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Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project Management

In this fast-moving world, project management has become one of the most important pillars that are helping businesses run without any glitch in their processes. Both small- and large-scale organizations around the world depend on project management systems to deliver their products/services successfully. Whether it is team workflow management or timing, these tools help to ensure that the processes flow in a hassle-free manner while achieving the desired goals. Despite the presence of different project management approaches, Agile is considered as one of the most practical and flexible software development mechanisms that exist today. It is capable of executing a variety of tasks. Let us find out what sets it apart from others. Here’s a brief comparison of Agile management and traditional project management software:                                                                                                                    Traditional vs Agile Project Management Overview of Agile and Traditional Project Management What is Traditional Project Management? The traditional Project Management (waterfall) approach is linear where all the phases of a process occur in sequence. Its concept depends on predictable tools and experience. Each and every project follows the same life cycle which includes the stages such as feasibility, planning, designing, building, testing, production, and support, as shown in the figure above.    The entire project is planned upfront without any scope for changing requirements. This approach assumes that time and cost are variables and requirements are fixed. The rigidity of this method is the reason why it is not meant for large projects and leaves no scope for changing the requirements once the project development starts. What is Agile Project Management? When a traditional system focuses on upfront planning where factors like cost, scope, and time are given importance, Agile management gives prominence to teamwork, customer collaboration, and flexibility. It is an iterative approach that focuses more on incorporating customer feedback and continuous releases with every iteration of a software development project. The basic concept behind Agile software development is that it delves into evolving changes and collaborative effort to bring out results rather than a predefined process. Adaptive planning is perhaps the top feature of Agile and one that makes it a favorite among project managers, worldwide. Scrum and Kanban are two of the most widely used Agile frameworks. They are very well known for encouraging decision-making and preventing time consumption on variables that are bound to change. It stresses customer satisfaction and uses available teams to fast-track software development at every stage. The table below shows the major differences between Agile project management and traditional project management.                                                                                Table: Agile project management vs traditional project management   Why is Agile preferred over traditional project management? Agile is preferred by most developers and managers because of a variety of reasons. Let’s have a look at the most common ones: 1. Project complexity Traditional: This method is the best fit for small or less complex projects as it follows a linear approach. Sudden changes in the project or any other complexities can block the entire process and force the team to go back to step one and start all over again. Agile: This is the best methodology to follow in case of complex projects. A complex project may have various interconnected phases and each stage may be dependent on many others rather than a single one as in simple projects. So, Agile methods are preferred for large and complex projects. 2. Adaptability Traditional: This approach works with a belief that once a phase is done, it will not be reviewed again. So, it is not adaptable to rapid changes in the work plan. If any unexpected requirement arises or any variation is needed, the traditional approach fails to adapt to new changes. The only choice is to start from the very beginning once again. This wastes a lot of effort and time in the process. Agile: The adaptability factor is very high in this methodology since it is not linear. Complex projects consist of several interconnected stages, where a change in one stage can cause an effect on another. Project managers can take calculated risks in such scenarios, as there is a chance of high adaptability. 