There are hundreds and thousands of projects being executed by the organizations in the world simultaneously. The projects span across construction sectors, industrial engineering, sports or government projects like constructing dams, bridges etc. The projects are undertaken to bring a value to the organizations and increase in ROI.
The success and failures of projects are determined by the planning abilities of the organizations right from planning until a closure of the projects. By properly defining the goals, creating schedules with eyes on constraints and delivering per schedule will most likely steer the organizations towards success.
Choosing between Agile & Traditional Project Plans
We will look at how project management plans can be useful (for both traditional and agile world) and have been delivering values to thousands of enterprises across the world. This will be useful in knowing the differences between Agile and Traditional Management plans and what methodology should you use for your project.
Traditional Project Management Plan: -
PMBOK defines project management plan is a set of baseline plans and subsidiary plans.
1) Baselines for scope, schedule, and cost
- The scope will define the business requirements, deliverables, constraints, and WBS.
- The schedule will include timelines for activities and milestones.
- The cost will include budgets approved.
2) Management plans for scope, schedule, cost, quality, resources, communications, risk, and procurement
- Plans for scope, schedule and cost will help the project manager to compare the actuals (during execution) of scope, schedule and cost towards the baseline documents and take corrective actions
- The quality management plan will include measurement and control approaches.
- HR management is to organize and lead the project team as well as other resources by defining the roles and responsibilities appropriately.
- Risk management plan will include methods can be used to identify and evaluate risks and outline mitigation and contingency plans.
- Procurement Plan is used to identify require red procurement and purchasing from third-party vendors.
3) Requirement management plan
- The Requirements Management Plan is used to document the necessary information required to effectively manage project requirements from the definition, through traceability.
4) Change management plan
- Change management is a way of standardizing to efficiently manage all the changes with minimal impact on the product, processes, and organization.
5) Configuration management plan
- Configuration Planning will identify which all project items are configurable (CIs), which all items need formal change control and what would be the process of controlling changes to these items.
6) Process improvement plan
- The purpose of the process improvement plan is to document how the project team will analyze various processes, determine improvements and implement them.
Project Management Plan is the most important plan that is used to get relevant buying from stakeholders. While PMI’s PMBOK defines the project management plans to be sets of plans as described above, the level of details and the formats used in management plans should be tailored to fit based on the environmental factors of the organization and needs of the project.
Agile Project Management Plan: - Dwight D. Eisenhower rightly said, “Planning is essential, but plans are useless”
"Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the face." - Mike Tyson
If we cannot foresee everything this can happen during developing the project. Then, how could plans be effective?
Agile project management is an approach based on delivering requirements iteratively and incrementally throughout the project life cycle. At the core of this, Agile is the requirement to exhibit central values and behaviors of trust, flexibility, empowerment, and collaboration where traditional plan-driven project management set detailed plans on all accounts and detailed requirements at the start of the project.
Then, follow the plan and compare against actuals to take corrective actions. Agile starts work with some initial idea of what is required by a business called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and by delivering those features in shorter cycles. These frequent iterative methods are central characteristics of the Agile project and because of this way of working, collaborative relationships are established between the Stakeholders and the team.
There is a general misconception that Agile means less or no documentation. Agile requires just enough documentation for the team to understand and progress because the primary measure of the progress is always working software than exhaustive documentation. For e.g. If there is a project demand for documentation due to compliance and regulatory rules, then the documentation will be taken up during a sprint as user stories and will be completed.
The Agile project management consists of three roles as defined by the Scrum. These roles are the Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the Team.
1) Product Owner: - The Product Owner is responsible for the product vision and building the product right. A good product owner should prioritize requirements and is empowered to make decisions about the product.
2) Scrum Master: - The Scrum Master serves as a servant leader, helping team members work together cohesively, removing impediments to progress, facilitating meetings and discussions. Also, the Scrum Master keeps the Scrum team focussed towards the defined project goal, and ensures that the team is strictly adhering to the Scrum practices.
3) Team: - The Development team is one of the important roles in Agile project management. In Agile software development process, the team collaboratively decide who will work on which tasks, which engineering practices to be followed necessarily to achieve the project goals. Such teams are called the self-organized team in Agile.
Unlike traditional project management, where the project teams depend entirely on the project manager, Agile project teams self-distribute those responsibilities. The product scope and schedule is the responsibility of the product owner, quality becomes shared ownership and other responsibilities are distributed to the team.
Now, we have seen the comparison between the Traditional and Agile Project Management Plans. Be it traditional or Waterfall, plans and planning are essential sets of components for any projects. This set of artifacts are like navigation systems to the project managers that can be used to track the project delivery against the laid out plans and take course corrections.
There is no guarantee that projects will go according to the plans as there will always be uncertainties and risks that can disrupt the plans. Having a clear project management plan can reduce the risks greatly through mitigation plans and increase project success.