Hybrid project management The best of both worlds
Classic or agile project management? This question has become a matter of faith in many companies. Both approaches have strengths and weaknesses. So why not combine the best of both project management worlds?
The goal of professional project management is to plan and control projects in such a way that
- risks are minimised,
- opportunities are exploited and
- project goals are achieved in the required quality - on time and within the defined budget.
Companies have always faced this challenge in their efforts to structure change projects and plans in such a way that the goals are achieved and success is ensured in the long term.
It is important to bear in mind, however: Projects always take place in an existing environment. That is why proven (project management) procedures and methods become obsolete when the general environment changes. This is increasingly happening in the VUCA world, which is characterised by rapid change and decreasing predictability - also due to the digital transformation of the economy and society. In this world, (change) projects are not only becoming more numerous, but also more complex. That is why more and more companies are questioning their classic project management and experimenting with new, mostly more agile forms of project management.
Agile project management: a response to increased complexity
According to the classic project management model (also called the waterfall model), a project consists of precisely defined, successive phases. Generally, a distinction is made between the four phases: start phase, planning phase, execution phase(s) and completion phase. In software projects, this often includes the phases of analysis, design, implementation, testing and operation.
Agile project management, which usually refers to the Scrum model, is different. Here, projects are not planned out in detail from start to finish. Instead, the procedure follows a vision.
In addition, the procedure is
- incremental, i.e. taking place in small steps that build on each other, and
- iterative, i.e. carried out in cycles of review and repetition.
The focus is on the stakeholders (customers/users) and the user stories. These user stories describe the requirements for the end product or the solution to the problem from the user's perspective. They are usually written by the product owner - the person who is ultimately responsible for the project or development team's work and the quality of the end product - alongside the stakeholders in the ongoing development process.
In agile project management, the project itself is not divided into phases, but a sequence of approximately three to four-week sprints. In these sprints, user stories are assigned to the development teams, for example in software development, with a maximum number of user stories that can be achieved in this time. When a sprint is over, the developed partial solution is available as a product increment and can be tested in operation. The next sprint starts at this time.