Projects based on the agile philosophy are now increasingly the standard working method or approach for large and small projects. It took a while, but now agile is not even really innovative anymore! And although agile project methodologies have many success stories, it is also becoming increasingly clear that it is not the best way of project management in all cases. But, how do you determine when an agile-based project method is the best option? And how do you know when it is actually better to use a more traditional waterfall-based project method? We are happy to help you make this choice by means of a handy selection tool!
In order to advise you on which approach would work best for you in your situation and organisation, we have prepared a short questionnaire. This questionnaire (approximately 10 minutes) examines different aspects of the project and the organization. You are asked to indicate what is important to you in the statement outlined. We ask questions about the following aspects: context, organisation, employees and priorities. After completing the questionnaire, you will receive personalised, specific and substantiated advice from us. After all, every organization and situation is unique!
In order to give you, in addition to free and independent advice, also some more context and knowledge about the possible advice, we would like to explain in this blog what the different ideas and associated project methodologies entail and what the differences are.
There are two main streams within project approaches: Waterfall and Agile. Various methodologies then fall within both main streams. For example, with a waterfall project you can work according to Prince2 or IPMA, and with an Agile project methodology Scrum and SaFe are commonly used methods/working methods. Each method also has advantages and disadvantages in different situations, which depend on, among other things, the level and size of a project (and organization). For example, SaFe is often an approach that is used as a platform and way of working across an individual project.
Project methods based on the 'Waterfall' philosophy are often seen as traditional project management in which an (extensive) plan of action is first written. The project will then be carried out as precisely as possible as described in this plan. Waterfall project methods are originally from the construction and manufacturing industry and were used because changes in the project plan within this industry are very expensive. A characteristic of a waterfall project method is that it has a clear start and end date. It is also clear to those involved in advance which processes must be carried out and at what time in order to achieve the end goal. The advantage of using a waterfall project method is that as a project manager you have clear expectations and that the employees know exactly what they have to deliver. Other stakeholders also know what to expect in the interim and at the end of the project.
Another starting point is agile working, where the aim is to create a product or service with the highest possible value in a short and fixed period of time using an iterative approach. The essential goal of agile project methods is that it is easy to adapt the project to a constantly changing environment instead of having to stick to a preconceived plan. A characteristic of agile project methods is that the total costs and the prioritization in the objectives of a project are not completely fixed in advance and can therefore change during the course of the project. Agile originally comes from the IT sector and software development where the rapid creation of a 'first version' of a working product is extremely important. Agile can also be used for very long projects or exploratory projects.
Of course, it depends on the project which method is best to use. Don't be afraid to use both Agile and waterfall project methods within your portfolio of projects. If the expectations, the process and the results allow it, you can even choose to apply both methodologies within a project.
To download the insight, click here