The world of project management has been increasingly adopting new methodologies and processes. This is to make sure that the project processes go as planned and complete milestones in time. One of these is the Agile Project Management and Traditional Project Management. Agile Project Management has been gaining quite some pace and has become a popular trend in project management long before the days of 2000s.
It is still a great alternative to traditional project management methodologies. Software development and IT teams have majorly adopted this methodology to ensure their processes go as planned. Before choosing one of the methodologies for project management, you must be sure of what is what and which one is the right fit for you. There are a few key differences between the two methodologies, and we will first go through the definitions of both and have a clear idea of which does what.
Agile Project Management
It is a more modern approach to PM and is quite popular in software development teams. It follows a non-linear process and has a concentration on teamwork, collaboration, and being flexible. It does not have a strict sequence of activities to follow. The agile PM has an iterative approach to tackling with project management tasks in which all the projects are time-boxed into little sprints. A sprint is a period of 2 – 4 weeks, and after every sprint, a product is released that is functioning the right way. In agile management, the focus on planning everything beforehand is decreased, and there is more emphasis on reviewing and checking the product after the end of each sprint.
After reviewing things like clients, feedback is incorporated to evolve and develop the products while new iterations are also delivered. Each iteration ends up with a release of a product and then comes the review and feedback, and again, the process repeats from iteration and so on. This continues until the project closes.
Traditional Project Management
Traditional PM has a more linear approach and is mostly known as the waterfall approach to managing the projects. This refers to the completion of all the processes and phases of the projects in sequential order. One phase begins, and the next start when the first one finishes. Otherwise, the next phase won’t begin. In this approach, every project has the same lifecycle. The mostly used phases of project management in Traditional Project Management are initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. All of these phases have a checklist of activities that must be completed before the next phases begin, and the flow is resumed. It is the waterfall approach because of this flow.
The Ten key Differences Between Agile PM And Traditional PM
1. Project Complexity
If you have complex projects, then following the agile methodology to get them done is the best way out. A complex project mostly will have many interconnected phases, and every stage might have a dependency connection on many of the other phases. This is the difference between a simple project where a single stage has a dependency on only a single other stage. Hence agile methods are best for dealing and completing large and complex kinds of projects.
As opposed to agile methodology, traditional methodologies for project management are best for small projects that are small and are not complex. Traditional methodologies are linear and suit best for simple projects that have each stage dependent on only one other stage. Abrupt changes or other complexities in the projects can force the teams to start all over again by going back to step one.
In agile methodologies of project management, the adaptability factor is quite high. As agile is not linear, it helps projects to be adaptable. Projects that are complex consist of many interconnected stages where a slight change in a single stage can affect many others. Hence in agile methodologies, the project managers can take risks that are calculated and timed. Due to high adaptability, there is room for taking risks.
This approach works best for the beliefs that if a phase is collected, it will not need any reviews again. Hence it is not adaptable to abrupt changes in the work plan. On the chance that an unexpected requirement comes ahead or any change is needed that the traditional project management methodology fails to adapt accordingly for new changes. In this case, the only choice that the project managers have is to start all over again. And in this process, a huge loss of effort and time should be born.
3. Scope For Feedback And Changes
In agile methodologies, there is a scope of change and feedback. It is a flexible process and hence allows a constant supply of feedback that can assist in providing a better output that in the fixed time of project deliverables. The flexibility factor is the main reason why project management teams happen to choose Agile project management for their projects. This allows developers to work with agile to respond to customer queries in a fast fashion because they are only tackling small parts of the project at one time. And during the whole process, the customer keeps validating each iteration and sprints before finalizing the whole project output.
Traditional project management has each project with very clear and detailed requirements at the start of the project. It fails to deal with big changes or customer feedback that might consist of slight changes in the entire process. In Traditional methodologies, the budget and time are the fixed quantities and can accept changes very rarely.
Agile methodology has nothing hidden, and everything is transparent and out there. The clients and those who are decision-makers are actively present in all the phases of project completion, i.e. initiation, planning, review, and also in the testing part of the product. This methodology helps the team members to be able to view the progress of the project right from the start to the end. This level of transparency plays an important role in making a healthy work environment.
