Aligning Hybrid Projects – The Agile Approach

Just a few weeks ago, we discussed how waterfall and Agile projects can work together.

This is vital information, because even in the best of circumstances, no organization is going to be able to handle every single project via strictly Agile methodologies all the time. Even if they tried to do so, it’s not the most effective method of handling every project.

We also discussed how to decide which methods were best for various projects, since there are some basic preliminary factors that have been proven to favor one method over another when a hybrid project isn’t the best option.

So, now let’s explore how to efficiently align hybrid projects when they are the best option.

Merging Methodologies

First of all, it’s important to have a solid foundational understanding of both the Agile and the traditional methodologies so that the most effective aspects of each can be isolated and utilized when they are merged.

For example, for projects that are fairly standardized and have been successfully completed numerous times in the past, a traditional waterfall method is often most cost effective. However, there are some aspects of the Agile-based iterative workflow that may introduce efficiencies and faster ROI into the project than a waterfall project would attain on its own.

Conversely, it’s usually best to handle projects with high levels of uncertainty using Agile methods since the quick turnaround and ability to adjust on the fly will help mitigate risk as the project progresses. But even in these cases, an initial detailed planning stage (which usually precedes a waterfall project) may be effective in mitigating risk as well, so a combination could provide the best course to success.

The key is to understand the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each methodology and to remain open to merging them in various ways to create the best solution for each unique project.

Another powerful option is to approach a waterfall process using Agile methodologies. In other words, break up the stages of a waterfall project into sprints and work them in an Agile way. By doing so, a traditionally planned waterfall project can potentially be completed faster and more efficiently.

Merging Tools

Many specialized software tools have been developed for use in managing Agile projects and teams, and these tools can often be integrated with current project management software that is already in use to manage waterfall projects.

With completely different deliverables and methods of managing work, it would be difficult for one tool to adequately handle the complete project management workload for both types of projects or a hybrid of the two.

But through smart integrations, these tools can work together to maintain a solid handle on every aspect of the hybrid project from conception to successful completion.

Guidance for Hybrid Projects

Melding the worlds of waterfall and Agile is not a simple proposition.

That’s why so many companies have sought out guidance and direction from cPrime when the need arises. If you’re looking down the barrel of a hybrid project, you may be interested in taking our Agile in a Waterfall World online training course.

Or, we’d be happy to provide more customized assistance via our RAGE program for Agile governance.