Agile or Waterfall? Or both at the same time?

For project managers it is clear that there are multiple ways to manage projects. There are two main choices: Agile or Waterfall. It is often stated that these are completely different and therefore a project manager must choose between either agile or waterfall. But is it that simple? Is there one methodology that is superior to another for certain companies or certain projects?

 

Project Management approaches should be dependent upon context

Most of the time, project management approaches are dependent upon the company culture, but they can even differ between different departments in the same company. And it goes beyond just the company or departmental culture, project management approaches can also differ per project as each project has its own constraints and characteristics. A project manager should therefore be able to define a project management approach per context. Often, there is one project management methodology that has a more prominent presence in the company. Some companies will work according to Waterfall principles. But that doesn’t mean influences from other methodologies can’t be an asset for projects or for their project management methodology in general.

Scrum or Agile? Choice for project managers

Combining different methodologies, a challenge for project managers

The current issue that project managers (and people working in project teams) are facing, is that they are educated about these different methodologies separately. Trainers are often experts in one project management approach and will market their methodology as superior to others. Project managers must realise that every methodology has its own way to strive for project success. So they are often faced with the challenge of assessing the strengths (and weaknesses) of different methodologies. But of course, advanced knowledge about each methodology is required to make sure that these don’t conflict with each other. Besides knowing the strengths of each methodology, project managers need to explore a way to combine these into a project management approach that works for their own organization. For example, bringing together the fixed scope of the Waterfall approach and the fixed cost and time of the Agile approach is not an easy task and requires commitment in order to make it work.

 

There is no right or wrong in project management. Success is not measured by the methodology used, but by the success of the project itself. An important key take away for project managers is to have an open mind-set towards these different methodologies. Don’t follow one methodology blindly but sit together with multiple PMs and try and find out what works best in your organisation and for one project in specific.

 

Struggling with this issue at your own organization? Don’t hesitate to contact us!