Blog / Waterfall Syndrome

October 21, 2010

Is there a disease called Waterfall Syndrome? I personally think we can see it taking hold in a number of large organisations. Companies should start to recognise it and help those who are suffering with the symptoms. I am sure that if we carried out a survey we would find that a large number of business days are lost every year due to people suffering from this illness.

How is it recognised? Well, I would suggest that there are a number of symptoms:

Stress. Waterfall Syndrome can result in very high levels of stress. As individuals are not seeing any business benefit being delivered on their project during a long period of time, their stress levels are increased, as they worry about the fit of the unproven functionality with the business.

Boredom. There are periods of time when an individual with Waterfall Syndrome gets exceptionally bored. The reason for this is because they are waiting for others to deliver before they can move forward with their own activity.

In-fighting. Those suffering from Waterfall Syndrome tend to get very involved in political fights with other people who are attempting to deliver the same project. They are unable to see the big picture and are focused on delivering only their part of the project.

Itchy feet. Possibly chilblains, but I was thinking more of the fact that sufferers of Waterfall Syndrome are more likely to move organisations on a regular basis as they fail to deliver worthwhile solutions.

Abuse. Sufferers tend to find themselves being the victims of abuse. This is because they tend to be seen by others as failing to deliver any solutions, or, at best, delivering solutions that do not deliver business value.

The cure? A good dose of Agile medicine helps resolve the symptoms, and with regular administration they totally disappear.