Project Management

Is Agile All We Need?

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 [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Increasingly, organizations are embracing the concept of adaptive planning. For many organizations, that means planning budgets annually—but reviewing the allocations of funds to specific projects on a quarterly basis.

The determination of which projects are approved—and their relative priority—is adjusted at each review based on shifting customer demands, technological advancements and any number of other factors. That may only impact projects that haven’t yet started, but increasingly it is also applied to in-flight projects that are shifted, shelved or outright cancelled if required.

In this environment, where businesses are recognizing that they cannot reliably plan much beyond a three-month window, is there still a role to play for waterfall project delivery methods? The entire nature of those approaches is that the whole initiative is planned out and then that plan is executed. How can that work if plans change multiple times during the delivery period of the project?

The short answer is, it can’t. But I don’t believe that means waterfall is dead. I simply think it needs to be used, and viewed, differently. I don’t believe that eliminating a way of working is ever a good idea—the more different approaches an organization is capable of using, the more likely they are to have the right approach (or combination of …

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