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Topics: Agile, Pharmaceutical, Using PMI Standards
Agile vs PMP (Waterfall)
Anonymous
Taking on new position for company where I'll be leading project to consolidate the brand's websites under one umbrella into hub structure. I'm curious if Agile or PMP (Waterfall) methodology would be best fit. There is no existing PM process in place and I'd like to work on a certification.
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It depends partly on the vision/leadership you'll bring to the company, and partly on the company's existing culture/leadership. If you/they are dynamic, fast-paced, continuous-learners who embrace best-practices, worked well in a matrixed way, etc., go for Agile! If the organization is more cautious/traditional, perhaps start with waterfall that's easier for most people to comprehend and not as "radical".

I'll be interested to read what others write in response to your question. Good luck and please report back in 6 months which way you went and the results.
First of all, PMP does not mean waterfall. Agile or waterfall is independent of project management.

As far as which one to choose, I would go with both. Where requirements are known and stable, predictive is faster and cheaper. Where requirements are unknown or volatile, agile allows you to deliver value quickly and flexibly.
Dear Anonymous
Interesting this your question
Thanks for sharing

Much depends on the culture of your organization and the development approach dictated by management

I am convinced that for the specific project to which you refer you can use a hybrid approach
What are the current development and release processes? How are requirements for enhancements currently managed? Will this involve one team, or multiple teams?

You're probably going to hear from someone about how there is no agile methodology. I'm assuming you mean Scrum. Will it be a single team, or scaled scrum? (or whatever approach you use)

What will the organization look like once you have this approach in place?

I recommend starting with the vision for how you think it should work, and then work through the opportunities and obstacles your approach will bring to the surface. You may find one approach fits your organization better than the other, or you may find that you can start with one and need to evolve into the other.

If you're looking at single-team Scrum, that will be much faster to implement and get people up to speed than a scaled Scrum approach.
Thanks to all for your insightful replies. I was thinking a hybrid approach would also be the best path. This is a pharmaceutical company, therefore there is more oversight (medical, legal, regulatory) perhaps vs other industries. I have a friend who works for another pharma company in digital and told me they have Agile in place (Scrum). She said it would be difficult to implement Scrum because it would require many resources and unless it was already in place, would probably take too long to set this structure up.
I'll be working with agency(s) on the UX, front-end development, brand experience, and other KPIs to grow business impact.

My original question around PMP vs Agile was due to my understanding that PMP certification primarily relies on Waterfall approach that is more traditional but can be more rigid. Agile (Scrum or Kanban) is embraced more in software development and allows for more fluidity and flexibility. Since the project is digital marketing based, it seemed like some sort of hybrid might make the best approach to allow for flexibility with the web hub experience but also successfully track/execute scope, budget, time requirements. I've heard PMI offers PMP cert (based on Waterfall) and PMI-ACP (based on Agile approach). My primary role is as a digital marketer and digital strategy leader so getting both certs seemed like a lot of work since I also need have deep expertise in SEM, SEO, UX/UI, Web Analytics, Adobe Experience Cloud and Data Science (predictive analytics, machine learning, etc.).

I have past experience managing digital and health technology projects but haven't formerly incorporated a PM methodology before and would like to moving forward. I've taken a preliminary PM intro certification that's given my a broad overview but thought getting a PMI cert might add additional value for my career.
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1 reply by Stéphane Parent
Jan 27, 2020 1:32 PM
Stéphane Parent
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PMP is about project management processes. These are independent of your approach.

You should also realize that Scrum is limited to product/service delivery. Scrum doesn't deal with financial management or stakeholder management, amongst others, which are project management areas.

PMI's PMBOK Guide is a subset of the project management "body of knowledge". Unlike Axelos' PRINCE2, it is not a methodology. The PMBOK Guide provides you with guidance, direction, tips, and suggestions. You take from it what makes sense for you and your organization and create your processes and tools.
I know the company has access to Microsoft Project so was going to utilize that software as well.
Jan 27, 2020 12:41 PM
Replying to Prem Schoff
...
Thanks to all for your insightful replies. I was thinking a hybrid approach would also be the best path. This is a pharmaceutical company, therefore there is more oversight (medical, legal, regulatory) perhaps vs other industries. I have a friend who works for another pharma company in digital and told me they have Agile in place (Scrum). She said it would be difficult to implement Scrum because it would require many resources and unless it was already in place, would probably take too long to set this structure up.
I'll be working with agency(s) on the UX, front-end development, brand experience, and other KPIs to grow business impact.

My original question around PMP vs Agile was due to my understanding that PMP certification primarily relies on Waterfall approach that is more traditional but can be more rigid. Agile (Scrum or Kanban) is embraced more in software development and allows for more fluidity and flexibility. Since the project is digital marketing based, it seemed like some sort of hybrid might make the best approach to allow for flexibility with the web hub experience but also successfully track/execute scope, budget, time requirements. I've heard PMI offers PMP cert (based on Waterfall) and PMI-ACP (based on Agile approach). My primary role is as a digital marketer and digital strategy leader so getting both certs seemed like a lot of work since I also need have deep expertise in SEM, SEO, UX/UI, Web Analytics, Adobe Experience Cloud and Data Science (predictive analytics, machine learning, etc.).

