Chapter 11 – Agile PM

11.9. Agile versus Traditional Project Management

Traditional management is the bulk of writing in this textbook.  It is a solid and exhaustive planning process that happens before the project begins.  It is understood that is there is a plan made before the project starts, there is a higher probability the project will be successful.  All the details are carefully explored and defined through the Work Breakdown Structure.  A risk plan will alleviate most issues, or at least allow for a quick response to take corrective action.  The estimates and budgets are developed.  A schedule is established, resources (people, materials, equipment) are all allocated.  Control and monitoring of the plan is ensured throughout the project, and decide “how” up front.  All these steps and components are part of the overall plan before the plan is executed.  There is a quite high degree of predictability that the project will be successful. Project Managers and teams are trained, and have a very clear vision of the project prior to its beginning.  A well developed Scope further reduces chances of failure.  The teams are traditional. established teams.

Agile Management has drifted away from the traditional approach.  As mentioned, it is more of a rolling wave type of planning and scheduling.  The final design of the project may not have all the details at the beginning.  The incremental iteratives are developed over time.  Agile Management is more experimental changes can happen at any time. The projects tend to evolve over time.  The team work to solve problems and finds solutions, not implemented.  There is a continuum of the design.  Sometimes, the scope is quite flexible, meaning it could expand or contract over time.  Often with Agile Management the project is unpredictable and uncertain about its success. The teams are self-organized.

Traditional project management will always be in the mainstream for projects.  Although some Project Managers find it challenging and stifling to use traditional project management; other Project Managers are challenged by the scope and  plan being to loosely organized in Agile Management.

Which management structure is the ultimate winner is unknown. Time will tell.