The quotation comes, of course, from Richard Bacon MP and Christopher Hope's Conundrum: Why every government gets things wrong and what we can do about it, pp.240-1. Here we are, back again, asking why government IT systems too often go over budget and what we can do about it.
The traditional approach to software development is often known as 'waterfall' development: that is, you plan, build, test, review and then deploy, in a relentless cascade. But some IT industry players regard this practice as the chief problem ...A rather different answer which has emerged in the last ten to fifteen years has been what are called 'Agile Systems', perhaps best described as a philosophical movement in action within the software industry.
The fashionable answer is that the problem is the "waterfall" engineering of software systems and the solution is "agile" engineering. Waterfall bad, agile good. That's the idea. Let's explore it a little.
Waterfall is always associated with Winston W Royce (1929-95) and, to hear people talking about waterfall these days, you'd think he was a bit of an idiot. Actually, he was a rocket scientist who got into large-scale software engineering and ended up running IT for Lockheed.