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Topics: Agile, Construction, Estimating
Agile and waterfall project management
Agile is continues planning like rolling waves planning, how can it ever fit into construction project that's typically waterfall style of project management? Please give examples. Thanks
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Stephen -

Let's separate an agile/adaptive lifecycle from an agile mindset or specific agile practices. The latter two can be applied to any type of project in any industry.

The former might fit certain construction projects where you have the ability to incrementally deliver value using a modular build approach, but the duration of the increments might be longer than what we'd see in software development.

I agree with Kiron. I work in the Construction Industry and we use Agile / Waterfall Hybrid Approaches to manage our projects.
Heavy industry has similar challenges to implementing agile, and often includes construction as one of them. There are still elements where a predictive schedule is critical due to long lead times and decisions you can only afford to make once, but there are many other areas where agile approaches work very well.

If you have a preliminary design and a number of improvement ideas prior to final design (cost, producibility, etc.), those can be studied using sprints. Cost estimates can often be done iteratively and incrementally rather than all in one lengthy effort. Design reviews can be collaborative rather a series of hand-offs from one SME to the next. If there is a problem on-site like something wasn't finished on time, you can potentially re-sequence some things to keep people working rather than waiting until the unfinished part is complete. My own home has all the load bearing walls as the exterior, and contractors could literally build the primary structure and figure out the interior floor-plan later.

Sometimes there are design changes which can assist in this regard, like modularization. Even in a long predictive lifecycle however, there are often processes done within specific phases which can very much benefit from the principles of agile.
Two different things Agile and agile, the one using the other, the one we should always use no matter what and the other only where it makes sense. But yes construction type project will always be a challenge for Agilists. Incremental delivery, for instance, can only be done in fairly large blocks spanning months. Giving me a pillar means nothing. Yes, it is 'usable' to the extent that it can support something but it cannot be proven or used for that yes. But the agile mindset, however, is different. Itis something we should all use all the time. Just like Agile, it is not anything new.

BTW My personal experience has always been that the actual construction is done using normal waterfall milestone-driven approach while the softer aspects such as building management etc. follow an Agile approach
First thing to understand is Agile is a way of thinking and behave you can use with any type of life cycle process (waterfall, V, SDLC, etc). Unfortunatelly both have been mixed and it created confusion outside there. The problem with that confusion as things like organizations are not taking advantage for usting agile is their actual process life cycle is not incremental-iterative. You can use Agile in construction. I did that in 1999 including in this case we use an especific agile based method called DSDM (Dynamic Solution Develivery Method, former Dynamic Software Development Method). While it does not matter let me say the project received an award from the PMI in 2000.
I want to mirror what has already been said, and then add that agile frameworks and methodologies are just tools. Regardless of the type of work being done, you use the best tool for the job that you have available. If you can get a better tool, and use it well enough to do what you need to do, go for it. However, just like there is not a universal construction tool that can be used to finish foundations, electrical, plumbing, framing, etc... there is not one universal approach to managing projects that can be applied to all projects. (Hybrid doesn't count as one approach - it is a combination of approaches that can be different for each project.)

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