Agile vs. Waterfall Project Management on BI and Planning Projects

LourieBy Lourie Louw

I have been on multiple IT projects over the years, both as a Consultant and Project Manager. During this period of time I have experienced the traditional Waterfall approach mostly used on the SAP Transaction System side (ECC), as well as the more agile approaches like Sprint or the Activate Methodology of SAP more used in the Business Intelligence side.

In this blog, I would like to elaborate a bit more on the Sprint or Activate Methodology.

The principles used in this Methodology are as follows:

“Inspect and Adapt”

  • Working requirements is the measure of progress (Iterative Development)
  • Business value is the measure of success (User stories, User Acceptance Tests)
  • Phases are overlapping instead of sequential
  • Short, well-structured status and planning meetings
  • Reduce testing risk (Test-Driven Development, Continuous Integration, etc.)
  • Eliminate backward steps (Whole team and stakeholder involvement from day one)
  • Continuous improvement (Feedback Loops)


Sprint – Iterative Realization Phases









Sprint Iterations









Sprint Planning

  • Start with a Sprint Zero for Product Backlog, Release Plan, Infrastructure and Organizational Structure Setup, etc.
  • Develop Themes for Sprints
  • Pay attention to common Master and Organization Structures
  • Align Product Development across Sprints based on dependencies


Integrated Project Plan Example:










Sprint Execution

  • Add Integration Sprints for Integrated Functions
  • Coordinate Master and Transaction Data needs









Daily Team Meeting

  • Informal
  • Invite all Role Players

Sprint Demos

  • Informal
  • Invite all Role Players
  • Team presents demo of what was accomplished during the Sprint
  • Whole team participates

Sprint Retrospective

  • Done after every Sprint
  • What is and isn’t working?
  • Whole team participates

In conclusion, the Sprint or Activate Methodology can add real benefit to your Organization and help to guarantee success and business buy-in from day one on your BI and Planning Projects. It is highly recommended to consider it for Future Projects.



For more information on our services click here.