3. Scope for feedback and changes Traditional Each and every process is clearly detailed and defined at the start of the project in the traditional approach. It cannot deal with any big change or feedback that might require a change in the process. Mostly, the project delivery time and budget are fixed and allows change very rarely. Agile There is a high acceptance for feedback and change in this method. The process is very flexible and allows constant feedback that can help provide a better output within the fixed project delivery time. The main reason why managers or developers choose Agile is for the flexibility it offers. Developers working with Agile management are able to respond to customer requests quickly as they are only addressing small parts of the project at a time and the customer validates each iteration or sprint before finalizing. Important characteristics of Agile Below are some key features of Agile project management: Breaks project into parts Agile divides a project into parts (called iterations) where each release is sent to the customer after every single iteration. Additionally, the success of the project can be easily foreseen through the success of these iterations. This removes the need for upfront planning completely. Self-organized As mentioned above, Agile uses a parallel mode of management. Employees of a company are not managed by a central line of control, but by groups. For example, in Agile, there may be eight teams working on a single project. Each team is managed by itself without external guidance. The teams interact with each other for project discussion and process linking as they are otherwise not self-sufficient. Generally speaking, an Agile project consists of three parts: The product owner – the expert on the project (for which the product is being developed) and also the main person who oversees the projects  The scrum master – this person manages the process involved in Agile. He/she looks after the iterations and their completion  The team – individuals who form the backbone of any scrum team or project. Customer Engagement In Agile, customer engagement is at the very top. The customer is regarded highly in its frameworks as after every iteration, feedback is generated and acted upon. Overall, Agile is clearly the winner among project management systems. When compared with other traditional approaches, Agile’s features come to the fore and reiterate why it is one of the top software used by companies globally. Can Agile Coexist with Other Approaches? This is a question asked by many project managers and has created a division of opinions among experts. It is possible for Agile to coexist with traditional project management systems, however caution has to be exercised. For example, using two different approaches on the same project can be counter-productive. As Agile and many other frameworks are totally antagonistic to each other, the projects may go for a toss.    Therefore, it is best to use Agile along with other non-traditional project management methodologies like Lean to avoid any conflict. Agile vs Traditional- Adoption Growth According to a recent online survey of 601 IT and development professionals, it is proved that Agile is the new typical formula for project success. The majority of projects and development teams are now adopting this methodology, while the traditional waterfall approaches have many flaws.    Traditional organizations vs. #Agile organizations #SALC16 pic.twitter.com/bBgxkQB1fI — Scrum Alliance (@ScrumAlliance) January 20, 2016 Agile was first introduced about 15 years ago as a substitute for traditional software development approaches. Many people considered it challenging to implement traditional approach practices. Agile adopters stated that this new style of software development improved team collaboration and was more customer centric.  Though Agile methodologies were present more than a decade ago, majority of organizations have adopted the practice only in the last 5 years. Moreover, the survey reported that Agile adoption saw an inflection point between the year 2009-2010. As shown in the above figure, Agile adoption seems to have slow incremental growth till 2008 and then its growth was accelerated after gaining traction in the market. Reasons for the transition to Agile Most of the organizations that transitioned from traditional to Agile project management have listed the following reasons: Improves collaboration between teams- 54% Enhances the quality level of software in organizations- 52% Results in enhanced customer satisfaction- 49% Speeds time to market- 43% Reduces development cost- 42% The Verdict In traditional software development, the customer is involved only at the start of the development process. Hence, by the time, the project reaches its culmination, a lot of errors and unnecessary expenditure would have happened.   Since Agile software development allows the customer to get involved at each stage, improvisations can be made then and there. This helps us in saving cost. Therefore, Agile project management is the real deal. It not only allows greater team collaboration but also paves way for superior results due to its flexibility.

Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project Management

10K
  • by Kira Carr
  • 16th Aug, 2017
  • Last updated on 19th Apr, 2021
  • 9 mins read
Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project Management

In this fast-moving world, project management has become one of the most important pillars that are helping businesses run without any glitch in their processes. Both small- and large-scale organizations around the world depend on project management systems to deliver their products/services successfully. Whether it is team workflow management or timing, these tools help to ensure that the processes flow in a hassle-free manner while achieving the desired goals.

Despite the presence of different project management approaches, Agile is considered as one of the most practical and flexible software development mechanisms that exist today. It is capable of executing a variety of tasks. Let us find out what sets it apart from others.

Here’s a brief comparison of Agile management and traditional project management software:

brief comparison of Agile management and traditional project management software
                                                                                                                   Traditional vs Agile Project Management

Overview of Agile and Traditional Project Management

What is Traditional Project Management?

The traditional Project Management (waterfall) approach is linear where all the phases of a process occur in sequence. Its concept depends on predictable tools and experience. Each and every project follows the same life cycle which includes the stages such as feasibility, planning, designing, building, testing, production, and support, as shown in the figure above. 
 
The entire project is planned upfront without any scope for changing requirements. This approach assumes that time and cost are variables and requirements are fixed. The rigidity of this method is the reason why it is not meant for large projects and leaves no scope for changing the requirements once the project development starts.

What is Agile Project Management?

When a traditional system focuses on upfront planning where factors like cost, scope, and time are given importance, Agile management gives prominence to teamwork, customer collaboration, and flexibility. It is an iterative approach that focuses more on incorporating customer feedback and continuous releases with every iteration of a software development project.

The basic concept behind Agile software development is that it delves into evolving changes and collaborative effort to bring out results rather than a predefined process. Adaptive planning is perhaps the top feature of Agile and one that makes it a favorite among project managers, worldwide.

Scrum and Kanban are two of the most widely used Agile frameworks. They are very well known for encouraging decision-making and preventing time consumption on variables that are bound to change. It stresses customer satisfaction and uses available teams to fast-track software development at every stage.


The table below shows the major differences between Agile project management and traditional project management.

differences between Agile project management and traditional project management
                                                                               Table: Agile project management vs traditional project management
 

Why is Agile preferred over traditional project management?

Agile is preferred by most developers and managers because of a variety of reasons. Let’s have a look at the most common ones:

Non Agile

1. Project complexity

Traditional:
This method is the best fit for small or less complex projects as it follows a linear approach. Sudden changes in the project or any other complexities can block the entire process and force the team to go back to step one and start all over again.

Agile:
This is the best methodology to follow in case of complex projects. A complex project may have various interconnected phases and each stage may be dependent on many others rather than a single one as in simple projects. So, Agile methods are preferred for large and complex projects.

2. Adaptability

Traditional:
This approach works with a belief that once a phase is done, it will not be reviewed again. So, it is not adaptable to rapid changes in the work plan. If any unexpected requirement arises or any variation is needed, the traditional approach fails to adapt to new changes. The only choice is to start from the very beginning once again. This wastes a lot of effort and time in the process.

Agile:
The adaptability factor is very high in this methodology since it is not linear. Complex projects consist of several interconnected stages, where a change in one stage can cause an effect on another. Project managers can take calculated risks in such scenarios, as there is a chance of high adaptability.

3. Scope for feedback and changes

Traditional
Each and every process is clearly detailed and defined at the start of the project in the traditional approach. It cannot deal with any big change or feedback that might require a change in the process. Mostly, the project delivery time and budget are fixed and allows change very rarely.

Agile
There is a high acceptance for feedback and change in this method. The process is very flexible and allows constant feedback that can help provide a better output within the fixed project delivery time.

The main reason why managers or developers choose Agile is for the flexibility it offers. Developers working with Agile management are able to respond to customer requests quickly as they are only addressing small parts of the project at a time and the customer validates each iteration or sprint before finalizing.



Important characteristics of Agile

Below are some key features of Agile project management:

Breaks project into parts

Agile divides a project into parts (called iterations) where each release is sent to the customer after every single iteration. Additionally, the success of the project can be easily foreseen through the success of these iterations. This removes the need for upfront planning completely.

Self-organized

As mentioned above, Agile uses a parallel mode of management. Employees of a company are not managed by a central line of control, but by groups. For example, in Agile, there may be eight teams working on a single project. Each team is managed by itself without external guidance. The teams interact with each other for project discussion and process linking as they are otherwise not self-sufficient.

Generally speaking, an Agile project consists of three parts:

  • The product owner – the expert on the project (for which the product is being developed) and also the main person who oversees the projects 
  • The scrum master – this person manages the process involved in Agile. He/she looks after the iterations and their completion 
  • The team – individuals who form the backbone of any scrum team or project.

Customer Engagement

In Agile, customer engagement is at the very top. The customer is regarded highly in its frameworks as after every iteration, feedback is generated and acted upon.

Overall, Agile is clearly the winner among project management systems. When compared with other traditional approaches, Agile’s features come to the fore and reiterate why it is one of the top software used by companies globally.