I have past experience managing digital and health technology projects but haven't formerly incorporated a PM methodology before and would like to moving forward. I've taken a preliminary PM intro certification that's given my a broad overview but thought getting a PMI cert might add additional value for my career.
PMP is about project management processes. These are independent of your approach.

You should also realize that Scrum is limited to product/service delivery. Scrum doesn't deal with financial management or stakeholder management, amongst others, which are project management areas.

PMI's PMBOK Guide is a subset of the project management "body of knowledge". Unlike Axelos' PRINCE2, it is not a methodology. The PMBOK Guide provides you with guidance, direction, tips, and suggestions. You take from it what makes sense for you and your organization and create your processes and tools.
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1 reply by Prem Schoff
Jan 27, 2020 3:08 PM
Prem Schoff
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Thanks Stephane - sounds like you recommend digesting the PMI PMBOK guide and then using what aligns to my particular project scenario. Was curious if there was already a methodology in place that would work well for a web project but seems like you have to pull the processes and tools that are relevant
On every web project I've been a part of, an iterative and incremental approach has produced a higher quality product at a faster rate. This is due to the nature of web development. The business probably doesn't know exactly what it wants, yet, and they won't have any feedback from their customers until they have some part of the product in place. Rather than wait until all your requirements are gathered and estimates approved by the business, you should start on the work you know you can do and deliver what you can. Ideally, this should help you answer questions about the product so you can continue development.

In a stereotypical "waterfall" or predictive project, you couldn't properly start development until your project gets approved, which requires defined scope, budget, and schedule. Then you'll deliver product in large chunks and go through a change control process when you get the user feedback. Better to anticipate those changes.

I'm speaking in very broad generalities and there's more to being "Agile" than working incrementally, but I think that's your main question. I would definitely recommend that approach.
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1 reply by Prem Schoff
Jan 27, 2020 3:06 PM
Prem Schoff
...
Thanks Wade - this is helpful. I think we'll want to put out version 1 - gather feedback/web analytics and then refine for version 2 and so forth. It does seem like Waterfall may not be the right approach.
As it doesn't seem like the department has a pre-defined PM approach in place, I was wondering if I should prep with acclimating to particular methodologies prior to starting the position and whether it would be helpful to pursue any formal certification.
Jan 27, 2020 2:53 PM
Replying to Wade Harshman
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On every web project I've been a part of, an iterative and incremental approach has produced a higher quality product at a faster rate. This is due to the nature of web development. The business probably doesn't know exactly what it wants, yet, and they won't have any feedback from their customers until they have some part of the product in place. Rather than wait until all your requirements are gathered and estimates approved by the business, you should start on the work you know you can do and deliver what you can. Ideally, this should help you answer questions about the product so you can continue development.

In a stereotypical "waterfall" or predictive project, you couldn't properly start development until your project gets approved, which requires defined scope, budget, and schedule. Then you'll deliver product in large chunks and go through a change control process when you get the user feedback. Better to anticipate those changes.

I'm speaking in very broad generalities and there's more to being "Agile" than working incrementally, but I think that's your main question. I would definitely recommend that approach.
Thanks Wade - this is helpful. I think we'll want to put out version 1 - gather feedback/web analytics and then refine for version 2 and so forth. It does seem like Waterfall may not be the right approach.
As it doesn't seem like the department has a pre-defined PM approach in place, I was wondering if I should prep with acclimating to particular methodologies prior to starting the position and whether it would be helpful to pursue any formal certification.
...
1 reply by Wade Harshman
Jan 27, 2020 3:31 PM
Wade Harshman
...
You should definitely let your project stakeholders in on your plan, especially if they're unfamiliar with incremental development. I had a team working in a highly regulated company that typically delivered all-or-nothing project deliverables, so software development projects were uncomfortable because they weren't used to working in iterations. But if you can make them feel like it's their idea, they'll support you.

The formal certifications probably won't help you unless your company is willing to pay you more for them, but the education that comes with the certifications will definitely help. Do some reading on the web or watch some videos online to see what interests you, and it might be worth paying for a course if you decide to learn more about a specific framework or practice.
Jan 27, 2020 1:32 PM
Replying to Stéphane Parent
...
PMP is about project management processes. These are independent of your approach.

You should also realize that Scrum is limited to product/service delivery. Scrum doesn't deal with financial management or stakeholder management, amongst others, which are project management areas.

PMI's PMBOK Guide is a subset of the project management "body of knowledge". Unlike Axelos' PRINCE2, it is not a methodology. The PMBOK Guide provides you with guidance, direction, tips, and suggestions. You take from it what makes sense for you and your organization and create your processes and tools.
Thanks Stephane - sounds like you recommend digesting the PMI PMBOK guide and then using what aligns to my particular project scenario. Was curious if there was already a methodology in place that would work well for a web project but seems like you have to pull the processes and tools that are relevant
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