The Art of Project Management (and a Little Bit of Science): Combining Agile and Waterfall Methodologies for Successful PM - Key Summary/Takeaway

By Brian Balistreri posted 09-06-2023 21:43


Please enjoy this quick summary of ILTACON session The Art of Project Management (and a Little Bit of Science): Combining Agile and Waterfall Methodologies for Successful PM”  by Parita Kanevskiy, Leader of Project Management Office (PMO), Eversheds-Sutherland.

  1. What is Waterfall methodology
    1. Phase based – Planning at the beginning, product delivered at the end.
    2. Waterfall is not flexible, biggest change in last 15 - 20 years is to the need to get closer to end user via more interaction.
  2. What is Agile
    1. Iterative, constant improvement... Happened first with software development.
    2. Flexible as it allows for quick feedback from stakeholders allowing for iterative work delivery.
    3. Folks say that they are “agile” with a little “a” by not having a plan.. This is not Agile!
    4. Agile is having a plan that is being revised based on constant communication with stakeholders.
  3. Hybrid methodology still needs a defined process.
  4. When good projects go wrong: Stories shared  
    1. Large Microsoft Dynamics, 1 year project using waterfall
      1. Team delivered based on the requirements gathered. At the end, lawyers said, “this is what we asked for but it’s not what we wanted”. 
      2. Lessons learned: Check-in frequently. Get feedback and evolve requirements and product.
    2. Large bank implementation. Lots of money was spent training IT department on Agile methodology.
      1. Why - C-level wanted new talent.. Culture was stale so they introduced Agile.
      2. Lesson learned: Only IT was trained. None of the business wanted to meet often to discuss requirements. Agile is not successful if the whole organization is not behind it. 
    3. Hybrid project example
      1. Detailed business requirements were not gathered… instead user stories were created that provided just enough information for developer to start working on the project. Developers iterated on the work by demoing and gathering feedback. There was a budget and a timeline
      2. Lesson learned: Use different approaches over the course of the project, depending on the phase of the project
  5. Questions to ask to figure out which methodology to use
    1. Can phases be done in parallel?
    2. Does the client have a general idea of what they want?
    3. Does the client want to be engaged?
    4. Which methodology is better for remote teams vs. collocated teams?
    5. What are the channels of communication? How will the team build trust?
  6. Conclusion: Project managers are change agents. Ensure the right methodology is selected and has backing of leadership.