Can Agile Coexist with Other Approaches?

This is a question asked by many project managers and has created a division of opinions among experts. It is possible for Agile to coexist with traditional project management systems, however caution has to be exercised. For example, using two different approaches on the same project can be counter-productive. As Agile and many other frameworks are totally antagonistic to each other, the projects may go for a toss. 
 
Therefore, it is best to use Agile along with other non-traditional project management methodologies like Lean to avoid any conflict.

Agile vs Traditional- Adoption Growth According to a recent online survey of 601 IT and development professionals, it is proved that Agile is the new typical formula for project success. The majority of projects and development teams are now adopting this methodology, while the traditional waterfall approaches have many flaws. 
 

Agile was first introduced about 15 years ago as a substitute for traditional software development approaches. Many people considered it challenging to implement traditional approach practices. Agile adopters stated that this new style of software development improved team collaboration and was more customer centric. 

Agile usage graph
Though Agile methodologies were present more than a decade ago, majority of organizations have adopted the practice only in the last 5 years. Moreover, the survey reported that Agile adoption saw an inflection point between the year 2009-2010. As shown in the above figure, Agile adoption seems to have slow incremental growth till 2008 and then its growth was accelerated after gaining traction in the market.

Reasons for the transition to Agile

Most of the organizations that transitioned from traditional to Agile project management have listed the following reasons:

  • Improves collaboration between teams- 54%
  • Enhances the quality level of software in organizations- 52%
  • Results in enhanced customer satisfaction- 49%
  • Speeds time to market- 43%
  • Reduces development cost- 42%

The Verdict

In traditional software development, the customer is involved only at the start of the development process. Hence, by the time, the project reaches its culmination, a lot of errors and unnecessary expenditure would have happened.  

Since Agile software development allows the customer to get involved at each stage, improvisations can be made then and there. This helps us in saving cost. Therefore, Agile project management is the real deal. It not only allows greater team collaboration but also paves way for superior results due to its flexibility.

Kira

Kira Carr

Blog Author

Kira Carr is wedded to her job as a part-time editor at WriteMyPaper123. She creates many amazing posts regarding helpful techniques & strategies for students. This girl is an interpreter by education. She goes mad of reading British modern literature.
 

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3 comments

Steffan 07 Aug 2018

Thank you for this. I found it extremely helpful.

Loise N. Angula 10 Aug 2018

Fruitful and interesting topic

kyle 26 Nov 2018

Agile is on the rise because it's flexible and can adapt to changes easily. More companies are using it or part of it. Tools are becoming agile to like Proggio etc. but agile requires highly skilled members that is why learning and training is key.

