Project Management

Can You Make a Hybrid Approach Work for Your Project? (Part 1)

Mass Bay Chapter

Johanna Rothman works with companies to improve how they manage their product development. She is the author of Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects, 2nd edition, Agile and Lean Program Management: Scaling Collaboration Across the Organization as well as several other books including the newest: Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver. See her blogs and more of her writing at

Franny, a project manager, felt torn between what her team wanted and how the organization worked. The project team wanted to use an agile approach. It was excited about limiting its work in progress (WIP), seeing finished work quickly and getting feedback on what it completed.

However, Paul, the product manager, insisted on completing the entire product requirements document (PRD) before the project started. Paul explained in all seriousness that if the team wanted to change anything, it needed to follow a change request process.

Franny thought Paul was a good guy. She recognized he was under a ton of pressure from his management. However, Paul was only available about once a week to review any questions from the team or offer feedback on the team’s decisions—and any requested changes. Franny didn’t see how the team could adopt an agile approach if Paul wasn’t available.

The deployment team actually posed a larger problem. The organization had one centralized deployment team. Deployment insisted on reviewing all the code and test changes before releasing any change to staging, never mind production. That meant that the deployment team was always backed up with other teams’ requests.

The average time for the deployment team to release any team’s “finished” work to staging was about three weeks. Because deployment took …

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