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Hot Topic – 15 September 2020; Agile Hybrid Approaches
Happy September PM.com! In my opinion, one of the best months.

This month, the Hot Topic is "Agile Hybrid Approaches". As Agile is a mindset, culture, and behavior built from a foundation of its core values & principles, and as such, can be applied to varying forms of execution techniques.

So when we say 'hybrid' what exactly do we mean? Or do we really mean Scrum Hybrid Approaches? Or Waterfall/Traditional Hybrid Approach?

Is being early in a journey of culture change the same as being hybrid?

What do you think?
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I think the term Agile Hybrid is a misconception. What people normally mean by that phrase is actually some adaptation of a particular *framework* (like Scrum say). But agility is not a framework, and adapting any particular framework probably has very little to do with agility in the culture and working practices of an organisation.
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1 reply by Andrew Craig
Sep 19, 2020 10:11 AM
Andrew Craig
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David, thank you, I appreciate your response. Definitely resonates with me. Often see Agile and Scrum are mistakingly used interchangeably. And like you say, and eluded to in the original post, when we say hybrid, what does that mean?
Hi Andrew, thanks for kicking this topic off. What interests me about the term 'agile hybrid approaches' is how often it is used as a form of self-flagellation. I've seen people sheepishly avoiding eye contact as they confide that what they do with their teams 'isn't really agile, but is more of a hybrid approach'. This can be followed by nervous laughter and then the acknowledgment that 'I guess we are more WAGILE than agile'.
These conversations are painful to hear. They reveal a lot about the negative impact of some of the cult-like statuses that have been built up by some agile frameworks and certification shops. The easiest way to upset an agile evangelist is to tilt your head slightly and ask 'nice idea, but is it really agile?'.
Over the past couple of decades, there has been an alternative reality that has emerged where there are only two ways to deliver anything: waterfall or agile (where 'agile' usually means Scrum). But the world of delivery has always been rich with innovation. Consider Spiral, Critical Chain, and the V-Model. These methods are neither waterfall nor Scrum but are very good ways of delivering certain types of projects.
I firmly believe that all PMOs and Project managers should be using hybrid approaches. By 'hybrid' I mean approaches that take the best of different delivery methods and toolboxes and then adapt them to the environment that projects are being delivered in. Surely this the expertise we want our qualified project managers and delivery professionals to deliver? Don't we want more than someone who can simply recite the Prince2 manual or the 18 page Scrum guide?
In the same way that we have seen linguistic reappropriation of some words relating to race and human sexuality, I feel it is high time that we reclaim 'hybrid' and wear it as a badge of honor. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with framework mashups. After all, experiments are how we learn and grow, as individuals, and as a profession.
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1 reply by Andrew Craig
Sep 19, 2020 10:24 AM
Andrew Craig
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John, this is a really interesting perspective and great direction in the conversation.

I recently provided an presentation to a local meetup on a similar topic.

As practitioners, enthusiasts, advacates, etc., it is our professional responsibility to have the ability to meet others where they are, understand their journey, and help them along the way. We become our own anti-pattern when we come with prescriptive notions and direction for others to follow, and when we judge their efforts and journey based on our own cognitive bias or perception of what is good or the right thing.

What is your perspective, then, that when we say hybrid, are actually referencing a point on the journey to new ways of working?
Hybrid Approach for me mean any combination of approaches but in Construction we use Adaptive - Waterfall approach.
The most common appreciation of hybrid in projects is the combination of cascade and agile approaches, but hybrid may mean a combination of the most various schemas and tools.
I have encountered this newfangled hybrid tool that combines agile with global indications, using Trello and Power BI: https://www.facebook.com/Teleworking-Monitoring-107369664431280/.
Contact them at contacto@monitoreoteletrabajo.ml
I would say when I hear the term Hybrid, I think a combination of Agile/Waterfall. That doesn't necessarily mean a 50/50 split. It could mean one entire department, maybe IT is Agile, while other departments in an organization use Waterfall. Or it could mean different departments in an organization use both Agile and Waterfall.
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1 reply by Andrew Craig
Sep 19, 2020 10:31 AM
Andrew Craig
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Thanks, Marcus. Interesting point. The hybrid organization is much more common place now a days. It takes significant effort to do a complete org transformation and often will happen across departments.
Sep 16, 2020 3:37 AM
Replying to David Portas
...
I think the term Agile Hybrid is a misconception. What people normally mean by that phrase is actually some adaptation of a particular *framework* (like Scrum say). But agility is not a framework, and adapting any particular framework probably has very little to do with agility in the culture and working practices of an organisation.
David, thank you, I appreciate your response. Definitely resonates with me. Often see Agile and Scrum are mistakingly used interchangeably. And like you say, and eluded to in the original post, when we say hybrid, what does that mean?
Sep 16, 2020 5:00 AM
Replying to John McIntyre
...
Hi Andrew, thanks for kicking this topic off. What interests me about the term 'agile hybrid approaches' is how often it is used as a form of self-flagellation. I've seen people sheepishly avoiding eye contact as they confide that what they do with their teams 'isn't really agile, but is more of a hybrid approach'. This can be followed by nervous laughter and then the acknowledgment that 'I guess we are more WAGILE than agile'.
These conversations are painful to hear. They reveal a lot about the negative impact of some of the cult-like statuses that have been built up by some agile frameworks and certification shops. The easiest way to upset an agile evangelist is to tilt your head slightly and ask 'nice idea, but is it really agile?'.
Over the past couple of decades, there has been an alternative reality that has emerged where there are only two ways to deliver anything: waterfall or agile (where 'agile' usually means Scrum). But the world of delivery has always been rich with innovation. Consider Spiral, Critical Chain, and the V-Model. These methods are neither waterfall nor Scrum but are very good ways of delivering certain types of projects.
I firmly believe that all PMOs and Project managers should be using hybrid approaches. By 'hybrid' I mean approaches that take the best of different delivery methods and toolboxes and then adapt them to the environment that projects are being delivered in. Surely this the expertise we want our qualified project managers and delivery professionals to deliver? Don't we want more than someone who can simply recite the Prince2 manual or the 18 page Scrum guide?
In the same way that we have seen linguistic reappropriation of some words relating to race and human sexuality, I feel it is high time that we reclaim 'hybrid' and wear it as a badge of honor. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with framework mashups. After all, experiments are how we learn and grow, as individuals, and as a profession.
John, this is a really interesting perspective and great direction in the conversation.

I recently provided an presentation to a local meetup on a similar topic.

As practitioners, enthusiasts, advacates, etc., it is our professional responsibility to have the ability to meet others where they are, understand their journey, and help them along the way. We become our own anti-pattern when we come with prescriptive notions and direction for others to follow, and when we judge their efforts and journey based on our own cognitive bias or perception of what is good or the right thing.

What is your perspective, then, that when we say hybrid, are actually referencing a point on the journey to new ways of working?
Sep 17, 2020 6:11 PM
Replying to Marcus Udokang
...
I would say when I hear the term Hybrid, I think a combination of Agile/Waterfall. That doesn't necessarily mean a 50/50 split. It could mean one entire department, maybe IT is Agile, while other departments in an organization use Waterfall. Or it could mean different departments in an organization use both Agile and Waterfall.
Thanks, Marcus. Interesting point. The hybrid organization is much more common place now a days. It takes significant effort to do a complete org transformation and often will happen across departments.
On some fundamental level, we would have to agree on what it means to be waterfall or Agile.
To me, waterfall means top-down structure, plan the product first, then complete the plan, stage gates.
Agile term envelops self-organization, continuous improvement of the product delivery, one team that can decide the direction of the product based on customer input.

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