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Project Management: Choosing Agile or Waterfall for your project to deliver client satisfaction?

Project Management: Choosing Agile or Waterfall for your project to deliver client satisfaction?

Presentation and panel discussion – Event summary 24 June 2021

Introduction

Presentation Alexandre Claus & Lesley Price – Choosing Agile or Waterfall for your project to deliver client satisfaction?

WHY are QRP held this event: we like to give value to our clients but also to experts in the market , so we invited a mix of clients and non-clients to listen to our panel discussion. The thing that connects you all is a curiosity for Agility.

Agile is a key topic for QRP , the demand for agile experience and certifications is now widespread in job descriptions, as more and more organisations – in all industry sectors, public and private – turn to agile methods and frameworks to improve the success of their projects. Agile is a very broad and general term: there are many methods and frameworks that fall under this umbrella term, and it is often difficult to recognize which one might meet the needs of professionals and organisations. Alexandre and Lesley will share with us during 45 minutes the main differences between Waterfall model and Agile practices.

Alexandre Claus and Lesley Price are co-founders of Agile & Coaching Solutions, they are trainers and consultants specialized in project management, portfolio management and general management advice. Alexandre and Lesley have been working for 25 years in IT in financial institutions and they have a comprehensive business knowledge of the banking sector, including Fund Administration, Back Office, Private Banking.

The Waterfall approach is a breakdown of project activities into linear sequential phases, where each phase depends on the deliverables of the previous one and corresponds to a specialization of tasks. It makes use of standard documentation of which the format is predefined by the organisation. .

Agile is a combination of multiple frameworks ,there is not just one Agile approach. Agile has two core elements: teamwork and time. Instead of creating a timeline , Agile breaks the project into individual deliverable pieces. These ‘time-boxed’ phases are called ‘sprints’ and last just a few weeks. Once each sprint is completed, the feedback from the previous phase is used to plan the next one.

Common misconceptions for waterfall are : more time is spent on admin tasks than on actual work , analysis of everything up-front for the entire project, no matter how long that takes and changes are not supported . The ones of Agile are , we don’t need to document anything , we’ll just get started and then see where it goes and Agile is about making work fun and cool.

The Agile framework and the Waterfall Methodology differ in obvious and less obvious ways, however it is also absolutely possible to create a mix of approaches depending on the project.

Panel Discussion

A) What is Agile for you?

Agile methodologies are a way to adapt better to the working environment . Every project management methodology is a risk management activity to avoid the gap between customer expectations and service/product delivery . Agile is bringing communication and planning to the next level . Agile helped companies to change mindset ,to take people as a knowledgeable resource and to empower them. Agile is not just a trend , Agile is being productive , managing risks and communicating well and especially it means not being rigid in your mindset .

B) Do you have any experience – successful or not – of Agile outside of IT software Development?

During one of my professional experiences at NPR ( National Public Radio) which is the main public radio provider in the USA , we were used to introducing new programmes in a very traditional way . Program managers worked on projects in a step-by-step approach in order to present projects to the board in a very classical way . After spending a lot of time, efforts and money our management realised in the end after delivering the product that the results of the programmes which in some cases were already launched or in other cases that our audience was not interested in these programmes at all.

In recent years because of the costs ,management decided to change its strategy by adopting an agile approach. At a certain point they told us , let’s do it the other way around , let’s throw out the topic in the open for discussions with everyone involved and even our audience . The result of this choice was saving a lot of money and being able to come up with a lot of different new ideas and being creative

C) How do you see the role of traditional project managers evolving in the Agile world?

The role of the project manager in the Agile world is under continuous discussion , it really depends on what kind of approach you want to take within your organisation . Project manager’s role is to be in charge of managing , he has to be the interface between the requests of the sponsors and the agile teams activities. Project managers have to support the organisation and the teams to move forward to agility , they have to give clear objectives to their teams and to let people decide how to achieve these objectives . Project managers need to have a specific skill set: a vision of what they should build, a coaching aspect that should be geared towards helping their team members to do things on their own.

Thanks once again for your participation and all the best with your projects, whether they are agile or traditional!

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