Project management generally comes in two types: agile and traditional. The traditional form is what most of us are more acquainted with since many businesses fit this type of management better.
Traditional project management means that tasks have strictly defined scopes, methods and time frames. All tasks are expected to be finished by following a routinary cycle. This is not, however, the case with agile project management styles.
In agile project management, tasks are not expected to follow a well-defined process, but it can jump from planning to redefining and vice versa before the finished product goes out. This is done by businesses who are more concerned about the quality and features that the output gets upon completion rather than the time (and often, the costs) that the whole project entails.
It is no different when it comes to IT-related projects. Such managing styles are also being carried over by either the company’s CEO and supervisors. Naturally, a different approach also has a different set of expectations and challenges to tackle, so what are some of these?
Task Completion and Deadline
When it comes to task completion and deadlines, it is easier to set estimates if a company follows the traditional manner of project management. With an established process and task cycle, superiors can plot an estimated timeframe for each employee to finish his/her part. All these are then consolidated to come up with a deadline for the whole output.
In agile project management, however, the process does not have a definite cycle to follow, so it can go from one stage to the other indefinitely (especially if the company is handling a difficult client). This does not mean however that agile projects do not come with deadlines, tasks still have a certain time frame, but they are more or less flexible.
In IT projects, traditional management is far more suited only when it comes to troubleshooting tasks and other areas that have a more routinary aspect such as set-up/installment of software and periodic maintenance.
Projects however that require testing and developing such as website launches, app, and software creation and other similar projects could do well with an agile management style. Sure, most of these projects usually start with a planning and brainstorming stage, but it can go back and forth once it goes into the developing and testing stages - it could be that some of the managers need to tweak a feature, or if the output did not meet the expected quality agreed upon during the drawing stage, etc.
Room for Improvement and Creativity
Traditional project management may be easy to estimate when it comes to deadlines, but it does not leave much room for creativity. Since time is of the essence, each employee only cares about complying his/her part of the work, and not worry about what happens before and after that.
Moreover, employees under a traditional management style already have a specific skill set that is expected of them, plus quality control is also followed through strictly, so there is not much opportunity for workers to tweak and experiment with new ideas.
In contrast, agile project management gives great room for improvement and creativity. With the ability to go back and forth the different processes at work, employees get to express and experiment their newfound ideas for the project. And this type of management is actually deemed better especially for tech companies which are aiming to develop or innovate a breakthrough product or service.
Apps and software for example that are developed to serve the general public needs rigorous testing to ensure that the end-user gets to appreciate and enjoy the service. If there are discrepancies and bugs that are experienced during testing, developers usually need to get back to the brainstorming or developing stage to perfect the product.
Clear Responsibilities and Accountability
Although both management styles can be called “teamwork” because several people are assigned to do different tasks to come up with one whole output, they both come in different sense of accountabilities and responsibilities.
In traditional management, since tasks and expectations are so well-defined and established, it is easy to trace who done what. Therefore, the scope of accountability for each employee is only up to what his/her task entails.
In agile management, however, the process is more or less convoluted and some employees do a range of different tasks for just one project that it becomes hard to pinpoint who becomes accountable for any minor or major trouble and improvements.
However, this is where the pure sense of “teamwork” comes in - since the process is very flexible, every success or failure is not attributed to just one person, but it is the whole team who gets recognition for everything.
Despite the differences, each management style works great as long as it is applied to the right type of work that needs to be done. Like mentioned above, tasks that are routinary in nature such as maintenance and troubleshooting tasks can work well with a traditional project management style. Projects however that dabble in innovation, experimentation, and creativity such as web and app developing, software creation and video gaming can thrive well with an agile project management style.
Jessica Radburn is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business. Check out her company here: www.phonetipsandtricks.com