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The Waterfall model’s earned a reputation for being top-down—a rigid system that minimizes client engagement. Agile, on the other hand, can involve so much evolution and engagement that a project quickly balloons out of budget. That’s why KELL takes a blended approach to developing solutions.

With Waterfall, once conception is complete, you move onto initiation—then analysis, then design, and so on. The advantage of this forward cascade is knowing exactly what to expect for the scope and outcome. The drawback is that once a step is complete, there are no second thoughts.

Agile, on the other hand, offers an incremental and iterative approach. It’s freeform, allowing client and consultant to work on small modules at a time and tweak as they go.

KELL’s clients are typically looking for a solution to displace a legacy system. And, as nonprofits, they often face budget limitations. As a result, the most effective path is generally a hybrid approach of Agile and Waterfall. We take the best elements of each, combining this hybrid process with our all-star project managers’ nonprofit expertise.

From Waterfall, we borrowed the research-heavy front end. We emphasize a comprehensive discovery phase on the outset. That significantly minimizes the risk of costly surprises over the project’s course.

We also borrowed Waterfall’s forward momentum. This is critical in databases. Since most of the work we do with Salesforce is configuration and not custom code, we can readily adjust. But making a major change after uploading a large volume of data just isn’t in your best interest. We make the right decisions early in the project, so we can keep moving toward launch.

Plus, our clients are eager to use all the integrations and features of their new system. When your current tech is holding you back, waiting is the worst!

From Agile, we borrowed the continuous feedback and flexibility. But a pure Agile process, with constant meetings and adjustments, would quickly spiral out of scope—and over budget. KELL has set up hundreds of Salesforce instances for nonprofits. We’ve learned how to combine engagement and progress for the ideal results.

One project that exemplifies the blended approach is KELL’s Salesforce implementation for NDI New Mexico. NDI uses music and the arts to help children develop discipline, a standard of excellence, and a belief in themselves that will carry over into all aspects of their lives.

The project was complex and customized. The client had detailed goals and faced multiple challenging decisions. But KELL Project Manager Megan Riel served as a partner, coach and developer—moving the project forward with the best elements of the Agile and Waterfall models.

This sophisticated blend gives KELL clients a highly effective development approach. Our clients know what to expect. We work with you to gather requirements during discovery and build a solution, but still have some built-in flexibility to make tweaks and changes once you begin using the solution—to increase the usability and encourage adoption.