The intense industry debate of Waterfall vs Agile largely settled in favor of Agile in recent years. Transitioning to Agile has in fact been considered fundamental to an organization aspiring to undertake Digital Transformation journey. ERP implementation projects, including the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain, or Dynamics 365 Business Central, have however remained largely waterfall, or CRP (Conference Room Pilot) – which we consider only a variation of waterfall. The waterfall vs Agile debate draws very strong reactions from the ERP practitioners – and for very solid reasons. Most practitioners rule out the possibility of Agile being a practical approach for ERP implementations.
Along with this strong opposition from practitioners of waterfall is however the overwhelming industry data showing that adoption of waterfall methodology is one of the key reasons for ERP implementation projects to fail. According to McKinsey – three-fourths of ERP transformation projects fail to stay on schedule or within budget, and two-thirds have a negative return on investment. Adoption of waterfall has been identified as one of the 5 key reasons for this failure.
Several inherent characteristics of an ERP implementation project make the adoption of copy-book Agile methodology a non-starter. The challenges of ERP implementation projects however continue to be serious enough for the industry to strive for a more reliable approach.