Managing Hybrid Teams

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

This month’s theme on is hybrid, and in a couple of articles (some still to come), I’ve tried to demonstrate that it’s a rather confusing term—meaning different things to different people. In this article, I want to take a slight side step away from the idea of a hybrid project delivery approach per se, and more toward the idea of a hybrid team.

For many project managers, this is their first exposure to hybrid—a project where some work packages are being developed using agile methods, and some are being delivered using traditional or waterfall-based approaches. That can be a significant challenge for PMs, so I want to take a look at how we can maximize our chances for success.

Understand your personal bias…and shortcomings
The vast majority of PMs will come from one of the main project approaches—they’ll either be traditional PMs or agile PMs. Either one of those backgrounds will allow them to succeed leading a hybrid team, but that background and skillset will impact how the PM manages the project. There will be a natural tendency for a project manager to be more involved with the work he or she is more experienced with, and that tendency will be increased by the likelihood that the “comfortable” work will likely be the largest part of the project (the PM will be appointed based on the …

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"Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious and immature."

- Tom Robbins