Traditional project management is the one in which project managers are the only ones that are fully involved in the process of completing every phase of the project. They are the only ones who are destined to make changes in the project, and no other person, either client or stakeholders are allowed to make changes in the project.
In agile methodology, every project member holds the shares to the ownership of the project. Every one of them has an active role in the completion of the phases or sprints of the project, all in a decided time. Everyone involved in the project, while using an agile methodology to get done with it, can see the progress of the project from start to end.
In traditional project management, the ownership of the project is all in the hands of the project manager. In this, the customers are involved in the planning phase only, and this involvement ends in this phase, and right after the execution process starts, their involvement is found nowhere.
6. Project Scope
Changes in the scope can be made well in advance over time and also while staying in the budget. Agile works a lot better, even if the scope is not properly defined in the start as requirements can be added with time. The agile method has small or mid-sized teams for project management that work in high coordination with each other. To define the scope in each step, customers or clients are included throughout the project to suggest changes and updates.
This methodology works successfully if the scope of the project is well known at the start of the project. The contract terms in traditional methodology limit the changes that can be made. This methodology has a huge team that also decreases the coordination among them while executing the traditional project management methodologies. To check the products of projects, customers are only contacted once the milestone is achieved and not before that.
7. Feature Prioritization
In agile project management, the features are prioritized. All of the issues are resolved in advance, and according to the priorities. This helps in increasing the funding efficiency and helps excluding any possibility of failures. Agile projects are also better looking as they are feasible in executing the processes on each phase.
In traditional project management, the features aren’t prioritized. And this leads to either a full success or a complete failure and nothing in between. The traditional methods do not depend on the feasibility hence provided.
8. Individual Approach To Testing
In agile project management, the testing phase keeps happening concurrently with the phases of programming or at least within the same iteration as that of programming. This helps in being able to detect the flaws and out-of-scope-requirements to be detected early and corrected within the budget.
While in traditional project management, the testing phase comes after the completion of the Build phase. Due to this, once the build ends the testing, if it finds out some defects in the final product, then fixing the final product takes in even more time and more budget as the process is started all over again from the initial phases.
9. Change In Focus Point
The agile methodology has a strict focus on satisfying the end-user with the final product and also bring in changes according to the changes requested by the customers. This kind of project management fulfills the purpose of building the product and reaching milestones as it helps satisfy the customers.
In the traditional methodology of project management, the focus is only on completing the project development in any way possible. It does not pay much focus on satisfying the end-user and does not also incorporate any changes or updates suggested by the end-user. A lesser rate of customer satisfaction is a factor most disliked by the team members who use this process.
Agile methodology is known as a highly collaborative software development process that helps in bringing the team to a better team input and an increased rate of problem-solving. This saves time and helps the team members to focus more on what is necessary rather than wasting time on solving the issues once the project is completed.
While the traditional methodology is regarded as a stringent process involving sequences, these sequences are followed strictly, and none of them is repeated in any way. The flow is maintained, and to go through any of the steps again, the whole set of phases is repeated. The time that goes into waste here also takes the milestone achievement to an increased number of days.
These were some of the key differences in Agile project management and Traditional project management. Form these key differences, and it is evident that the traditional methodology is losing its grasp over the industry, and more and more project managers are tended towards using agile project management for the completion of their projects. The linear approach of the traditional project management makes it more time consuming and also heavy on the budget, whereas agile is fast and also cost-saving. The scrum project management is also a technique used for completing phases of projects.
Agile and scrum are both favorable options for choosing a methodology for the completion of a project. Agile testing helps in keeping the flaws and anomalies detected way ahead of time and also helped the project managers to fix them. The worst thing that the project managers complained about traditional methodology was that it wasted a lot of time, there was trouble in managing the requirements, adapting to the changing needs, expensive for clients, and the end product was not also satisfying for the clients. Hence the agile project management methodology is more favorable in getting the project phases done in little time and budget needs.