Whether You Choose Agile or Waterfall, Remember These 3 Key Points

I can easily start this blog with why a project manager should choose Agile over Waterfall methodology or vice versa but that would just start a wave of comments and controversy that personally I don’t want to get involved with at this time.  Fortunately, you will find advocates for both styles and case studies that can back up either.  Because GPMS is a PPM Solution Provider and we get to work with several PMO’s globally, I can definitely say that in my experience, when requirements are approved, guaranteed and assigned a budget, companies, and solution providers have a tendency to use a more rigid Waterfall methodology.  When companies need to see teams react to change immediately and be able to deploy a more rapid method for successive iterations that can be delivered frequently and at a consistent pace when tend to see more Agile methodologies.  Now with that being said, I think there are several factors that are common to both practices and should be kept in mind by the project manager seeking to implement one of these methodologies:

  1. Provide Visibility:  Having the ability for your client, team members and partners to understand what’s happening at both a high level and detailed level is very important.  If your client or team is unclear about the strategy or how things are progressing, the PM is setting themselves up to take full responsibility for the actions of the team and the client, regardless of the task.  When people are unclear of what’s happening, they will eventually turn it over to the person with the vision; however, with that comes tremendous responsibility.  PM’s are already responsible for the delivery of the project as a whole.  They don’t need additional responsibility because the rest of the team cannot see what is happening currently or what is ahead of them.
  2. Collaborate In More Ways Than One:  Just because you Scrum every day or have approved written requirements doesn’t mean everyone understands the entire landscape or what’s happening.  Collaboration has to have several channels all which eventually support each other.  Understanding what has occurred during Scrum by having written notes or having meetings to discuss written requirements really pays off in the end for the teams can have a more precise understanding of what needs to happen.  People forget things and have a very short attention span thus don’t rely on a nod of the head as an agreement of understanding.  People need to go back and be able to review things that have been said or transpired.
  3. Be Budget Sensitive:  I don’t care which style you favor; this one is an absolute must!  Changes affect timelines, resources and budget.  Changes are inevitable but budget increases are not!  PM’s responsible for managing project budgets should always let the clients know how their changes impact the overall project budget.  Once this is brought to their attention, you will see how fewer changes are made and more acceptance is exercised towards work that is not perfectly aligned to management’s vision.  Plus, your client will like you a lot more and praise your PM style if you remain budget sensitive.


There are still many more things to consider when choosing a project methodology.  PPM tools can really help support these strategies.  If you need more information or tips on project methodologies, contact us at info@gpm.embrodigitizeservice.com.  We would be more than happy to help.  GPMS offers PPM Managed Services called PMASS (‘Portfolio Management Application Support Solutions’).  PMASS allows clients to group (Bundle) services together for a fixed monthly cost.  PMASS is a subscription based remote service which can be customized to fit any client needs.  PMASS enables clients to deploy their initiatives in a timely manner while being able to manage costs and resources with any methodology.  Contact GPMS with any question regarding PMASS or Managed Services. Enjoy!

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