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Blending traditional and agile project management

By - Santhosh Vutukuru | 5 Oct 2014

Traditional project management involves disciplined and deliberate planning as well as control methods. With this approach, we can easily recognize distinct project lifecycle phases. Tasks are completed one after another in an orderly sequence – this demands that a vital part of the project be planned upfront.  In addition, with traditional project management, once a phase is complete, it is assumed that it will not be revisited.

Agile project management is a highly iterative and incremental process, where developers and project stakeholders actively work together to understand the domain;  identify what needs to be built;  and, prioritize functionality.

Years of traditional plan-driven software development using conventional models have led to an  assumption that conventional approaches are the only way to adhere to the best practices of project management. But the fact is that project management exists in agile methodologies as well. In fact, agile methodologies, if followed with discipline and rigor, are compliant with the best practices of project management, just as traditional approaches are. The only difference is command-and-control dictatorship Vs self-organizing teams.

Below table depicts the mixed bag of project management concepts like Scope Management, Risk Management, Quality Management, Integration Management presented as a comparison to the traditional approach to agile approach.

Scope ManagementRisk Management
TraditionalAgileTraditionalAgile
Scope DefinitionCreate WBSScope VerificationScope is decided in Release Planning & Sprint PlanningProduct backlog is regularly prioritized to reflect the Scope changesFeature acceptance at the end of each Sprint / ReleaseRisk IdentificationRisk ProbabilityRisk ImpactMitigation and Contingency PlanningMonitor & ControlRisks are identified and monitored regularly throughRelease PlanningSprint PlanningDaily StandupSprint RetrospectiveRisk monitoring can be any of the ways like recording results on whiteboards or flipcharts
Quality ManagementIntegration Management
TraditionalAgileTraditionalAgile
Quality PlanningQuality AssuranceQuality ControlTest Driven DevelopmentTest Early & OftenCommitted QA resources from the beginningProject Plan developmentProject Plan executionDirect, Manage, Monitor, ControlChange ControlRelease and Sprint PlanningSprint ExecutionFacilitate, CollaborateConstant FeedbackScope is revisited at the end of each Sprint / ReleaseTest Driven DevelopmentTest Early & OftenCommitted QA resources from the beginningProject Plan developmentProject Plan executionDirect, Manage, Monitor, ControlChange ControlRelease and Sprint PlanningSprint ExecutionFacilitate, CollaborateConstant FeedbackScope is revisited at the end of each Sprint / Release

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