Project management in 160 characters is: the application of knowledge, skills, methodologies, and tools to carry out project-related activities that will lead to the completion of the project’s goals.
In the world of Project Management, there are two approaches that can be taken to bring your project to the desired end state. Each approach will determine when and how to apply all of the skills, knowledge and tools. And even though both of these methods originally come from the software development area, we can user their principles in a wide range of businesses and industries.
First we have the Waterfall method:
Imagine dividing your project in different stages, or chapters. Only once a stage is completed, you will be able to move on to the next one.
Hence why this approach is called Waterfall, because the completion of the project relies on a linear and downward motion.
The typical stages used in the Waterfall method are:
1. Study and Analysis of the project + definition of the goal
2. Basic project rollout plan
3. Technical and detailed rollout plan
4. Construction and Implementation of the plan
7. Management and Maintenance
The downside about this method is its rigidity. If a mistake is made during one of the early stages, and only discovered at a later point, going back to make corrections and adjustments can be extremely hard.
Second, the Agile method:
As the name well suggest, this approach is all about flexibility. It does not require a sequential framework, unlike the Waterfall method. Instead, it utilizes a basic project design to provide some sense of direction. Based on the design, small modules of work -often referred to as sprints –, lead the way towards the project’s completion.
The Agile method’s objective is to check and test that each sprint is in line with the project’s requirements and its desired end-state, before moving on to the next sprint.
This is beneficial for the following reasons:
– Making adjustments to the implementation as you go will be easier.
– You will ensures that the Client is satisfied with the direction being followed at every sprint.
– It reduces the chances of spotting significant mistakes when it’s already too late.
Both approaches are great options to incorporate a framework, or structure, over a project development plan. Yet, they do count with visible differences.
The Waterfall method is rigid and makes mistakes hard to spot in a timely manner. However, it gives a more accurate and defined overview of budgets and deadline.
The Agile method provides flexibility in design and execution. However, because budgets and deadlines are not strictly set, goals can become too vague.
So, which method will you be going for?