Traditional Vs Agile Project Management

Project management is a field ridden by constant developments. A proven trend to ensure increase productivity and smother running of processes, PM is indeed a force to reckon with in the contemporary day scenario. While the end goal of all project managers may be the same, their approach to reach them may differ. 
Changing times call for a change in attitude as well as a transformation in the way things are. However, when it comes to project management, there are two categories of project managers who feel very strongly about either of the two methods of project management – traditional project management and agile project management. 
Which is the better one, why should one opt for either of the two, and which will give better results? To know the answers, read more. 
The Differences:
There are certain keys areas that differentiate the two methods. Some are mentioned below.  
  • Structure
Traditional:  The structure that is followed in traditional project management is linear. It is known as the waterfall method. In this management system, all the phases of a process take place in sequence. The end of one phase starts the other, ensuring that all processes flow steadily, just like a waterfall. It is very linear and well-structured. Here, right from initiating a project, developing it, fixing any errors and delivering the final product, all the phases are well defined. Any specific stage has to finish before the next one is started. 
Agile: On the other hand, agile project management does not follow a sequential order. It favours a rather iterative and an incremental approach. In this case, many development cycles and phases are involved, which operate simultaneously. The start and end point of any phase isn’t dependent on the progress of another phase.
  • Complexity of the project
Traditional: This suits those projects well—especially those that are smaller or are less complex. Since this is a linear model, reactions to sudden changes in the project or any complexity can hamper the entire process. A little snag may involve the team to go back to step one, and make them start all over again. 
Agile: If the project is complex, then agile project management is the best methodology to follow.  A complex project several interconnected stages and one phase may be dependent on many others; instead of a single one--like that in simple projects. Since agile methods can respond to such structures better, they are preferred for larger and more complex projects.
  •  Adaptability
Traditional: A traditional approach is not adaptable to sudden changes in the plan; as it works with an assumption that once a phase is completed, it will not be revisited. In case there is change in requirements from the client’s end, or any unforeseen circumstance arise, traditional project management fails to adapt to the change in an easy way. The only option is to start all over again. This wastes a lot of time and effort in the process.
Agile: Since this method is not linear, the adaptability factor displayed by the same is very high. Complex projects involve numerous interconnected phases, and a change in one phase can trigger off an effect on another. As there is a scope of high adaptability, project managers can afford to take calculated risks in this scenario.
  • Scope for changes and feedback
Traditional: Every process has to be clearly defined at the start of the project. Here, it cannot handle any major change, or feedback that may necessitate a change in the process. Usually the budget and the delivery time for the project are fixed, and rarely allow any change.
Agile: With this method, there is a high tolerance for change and feedback. The system is very flexible and encourages constant feedback that may help in the betterment of the output; within the time-frame of the project delivery. 
  • Best for the Job
Each method has its own pros and cons. It is important that they are all weighed properly before finalising on the method to follow. What matters is which one would do more justice to the project on hand, and which would assure a high quality product. Choose the one that is best for the job and see your immediate and final goals getting fulfilled. 


Author : Uma Daga

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Uma Daga