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Topics: Agile, Career Development, Construction
Career transition: Waterfall to Agile
Has anyone successfully transitioned out of the heavily Waterfall based field of construction project management, into a more Agile field such technology/software?
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Hi William yes, not from construction to software per se. In my view, it is not a career transition but merely a skills transition where you need to adapt your skills and the tools/techniques you have been using to your new environment. Will you still manage, plan, communicate? Yes, you will but you might just do it a bit differently using different tools or techniques. There is this perception out there that if you make such a move you leave everything you know behind and start from square 1 and this perception is strengthened by recruitment and HR who insist that they are looking for an 'agile' project manager or 'agile' business analyst or 'agile' something. That is BS! If you are a good PM or BA then you have the ability to transition your skills to any environment that uses a different methodology, framework, or mindset.
You can use Agile approach inside construction projects. I did that. What you will do is to use other type of project life cycle. In fact, waterfall and agile are not matter of comparison because waterfall is a life cycle and agile is not. What is really unique in software and it is the thing which is difficult to manager is: software products are not tangible. If you ask to somebody "which is the progress on your activity?" and the person said "X percent" then the first you have to ask yourself is "how she/he have measure it?".

I work in the construction industry and made a mindset transition from waterfall to a Hybrid Waterfall-Agile approach but didn’t change from my career path to another.

Being agile and doing agile is a transition in the mindset and the way we do things.

Yes, in fact for me, the new tendency especially in EPC project, engineering-construction project is to use a hybrid approach. Now, I am working in an independent project to find the transition between a pure agile approach used in IT development to a hybrids for EPC, capable of getting a better adaptation when key objectives in terms of investment and deadline are critical to guarantee the return of margin and market share for the business strategies.
Briefly, I think the idea is to use the principles of agile manifesto and design thinking for the project management organization and business strategic. For the management of the uncertainty, it uses the framework of Scrum and XP, combined with long term projections, utilizing a combination of waterfall and agile techniques, especially for programing and investment management.
Then during the stage of project development, it is imperative to align the strategies between business and project management, by leading the team and execution plan to the business goals. Finally, build the performance measuring searching the continuo improvement process by understanding the learning lessons to acquire knowledge. Then, the use of iteratives projections where will be modelled the remain work, encouraging team to have a mindset of trust and collaboration to reach the project KPI. The steady rise of knowledge and experience during the cycle of live of project, it will create an environment of major certainty where waterfall techniques will be one of the projects management tools for a more accurate decision-making process, managing the resources in such manner to enable make correction or mitigate deviations to the business goals.
Please in case of further information no hesitate to contact me
I agree with the voices saying that Agile in merely FLEXIBLE approach to alter project completion plans. Those plans would regularly change to reflect new set of changing circumstances.
Agile is applicable to projects of any nature but for a kind of reason Agile has become a buzzy word in IT Project Management.
My experience in construction confirms that Agile can be implemented in design build construction too.

Being in software development I have changed from a waterfall environment to a hybrid agile/waterfall environment. In some cases the change can't be helped. So, I've needed to adapt accordingly. It most certainly is a mindset change versus a completely new way of doing things. I've transitioned many of my skill sets within the same industry, just doing things slightly differently with a different methodology or framework.


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Waiting for the time when I can finally say that this has all been wonderful but now I'm on my way.

- Phish



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