventing surprises: Agile methodology can help prevent surprises by allowing regular feedback and iteration.

  5. Resulting in better product quality: Testing is an integral part of the project execution phase when using Agile methodology, which can result in a higher quality final product.

Overall, Agile methodology can help teams deliver value to the customer in small increments while remaining flexible and adaptable to changing requirements.


What are the benefits of using the Waterfall methodology?


Waterfall methodology can benefit when used for an ERP implementation like Business Central. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Clear framework: Waterfall methodology provides a structured approach to project management with well-defined stages and formalised hand-offs from one stage to the next

  2. Scope solidified through solution design documentation: Waterfall methodology requires all requirements to be gathered upfront, which can help ensure the project's scope is clearly defined and agreed upon before development begins.

  3. Completed and finished end-to-end product: Waterfall methodology follows a linear process where each stage of the project must be completed before moving on to the next one, resulting in a completed and finished end-to-end product

  4. Clear start and end lines: Waterfall methodology provides clear start and end lines for each stage of the project, making it easier to track progress and ensure that the project stays on schedule

  5. Gives your project structure: Waterfall methodology provides a structured way to approach projects, making it easier for everyone involved to understand the project plan and their role in it

Overall, the Waterfall methodology can be a good choice for ERP implementations with well-defined requirements that are unlikely to change.


What methodology should you adopt for a Business Central implementation?


Before answering this question, we must reflect on the concept of ERP. Enterprise Resource Planning refers to the whole enterprise's resources, not bits and pieces of the enterprise. While it is often convenient to implement enterprise applications using an Agile methodology, ERP software requires a different approach.


Agile masks – and in many cases, propagates – the real root cause of transformation failure: misalignment. It is almost impossible to implement one ERP module without affecting the others; it is also a bad idea to work on separate modules without having a clear framework and considering the dependencies on other modules. For example, using Agile to implement the Sales module without considering the Finance module.


I often speak with decision-makers who claim their company to be "Agile"; therefore, they object to implementing their new ERP using a Waterfall methodology. Lack of clear requirements, absence of defined business processes and frequent changes does not mean being Agile. Starting an ERP implementation with no clear goals, a vague go-live date and an approximate budget is a recipe for disaster.


Closing Thoughts


Waterfall methodology is a structured and linear approach to project management where each project phase must be completed before moving on to the next one. It is best suited for projects with well-defined requirements that are unlikely to change. On the other hand, Agile methodology is an iterative and incremental approach that focuses on delivering value to the customer in small increments. It is better suited for projects where requirements may evolve or change.


Regards

Alfredo Iorio

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