PC or Mac, Waterfall or Agile?

Bob Tarne, PMP, CSM is an accomplished consultant, speaker, and writer. He is currently an Engagement Manager with IBM as well as an active volunteer with the Project Management Institute. His blog can be found at zen-pm.blogspot.com.

The Mac versus PC debate has been going on for some time with strongly held opinions on both sides of the monitor. More recently, the project management community has been debating agile versus so-called traditional techniques. And there are certainly similarities in how both discussions can be framed and, perhaps, resolved.

Television commercials comparing the PC to the Mac have been running for a few years now and have circulated around the globe. The Mac is portrayed as being creative, fun and popular, while the PC is “good at spreadsheets.” It seems there is a similar, if less official, campaign making the rounds in project management.
Traditional, waterfall project management is more like the PC. After all, the most popular project management software, Microsoft Project, runs on PCs. Traditional projects are more structured, with a focus on following the process, and traditional project management is often associated with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the ubiquitous PMBOK Guide.
The alter ego of traditional project management is agile project management, such as Scrum or XP. Like the Mac, agile projects are described as more creative, less structured, and much less complicated. Though not as popular, there is a project management software program for the Mac, called Merlin, which, like the Mac, it not as …

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