Is Hybrid Project management the new hype?

Many companies are confronted with the same problem. How to combine effective PRINCE2 or PMBOK based project governance with the agile development techniques requested by the software teams?

PRINCE2 and PMBOK frameworks describe good project management practices but do not cover the actual product development and delivery because it is seen as “specialist” work. Therefore, traditional project management methods are not covering issues the development team is facing. Some of these issues are as follows:

  • How to organise close collaboration between the customer and the development team throughout the project?
  • How to increase and maximise the teams’ productivity?
  • How to adapt quickly to changing realities?

Scrum

In Scrum, there is no concept of a project, it focuses on optimising team performance. The goal is to create a culture of continuous feedback with a focus on delivering high quality software that meets customer needs. Agile teams are expected to embrace change and to respond to new information quickly. This counters traditional project management goals as it controls change and sticks to a plan.

The original Scrum framework starts with the Product Backlog. It assumes that a product vision, roadmap and basic requirement set already exist and that the fundamental investment decision has occurred before starting the first sprint.

Therefore, Scrum does not cover important project management challenges such as:

  • How to get consensus among stakeholders about the high level product to develop (the big picture or end-to-end system)?
  • How and where does the investment decision take place?
  • How to build the release plan and report progress to management?
  • How to fill the Product Backlog with the initial requirements?

Recently the Scrum community recognised the necessity to cover these questions as shown in following framework (source Scrum Body of Knowledge). It is illustrated by integrating the need for an upfront business case and product vision.

Hybrid Project Management

PRINCE2 Agile®

The PRINCE2 community also recognises the power of hybrid Project Management. For those organisations having implemented PRINCE2, the new PRINCE2 Agile® extension provides further guidance on how to combine the strengths of both methods. Its purpose is to improve time-to-market while simultaneously encouraging stakeholder involvement, feedback and governance by continually validating project milestones against business objectives.

 

Hybrid Project Management is a new powerful approach. It’s a must for project managers who have to integrate hardware and software development in one project. On the one hand, the hardware team has to follow a traditional phase-based project life cycle. On the other hand, the software team(s) want to be agile by applying the popular Scrum recipes on the software development.

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Author: Michel Coens