Project management has always been key to successfully delivering complex projects with lots of moving parts, especially with workforces evermore manned by remote workers who might live at opposite ends of the planet.
That’s why we have seen so many project management tools hit the market in recent years. However, the tool is not a skill. Thinking that having access to the right tools means you can neglect the project management methodologies would be inaccurate.
So, here we are, ready to take a deep dive into the potential-filled world of project management. If you already have an interest in project management, then you’ll have run into the Agile vs. Waterfall vs. Scrum vs. Kanban conundrum!
When deciding on an approach, it’s easy to become lost in the weeds. So, we’ll make sense of this mess for you.
The Agile approach is the go-to for software developers. With Agile, workflows are adaptive and run parallel with each other. This works great in projects where the brief can change, and multiple programmers are working on separate, interrelated tasks.
The Agile methodology works by splitting projects into increments called sprints, with each sprint including a planning, development, and testing stage. Agile is collaborative and involves identifying a “product backlog” of tasks to be completed in each “sprint.” These are assigned and managed in a project management tool.
The best way of understanding Agile is by comparing it to Waterfall. When deciding on Agile vs. Waterfall, what you are really deciding is whether your project would be better split into tasks that need to be completed sequentially (Waterfall) or whether some can be completed at the same time (Agile).
To simplify things further, project managers often worry over the issue of Agile vs. Waterfall vs. Scrum vs. Kanban, but in actuality, the latter two can be seen as a part of Agile, but more on this in a moment.
In this article, we will tell you how to build psychological safety in Agile teams.
Scrum is designed to get work done faster, making it an incredibly popular choice for teams that are always under pressure to get more done in less time.
Scrum is an off branch of Agile, but it is much better defined.
With this method, a Scrum master acts as a link to the project owner, plans the sprints, and identifies and removes any roadblocks. Sprints are generally scheduled in two-week blocks and are reviewed at the end of the period.
If you compare Scrum vs. Kanban, the first is more commonly used for process improvements, whereas the latter is all about speed!
Why people tend to avoid scrum, which misconceptions are popular, and common mistakes scrum masters and product owners make.
Kanban is all about process improvements. As a version of an Agile strategy, it shares all of the pros and cons associated with that method. However, there are some key differences.
Kanban works by using boards to organize tasks into cards and lists. Each list has a limit on what tasks can be added to it; this is called a WIP limit. So, there is some fluidity, but you can get bottlenecks.
Waterfall is seen as a dated approach to project management, but there are still lots of situations in which this approach is a safer, more reliable approach than Agile. With Waterfall, the available budget can be carefully controlled from the offset, and each stage of the waterfall can be carefully managed by a project manager.
This is appealing when working with a client who is inflexible.
Waterfall is a straightforward methodology. Each step of a project is set out linearly, with each step reliant on its predecessor.
This works great with projects that have a well-defined budget, deadline, and scope.
This method is used more for projects with no 100% design changes or goals because there are no intermediate stages where the result can be measured; this is definitely not for startups.
More on topic
Time and Material, Dedicated team, Outstaffing... Still sounds mysterious? Find out the difference in our article.
The reality is that the best approach depends on the project. If you have a clear deadline, straightforward project, and inflexible budget, then the Waterfall approach may suit your needs perfectly. However, whatever the situation, it is hard to discount the potential cost savings achievable when multiple team members are working in sprints, as with Agile.
There is another consideration. If you are working with the same team long-term, there is something to be said for picking an approach and sticking with it. If your team becomes veteran Scrum users, this approach may outperform Kanban, even if it is the more obvious choice.
This is even true of Waterfall. Even though Waterfall is seen as a little 20th century, if you are a Waterfall expert, you can implement a strategy that would outstrip a fledgling Scrum team.
If you are still undecided on the Agile vs. Waterfall vs. Scrum vs. Kanban conundrum, then think of it this way:
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