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Organizations hire Certified Team Coach (CTC) to train, coach, mentor, remove obstacles, and lead the team to leverage value delivery, team collaboration, and continuous development across multiple teams. Prerequisites to grab CTC certificationAn active Certified Scrum Professional certification 1,000 hours of Agile coaching experience in the last 2 years without considering your role as Scrum MasterCoaching experience in at least 2 organizations Must be actively participated in a minimum of 5 Agile eventsPractical experience of Scrum implementation and coaching experience in Agile and Scrum framework.What next after CTC certification?Certified Team Coaches (CTCs) can initiate coaching, mentoring, and training the professionals on Agile and Scrum processes once they earn CTC certification. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.      4. Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)Scrum Alliance offer only one trainer-centric certification in the form of Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST) certification. This is the most sought-after certification and those who wish to transform the working way of the teams can be a part of this training. Prerequisites to grab CST certificationTo become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), you need to have:Detailed knowledge of the Scrum concepts, practices, and principlesAn active Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) certification from Scrum AllianceHands-on experience in implementing the Scrum framework as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Development team memberTeaching experience in partnership with any Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or independently-Taught to at least 100 candidatesHosted at least 10 or more days ScrumMaster training sessions Respective certifications in order to train professionals on the courses (e.g. if want to train on CSPO, an individual should hold an active CSPO certification.  What next after CST certification?As a CST, you can teach Scrum to the students who want to work in a Scrum environment. Scrum Alliance considers CST as an active member in the Scrum community who actively takes part in the events and user groups, blogging, and in online discussions.    5. Certified Enterprise Coach℠ (CEC):The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) exhibits their years of experience in Scrum transformations at an enterprise level. They also show their in-depth understanding of implementing Scrum practices and principles. The CECs are skilled at Scrum (both theoretically and practically) and guide organizations during their Agile transformation journey.Prerequisites to grab CEC certificationThe individuals aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:Knowledge of Scrum practices, proven leadership, and coaching skills An active CSP-SM™ or CSP-PO™ or CSP® certification Working experience in Scrum team rolesCoaching experience in at least three organizations2,000 hours over the past 3 years of work experience as a Coach.What next after CEC certification?Being a CEC certified, an individual can help organizations to become an Agile organization using the Scrum framework to transform the world of work. Also, they can recommend up to 50 individuals yearly for whom they have given 25-hours of in-person training or small group training to achieve Certified ScrumMaster® and Certified Scrum Product Owner® certifications. In this way, a CTC certified can contribute to creating a healthy environment of the organizations by coaching the team members on Scrum.   6. Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)The Product Owner (PO) creates the product vision, prioritize the product backlog, and help the team in delivering what customers intuitively looking for. The CSPO®  is the certification for the Product Owners that will help an individual in handling the business side of the project. Prerequisites to grab CSPO® certificationThere is no prerequisite to attend  CSPO® training. However, in order to earn this certification, an individual need to attend 2-days of CSPO® course taught by Certified Scrum Trainer®  (CST). What next after CSPO® certification?After taking CSPO certification, you can go for advanced-level certification of CSPO which is an Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO®) course from Scrum Alliance. 7. Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD®)The  CSD® certification proves that an individual has skills of building the software using Scrum as a part of the Scrum team. With CSD® , you can strengthen your technical skills in Agile software development. Prerequisites to grab CSD® certificationAny programmer (having coding knowledge) can attend CSD® course. To achieve this, an individual needs to undergo at least 5-days of the formal CSD training course by a Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor. In addition to this, the CSD® certification offers the privilege to the CSM certified candidates. They can skip the first 2 days and directly join from the 3rd day of the technical training.What next after CSD® certification?After CSD® certification, an individual can level-up his/her skills with Certified Scrum Professional® for Developers (CSP- D) certification. The CSP certification help teams to constantly improve the ways of implementing Agile and Scrum practices and principles.   8. ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC) CertificationICP-ACC certification in Agile Coaching certification aims to achieve an Agile mindset. After this certification, an individual can easily be able to differentiate between the facilitation, mentoring, professional coaching and teaching and will get to learn the skills like team collaboration and conflict resolution to form a healthy organizational environment.Prerequisites to grab ICP-ACC certificationAn individual with CSM certification and 2-3 years of working experience as a Scrum Master, is eligible to achieve ICP-ACC certification training. What next after ICP ACC certification?Being a certified Agile Coach, you can play the role of the mentor to the Agile team by facilitating Agile practices and empowering teams to reach their goals. More specifically, an Agile Coach can is a guide to the team members who help the team in Agile adoption. Career Roles of a Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master is the heart of the Scrum process who plays a diverse set of roles in the team. Let's have a glimpse of the various roles that Scrum Master can play after the CSM certification:Agile CoachProduct OwnerManager SAFe Scrum MasterConcluding ThoughtsThe Scrum Master role should not be an end itself. There is always a scope of consistent improvement. So, for all the Scrum Masters, ‘What’s your next career path?’ Being a Scrum Master, try not to keep yourself restricted to limited skills. Try to advance your Scrum skills always by taking more advanced Scrum certifications.    So, are you ready to take the plunge with other advanced Scrum certifications after earning CSM certification?  
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The Career Path of a Certified Scrum Master: Found...

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