Not only is it not cool, but Waterfall is challenging because it requires heavy upfront planning before any value-generating work is done. Planning is sometimes necessary because clients need to approve a cost, timeline and scope. In truth, in the digital world, we regularly struggle with making accurate estimates. Often, as soon as you start your project, your plan is already out of date.
So while clients like the predictability of the deliverables, budget and timeline, a Waterfall approach is inherently inflexible. Clients tend to love the idea of Agile because of its apparent flexibility to pivot a project, granting them more opportunities to change their mind continually throughout the project.
The catch and the rest of the story is that that level of flexibility is expensive. Yes, you can change your mind—but it eats up time, and time costs money.
Another challenge is that in order to be successful and truly Agile, clients have to make themselves available and be empowered to make decisions which is rare in hierarchical and board orientated organizations. They need to provide ongoing feedback and prioritization on the fly to keep the project moving, which is often very tricky. Fundamentally, agencies want to get paid for the work they do, and clients want agencies to do their best work, right, first time. There needs to be some happy medium. In many ways, it comes down to trust. Do clients really trust the agency to deliver value, and are they willing to pay for failure on the path to success?
Doing more for less and eliminating waste is a great Lean principle, but the challenge with the approach is often with the client-agency relationship. Clients can cause a lot of waste, and without a truly embedded, trusting client who yields real decision making power, no amount of Agile project methodology can fix that flaw in the relationship.
But where there is mutual trust and willingness to experiment, magic happen. There are links in each section to learn more about each approach. The principles are outlined in the Agile manifesto outlines four values:. Being Agile is more of a philosophy and set of values to follow, rather than a process you can directly apply to a project. Agile projects are characterized by a series of tasks that are conceived, executed and adapted as the situation demands, rather than a pre-planned process.
Being Agile helps teams respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work processes. In much the same way that a good cook tastes the food as they cook it, adding missing ingredients as they go along, an A gile project management process requires project teams to cycle through a process of planning, executing, and evaluating as they go along. For another way to look at it, PM Column offers an interesting description of Agile in their article on explaining Agile to kids.
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Agile is different from other project management methods which usually assume that things affecting the project are predictable, and so it emphasizes adaptability to changing situations, adequate and ongoing communication among the project team and between them and the client. As a set of principles, Agile is the Big Daddy.
Scrum is a project management methodology which proposes principles and process to improve delivery. Within software development, Scrum methodology is one of the most popular and simple frameworks to put the principles of Agile in practice. The goal of Scrum is to improve communication, teamwork and speed of development. Scrum is a light approach and defines a simple set of roles, meetings, and tools to efficiently, iteratively and incrementally deliver valuable, shippable functionality. Fundamentally, Scrum is about empowering a self-managing team to deliver and defines roles and responsibilities to create a healthy tension between delivering the right thing, the right way, as fast as possible.
Scrum advocates using a small, cross-functional team of up to 9 people who work on items in a backlog a collection of user stories or requirements that have been defined and prioritized by a Product Owner. At the end of each sprint, work is then reviewed in a sprint review meeting to determine together with the Product Owner if it passes the Definition of Done DoD.
Agile Project Management: Best Practices and Methodologies
Scrum is facilitated and served by a Scrum Master. Scrum was originally designed for software development. Even on agency web projects, fixed budgets, timelines and scope provide a lack of flexibility for a Scrum self-managing team, on a project with a defined beginning and end. Kanban is a project management methodology focused on Lean principles and a strict process to increase efficiency. The core practices are visualizing the workflow, limiting work in progress, measuring the lead time, making process policies explicit and continually evaluating improvement opportunities.
Kanban focuses on measuring Lead Time — how long it takes, after being briefed, to deliver. This visualizes what you want to do and limits work in progress WIP so that the flow of work is improved as you measure and optimize the average time to complete items.
