Several approaches including Traditional Project Management (TPM) and agile practices are adopted when it comes to project management. TPM methods have continued to dominate the field of project management for years. However, agile practices can be helpful in offering alternatives that have considerable flexibilities during the process of developing a project. This is because the technique employed in the agile method does not follow sequential frameworks that present rigidity to a process. Instead, it involves the design of basic projects without necessarily the presence of outlines with predetermined courses of actions (Charvat, 2008).
The Waterfall method in Traditional Project Management in relation to the design and analysis of systems was the initially established approach to building systems. This approach was first described as the Waterfall Development Methodology and then it obtained support within a short time from various project managers. This happened because this method offered a systematic and logical flow of events from the commencement of a project through to its completion (Cobb, 2015). Sources provide different information and views with regard to the specific procedure followed during the execution of the Waterfall process. However, the primary and critical underlying steps and logic are easily identified upon interpretation. The use of technique often happens in project development where linear and systematic guidelines are used in moving a project forward.
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The movement of the project from one step to the other takes place in a downward direction that resembles that of a waterfall hence it is described as such. The adoption of the waterfall technique in the management of a typical project involves certain distinct phases, which include a nalysing and defining the project with the aim of studying and understanding the desired objectives of the project. The waterfall method, by its very nature, presents some levels of rigidity. This is because of the difficulties associated with making adjustments or correction of errors in a previous phase once the project has moved to the nest phase. As such, there might be the need to begin the whole process again upon discovery of major problems or errors (Cobb, 2015).
Some popular agile practices in project management include crystal, scrum, lean development and adaptive development among others. In agile approaches, designers often work according to small modules where the priorities of the project are considered for testing before moving on with other modules. In the case of scrum approach, there are basic roles that are often set up where three categories of people are involved. They include the owner of the project, the master of the scrum and a team comprising of developers. In this case, the owner of the project has the responsibility of project definition, the master of the scum assumes a role similar to that of a coach and the team of developers has a responsibility to determine ways of meeting goals and objectives established by the owner of the project ( Charvat, 2008).
This approach allows the team of developers to function in close proximity as a way of fostering the evolution of a rapid system. Scrum involves an agile, incremental and iterative process of project development that holds the assumption that chaos and changes are present through the whole life-circle of a project and aims at offering solutions to such changes and chaos. The design of this approach attempts to enhance the focus, transparency, clarity and energy in the process of project development. In this common approach in agile project management, tasks are structured in the form of cycles known as sprints and the key focus is always to end up with a successfully completed project (Cobb, 2015).
In traditional project management, teams operate and function under the control of a tight and rigid management schedule. This feature presents one of the weaknesses associated with method since it is not flexible enough to accommodate any eventualities that may arise in the course of project development. Comparatively, the agile approach involves teams that are self-controlled and have the freedom deliverables of their choice as long as they remain within the agreed rules and requirements (Charvat, 2008).
One of the strengths of the traditional project management method is that it involves the identification of project requirements way before the commencement of the project. As such, the project owners and other stakeholders are able to understand the detail of the project. On the other hand, the project requirements in agile project management approaches are developed in the course of the process when the project has already commenced. Thus, it is a weakness on the part of agile methods since there is a higher likelihood that resulting project may not be the exact one envisaged and expected at the outset (Charvat, 2008).
In traditional project management, testing and obtaining feedback from user happens towards the completion of the project when most design work and implementation has already taken place. This could lead to the emergence of problems associated with complex and expensive once the release is done. In comparison, the agile approach to project management allows for testing and obtaining of feedback from the use on constantly during the process of project development thus modifications and adjustments can be made easily and are less expensive. However, in some cases, there may be difficulties in performing constant testing if users are not adequately involved (Cobb, 2015).
Lack of constant assessment of the progress of the project by the relevant in traditional project management might result in a project that becomes irrelevant upon completion due to changes in needs and preferences. This is different when it comes to agile project management methods since major stakeholders are often involved in a constant assessment of the direction and scope of the project. In that regard, their changing needs are accommodated and they become fully aware of the outcome of the final project (Cobb, 2015).
Selection of an appropriate approach for adoption in a given project largely depends on the nature of the project and its unique requirements or specifications. This is because the impacts presented by either the Agile of the TPM approach to a given project may be positive of negative. As such, TPM approaches will end up making a stronger or a better option for some projects. These projects include the ones where urgency is not a priority and there is no room for flexibilities or changes done to the original schedule of operations. In contrast, the kind of projects that would be appropriate for the agile approaches are the ones that require performance within urgent deadlines. Such projects call for high levels of uniqueness, complexity, and aggressiveness (Charvat, 2008).
Different types of project will require different approaches to project management. For example, the project that involves building a new data centre for an international business will require certain considerations and rational before arriving at a suitable choice or selection (Charvat, 2008). The following rationale will inform the decision to select the most appropriate approach for the example described above:
Requirements: The requirements in this project are clear with a low rate of changes and modification
Users: Being an international centre, the users are not necessarily involved in the design
Size: It is a big project
Organizational support: The support required in this project are those of the processesa that are already existing
Criticality: Failure of the system could result in serious consequences
Project plan: The plan involved is liner
In that regard, the most appropriate approach is the waterfall approach executed in district phases. During the initial phase, brainstorming happens where the scope and the purpose of the projects clearly defined. Primary project designing follows the first phase. In this phase, formulation of basic software starts by taking place on paper. The detailed technical design is done upon the approval of the primary project design. This phase involves the coming up with a design having elaborate more details and involves the mapping out of functions and placement of engineering units. Implementation through the construction of the data storage centre is the phase that involves the writing of the program managing the data centre and actual coding takes place here. Testing is the phase that follows and it involves examining the functionality of the written program while identifying and correcting existing errors in the process. The next phase is that of integration where the new package is brought together for use upon the completion of a successful testing exercise. Maintenance and management form the final phase where there is the regular upkeep of the program to ensure that its performance continues as desired ( Cobb, 2015).
In conclusion, a comparison between Traditional Project Management (TPM) methods and agile practices is necessary for consideration when it comes to making decisions regarding the selection of an appropriate approach for various projects. The comparison is also important since it enlightens the decision makers about the benefits and limitations associated with the two approaches when used in particular projects.
Charvat, J. (2008). Project management methodologies: Selecting, implementing, and Supporting methodologies and processes for projects . Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Cobb, C. G. (2015). The project manager's guide to mastering agile: Principles and practices for an adaptive approach . Wiley