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Imagine you are a Project Manager. You have 2 important projects to deliver.

  • Project A involves a lot of change and customer interaction

  • Project B has a strict timeline and exact requirements

Choosing the right approach is essential to project success.How do you choose the right approach?

Two popular project management tools are Agile and Waterfall. Let's try them out!

Project Management Approaches

To clarify the opportunities and obstacles of both Waterfall and Agile, let’s begin with a summary of each.

Flaticon Icon Waterfall

  • Is a traditional approach to project management.

  • Tasks and phases are completed in a linear, sequential manner, which means each stage of the project must be completed before the next begins.

  • There is very little room for unexpected changes.

  • Projects with multiple dependencies are a good candidate for Waterfall.

  • Advantages: well-organized, well-documented, firm deadlines

  • Disadvantages: not good for complex projects, no changes allowed

Learn More About Waterfall Project Management

Flaticon Icon Agile

  • Is an iterative approach, which means the developmental process is broken into periods of time called iterations or sprints.

  • Agile is based on the assumption that changes occur as a project develops.

  • Advantages: speed, flexibility, customer feedback, value-focused

  • Disadvantages: lack of predictability

Learn More About Agile Project Management

Quiz

If I expect a lot of changes throughout a project, which project management approach should I choose?

One Size Does Not Fit All

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Before you choose an approach, it is important to ask yourself some questions. For example:

  • What is the final goal of the project?

  • How complex is the project?

  • How involved does your customer want/need to be in the project?

  • Do your stakeholders prefer a particular methodology?

When to choose:

Waterfall

  • Short, simple projects

  • Scope is known

  • Clear and fixed requirements

  • No changes are anticipated

  • Stakeholder involvement is only required at set milestones

  • Project will be delivered to the client at the end of the project

Agile

  • Complex projects

  • Scope is unknown

  • Requirements are not clear

  • Likely to change

  • Stakeholder involvement required at every stage

  • Project will delivered to the client in iterations, prioritizing the most valuable features first.

Can You Help Maria?

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Maria works for a large financial services company. The government recently introduced new rules regarding fraud and Maria's team has 3 months to make the changes.

Maria's team receives a lengthy document outlining requirements and timeline. They don't have any choice but to implement the changes.

Quiz

What project Management approach should Maria's team take?

Can You Help Abdel?

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Abdel works for a small software company, SuperX. SuperX is working with a new client who would like to create a new mobile application for their customers.

The client is not exactly sure what their customers need in terms of functionality, design, or experience. They know they need to create an app to stay competitive.

Quiz

What project management approach should Abdel use?

Summary

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Waterfall and Agile each have their strengths and weaknesses. The one you choose depends on the best fit for you and your project.

For your next project ask yourself, do I:

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Then choose the best approach and see your project shine!

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This Byte has been authored by

KM

Karen Mulchinock

Empathy is crucial to human centric design