What is Traditional Project Management?
Traditional project management is an established methodology, also identified as waterfall,
which follows a fixed sequence: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. The
project development runs in a sequential cycle.
The Traditional project management imposes major constraints in the form of time cost and
scope, and the requirements are fixed within these constraints also called as the Iron Triangle.
There is zero tolerance for any cost overrun, scope creep or timeline issues as it will directly
impact the bottom line. The requirement from the customer is never clear at the start and
evolves as the project progresses and hence freezing the scope is simply unmanageable. It is
this rigidity with the iron triangle with no room to accommodate which made project managers
and stakeholders scramble to find something more flexible.
What is Agile Project Management?
Agile methodology follows an iterative process which incorporates the change requested by
customer through feedback and includes the change through continuous releases with every
Agile management relies heavily on teamwork, customer collaboration, time-boxing tasks and
allows greater flexibility.
The customer in traditional methodology is associated at the start and closure, but in Agile
management customer works closely during development as changes are evolving and hence
the effort is collaborative.
Adaptive planning is the hallmark of Agile that made it quite popular and rose to prominence.
The basic concept behind Agile software development is to divide the project into sprints of
shorter span to exercise control over planning and prioritization. If there is a change to be
made, Agile facilitates by making way and creating room, and that’s how Agile is flexible as
against the rigid stance in traditional management.
The book, Agile Project Management (APM) by Jim High smith, was one of the first attempts to
broaden Agile techniques into a cohesive whole.
Agile Project Management (APM):
• Introduced phases for Agile projects that Aligned with the PMP phases applied by the
Project Management Institute.
• also modified the traditional “Iron Triangle” to emphasize Value and Quality, and
created the “Agile Triangle.”
PMI and Agile
PMI, the world’s leading project management institute for project management professional,
has introduced Agile in their PMBOK – 6th edition. Incidentally, PMBOK-version 6 is the
reference material for their flagship Project Management Certification (PMP) course. PMP is
globally acclaimed and universally recognized, and benchmark certification in project
The PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition and Agile Practice Guide were created to complement each
Because more and more stakeholders asked for Agile practices to be included alongside
traditional approaches. The PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition and Agile Practice Guide form a
formidable duo that enable and empower project delivery professionals to use the wide array
of approaches from predictive (waterfall) to iterative (agile).
What makes Agile the way forward in Project Management?
It’s a fallacy that Agile works well for every project development. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’.
Agile is cut out for projects based on certain criteria. These are some of the driving factors for
Software Professionals to prefer Agile methodology.
The most compelling factor. Every project is prone to change. In a traditional management, any
change directly translates to cost. Cost overrun will bleed the project as the bill climbs in figure.
Agile’s way of work is through with it sprints – which are work conducted in shorter span which
makes it flexible in include last minute changes of customer.
Waterfall works well when the requirements are well defined. If the requirements are unclear
or expected to change then Agile is the way forward.
Waterfall follows the worn out path clearly defining the tools and technology to be followed.
Agile’ flexibility offers space to experiment with new technology and chart out fresh course of
action. Agile creates an optimal project control method with a lighter weight.
Risks and threats:
Waterfall is too tight. Risk identification and Risk mitigation can be daunting and a clear threat
to push the project off the rails. The sprints in Agile practice opens up the way much earlier to
identify the risks earlier for effective risk management and control. Agile is more effective when
it comes to detection of issues and defects.
Agile’s sprints are spread out in smaller teams – usually experienced professionals. So when the
availability of resources is limited Agile is your best option. Agile brings in minimization of
resources which reduces unexpected waste.
In Waterfall, the customer’ involvement is at the start and end, while Agile is very collaborative
through regular customer feedback. The customer is in the loop always and hence there is
complete transparency of the project development.
The deployment rate of solutions is quite rapid when it comes to agile in project management.
It builds up faster turnaround times. Agile increases the focus on specific customer needs and
requirements and helps in fulfilling it within a specific period of time.
The final analysis is in favor of Agile
It’s not possible to freeze requirements. Changes will evolve. Customer delight is the ultimate
goal, which means keeping cost under control without compromising on scope and schedule.
To maximize ROI, the productivity needs to be high, quality higher, cost efficient, more business
value and quicker time to market.
Moreover, when there is a paradigm shift in thought process and technology which calls for
greater clarity, larger accountability and handling projects of complexity, Agile is hailed as the
chosen one to face the challenges in the days to come.
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