It also gives the team a visual display of what is coming up next, which makes it easy to reprioritize, uncover process problems and prevent tasks from stalling. It also helps them to see how any new task may affect the ongoing work. Kanban is well-suited to work that requires steady output, like production or support and maintenance. Scrumban methodology is a relatively new hybrid project management methodology that combines a mixed scrum and Kanban approach to project management.
It takes the flexibility of Kanban and adds some of the structure of scrum to create a new way to manage projects. Rather than working in potentially restrictive, timeboxed sprints, Scrumban uses a planning on demand principle to fill the backlog and tasks are assigned by the team pulling in tasks as they can accommodate them, as in Kanban. This means that work in progress is limited and the development team stays focused on the task at hand rather than worrying about the sprint review meeting and what the team committed to delivering in the sprint.
Scrumban retains the daily Scrum with reviews and retrospectives to improve the process only used when needed. Furthermore, without the constriction of sprints, planning is done on an as-needed basis rather than around a sprint, which potentially saves time. Scrumban really just adds some flexibility to Scrum by removing sprints and allowing an adaptive approach to planning.
Or you could see it as adding some much-needed structure to Kanban with meetings that can help with collaboration and optimizing the process.
Work systems and the methods measurement and management of work free download
Scrumban can be good for product development where there is an unclear vision, where there are evolving requirements or no clear roadmap and if the process needs to include support and maintenance work in the process. Lean methodology is a project management methodology focused around the theme of efficiency. Arguably the Godfather of Agile, Lean is all about doing more with less.
It starts by identifying value and then maximizes it through continuous improvement by optimizing the flow of value and eliminating wastage. It suggests you can do more with less by addressing the three dysfunctions that create waste; Muda, Mura and Muri, also known as the 3Ms. Lean is focused on changing the way we operate to be laser focused on delivering value.
Lean can be a helpful mindset to adopt when reviewing your project delivery process. The values , or principles are very similar to Scrum, around simplicity, communication, feedback, respect, and courage. Where it really deviates from Scrum is in defining rules or prescriptive processes.
Some of these are similar to Scrum but there are rules around technical practices around designing coding and testing that make it specific for development projects. These rules include making mandatory; Including user stories, Test-driven development TDD , Pair programming, and Continuous integration among many others. Waterfall methodology, often referred to as SDLC Software Development Life Cycle is a project management methodology theme with a very simple approach that values solid planning, doing it once and doing it right, rather than the Agile approach of incremental and iterative delivery.
The project manager tends to be large and in charge, and work is planned extensively up front and then executed, in strict sequence, adhering to requirements, to deliver the project in a single, and usually very long cycle. Work then cascades, like water down a Waterfall through phases of the project.
In a Waterfall model, each phase must be completed before the next phase can begin and there is no overlapping in the phases. Typically, in a Waterfall approach, the outcome of one phase acts as the input for the next phase sequentially. The project then flows through the process from requirements, through design, implementation, testing and into maintenance. You complete the project with a big fanfare and pray the client likes it. A Waterfall approach can actually provide more predictable end result for budget, timeline and scope. It is a process-oriented methodology , dividing projects into multiple stages, each with their own plans and processes to follow.
The methodology defines inputs and outputs for every stage of a project so that nothing is left to chance. The system emphasizes justification of the course taken by a business, and so the first step is identifying a clear need for the project, who the target customer is, whether there are realistic benefits, and a thorough cost assessment. A project board owns the project and is responsible for its success.
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They define the structures for the team, while a project manager oversees the lower level day-to-day activities. PRNCE2 methodology is based on eight high-level processes and gives teams greater control of resources and the ability to mitigate risk effectively. It clarifies, what will be delivered, ensures a focus on the viability of the project, clearly defines roles and responsibilities, endorses management by exception arguably an Agile principle and similarly to PMBOK, provides a common vocabulary which we can apply to other methodologies. On the flipside, while the principles and themes are great, the process can make it laborious and onerous for small projects.