Scrum, Agile or Waterfall? What if the answer is none of the above?

Owning a sailboat can teach you a lot about working on projects lacking goals, vision, or commitment.

Sunset projects that lack commitment. They won't work with agile or waterfallBuying a sailboat is a huge learning experience, particularly if you bought it because you too wanted to enjoy an ecologically sound way to whisper across the water and actually have control over what happens.

Sailboats are, in fact, a hole in the water that you must pour money into until you fill the ocean. They are a huge, unending, and nearly uncontrollable force that will consume your time, money, and patience. Hmm, sounds like projects I have been on, managed, and in a couple of cases sponsored.

Why then are there so many sailboaters out there living the dream I want to have? Simple. While I think owning a sailboat is a cool idea, they embrace everything about sailing as a priority in their lives; it is something they commit to, grow better at, are proud of. All I want is the breeze in my face, the sun shining, and the tiller in my hand.

The same reasoning applies to projects that, like the sailboat, are nothing more than a hole where money is poured in with no actionable vision or goal. Even if there is a goal and a vision, sailboats and projects remain tied to their tether because there is no commitment to the goal or the vision.

So, reject, place on hold, backwater, table, sunset, or declare victory on the sailboats moored in your portfolio. There is no effective or efficient way, agile or waterfall, Scrum or traditional, to deliver on a vision, mission, or purpose that has not been stated and/or a goal that does not include the business measurably committed to the effort.

Wait a minute. If you drop anchor, how can you declare victory on a sailboat project? Easy, since you have no idea where you are supposed to be going, anywhere you stop is the place you should be.


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