Why Agile is outperforming traditional project management models
Friday, February 21, 2020
The office goes quiet, the birds scatter from the trees, you see your water ripple as you hear a distant rumble: Agile has arrived. Making waves in project management circles for a while now, the Agile model is still an undeniably popular alternative to traditional methods of project management.
With the business world changing at the rate that it does, creating and running a project that responds to sudden changes and unforeseen developments can be exhausting and at times seemingly impossible. The good news is Agile is here. It is a flexible and responsive model that outperforms traditional project management models on modern tech projects and leads to lasting benefits for the customer and your team.
What is Agile?
Agile project management is different from traditional models in what it prioritizes and how it deals with changing scope. A traditional project management approach (also known as a “waterfall”) operates on a linear model in which one phase follows another, which makes sense for projects in which inputs are static and outputs are predictable. It’s standard for a reason: every waterfall approach has the same life cycle from planning to execution to result.
The issue with using the waterfall approach is when the variables are not fixed. Traditional project management approaches often get into trouble with budgets and deadlines because the static, progressional model can’t account for unforeseen changes or unpredictable hurdles.
This is where Agile comes in. While the waterfall approach hinges on the upfront planning stage, Agile prioritizes flexibility throughout the project. It also involves more customer feedback and allows for incorporating that feedback and running the project again. In other words, it’s not one mad dash to the finish line, it’s a living organism that grows and improves over time.
“Two popular Agile frameworks are Scrum and Kanban, each renowned for promoting quick decision-making and helping you avoid sinking time into anything likely to change. The rate of change Agile is prepared for makes it perfect for the fast-evolving tech world,” explains Richard Third, a project manager at State Of Writing and Best Writing Services.
Benefits of Agile
Agile software development depends on this core feature of an evolving process. Rather than a predefined beginning and endpoint, the process continues to learn from its results, otherwise known as Adaptive Planning.
Due to the flexible nature of Agile, it is best suited for short to medium-term projects that can be repeated or run in an iterative format. It depends on frequent and interactive input from users, and as a result, is a much more involved process than traditional project management. The advantage, though, is that any inputted processes are still fresh, so the cost of restarting the process is low.
Agile works really well with complex projects by breaking them up into manageable parts. These parts, or iterations, are released to the customer as they are completed. The customer is then asked to give feedback on their experience, which informs the process for the next iteration. This iterative process negates the need for hours of planning before the project starts, and if unforeseen challenges arise, you don’t lose a whole project’s worth of work, you just tweak your next iteration.
“One of the greatest advantages of this system is the weight it gives to customer satisfaction. The very core of the project is centered around customer engagement, and every stage is defined by what is best for the project’s audience,” says Christine Barber, a tech writer at OXEssays and Eliteassignmenthelp.
Does it Play Nice?
Many project managers, quite understandably, don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to traditional project management systems. Is there a way for Agile to coexist with the waterfall approach, or indeed with any other model?
The jury is out on this, but signs point to no. Trying to use two different strategies is never a good idea, as processes could conflict with one another, leaving lots of room for oversight and error. Then again, there are some project managers who believe the two could work together if applied to different sections and the boundaries clearly demarcated.
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