Planning and Managing Development Projects: The Hybrid Way

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

When the conversations rolls around to hybrid project management, it almost always focuses on the pros and cons of mixing traditional waterfall, Agile and Scrum development frameworks within an applications development effort. To be sure, this is a delicate topic as there are those out there that believe that there is only one right approach to developing software applications and all other approaches are doomed to failure.

For these uber-enthusiasts, mixing approaches is like mixing oil and water…or worse, heresy. The risk we take in swearing allegiance to a specific approach is that following the approach often becomes more important than achieving the goal of the project. This is not a new syndrome within the IT community. Zealots have fought over things like structured programming, relational database concepts, programming languages, hardware platforms and more over decades past.

So with all that in mind—and for those of us not sworn, above all else, to protect and promote the use of a specific framework or development process—let’s explore the merits of using the best of what agile, Scrum, waterfall, etc. are—and how marrying these approaches into a hybrid model impacts the way projects are planned and managed.

For the record, throughout all my years in the PM and IT world (north of 30 years), I have seen frameworks and methods come …

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