I’m sorry everyone, but I’m going to do it again. I’ve learned a lot from the Agile vs. Standard software development process discussion that is still going on based on two other articles (“Agile Software Development Project vs. Standard Software Development Project” and “Agile vs. Waterfall – More Thoughts”).

In very early articles I discussed the general hybrid project management process I use to manage projects. In practice, it incorporates these phases:

Process Flexibility

I realize that all project management needs to be flexible to some degree. We need standard practices and templates in place to follow or we are destined to failure. We need some flexibility because not all projects and customers and resources are the same. But not too much flexibility because structure and order lends to repeatable processes and practices and usually leads to greater success and a better understanding of how that success came about.

So the agile question this time around is this…can an agile development process be fit into a standard project management methodology? Or does the entire project management methodology and process for the project thus become agile as well?

Project Management in an Agile Environment

Design, Development and Testing phases would be modified to accommodate the rapid and iterative development, testing, and rollout process that is dictated by agile development methods. That’s understood. But are the project management processes used on standard or waterfall development projects usable for an agile development process or does the entire project management process need to conform to the agile development process?

I’m pretty sure I’m educated enough on this to understand how this needs to go, but I welcome the on-going discussions here because it is certainly further educating me, and I know it is also educating and interesting others who may or may not be aware of agile development and project management processes.

One of my colleagues/readers on here noted that good project management must always be agile because requirements are never firm…they are always changing to some degree. Even I realize that even though I tried to present the ‘perfect’ requirements scenario in the two articles mentioned above.

He also stated that “outcomes” need to be emphasized over “output”. A very good point and observation. A standard project management process does a nice job of emphasizing output – each phase has outputs and deliverables that need to be reviewed and approved in order to move on to the next phase. Whereas an agile process emphasizes the outcomes – successful packets of work that build on each other.

I look forward to the discussion to follow – it will make me a more flexible and educated project manager…and I’m always interested in learning.