Waterfall

How Your PMO Can Support Agile AND Waterfall: Tips for Adaptive PMOs

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So much has been written on the Agile PMO, the Adaptive PMO, and how the PMO needs to evolve from being the methodology police to an enabler of business agility and a leader of change.

Related to this is the ability to support the ever-growing need to incorporate Agile, Waterfall, and Hybrid approaches in their mix as PMOs become more adaptive. As such, I found this article by Susanne Madsen, Agile or Waterfall: 8 Tips to Help You Decide, very fair-minded and informative. 

While iterative approaches can still be used to provide rapid feedback even on projects with the most stringent of requirements, a pure Agile approach can be challenging for a huge projects with distributed teams and little access to customers. Deciding on the best approach is more an art than a science. Fortunately, the article offers a good set of considerations to help the project manager and/or team decide, ranging from project size and team distribution to user access and solution clarity. 

Keep in mind, the PMO's role shouldn't be to dictate methodology; it should be to offer guidance (such as the above) around approaches and execution, fostering good practices while keeping its focus on more strategic things. After all, the PMO has a crucial role to play in helping the organization bridge strategy and execution, drive portfolio and program benefits, and maximize its resources toward the most valuable work. 

This 2011 article from PMI on Reinventing the PMO hits the nail on the head, and is still relevant and fresh today. Fortunately, PMO leaders are finally starting to catch on. Better late than never, as they say!


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Jerry Manas is the bestselling author of The Resource Management and Capacity Planning Handbook, Napoleon on Project Management, and more. At PDWare, Jerry helps clients improve strategy execution through tools and processes that align people and work with organizational priorities. Connect with Jerry on Twitter and LinkedIn

Agile and Waterfall: Dispelling the Myths about Bimodal IT

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In today's world of digital transformation and the Internet of Things, among other advances in technology and logistics, business agility is not just an advantage, it's a necessity.

Several years ago, Garter introduced the Bimodal IT framework to address this. The idea was to allow for two modes of operations: one for areas that are more understood, and another for areas that require rapid iterations of discovery. 

Misinterpretations also ran rampant, leading to debates, especially among the Agile community, who felt Agile was being misunderstood to be about sacrificing quality and stability for speed.

This 2016 article from Gartner, Busting Bimodal Myths, served to clarify many of the key misconceptions, though to this day, people are misinterpreting the intent. 

From the article, it's clear that Bimodal is:

NOT the slow lane vs. fast lane. 

NOT the quality lane vs. speed lane.  

NOT the planning lane vs. wing-it lane. 

NOT the stability lane vs. innovation lane. 

NOT the sustaining lane vs. the development lane. 

NOT the old lane vs. the new lane.

Nor is it necessarily about Agile vs. Waterfall. 

Both modes can have quality and speed. Both involve planning and accuracy. Both can be stable and innovative. Both can be used for development or change. And both are very much relevant today.

In a nutshell, Bimodal IT is about increasing enterprise agility, enabling a variety of tools in meeting two kinds of needs: initiatives that benefit from heavier up-front planning and phased approval gates, and those that benefit from rapid iterations of product. Agile approaches can be applied to either, but a Waterfall approach is not conducive to the latter.

The principles of Agile lend themselves to rapid iterations with the customer, where change is expected. The principles of Waterfall lend themselves to longer efforts that must be well defined, and where change is to be avoided unless carefully vetted. Waterfall does tend to move slower by design.

So yes, this is where the general interpretation comes in that Mode 1 is for Waterfall and Mode 2 is for Agile, and it isn't entirely wrong. Like any framework, there needs to be flexibility and common sense in using the right tool for the right job.

Stay tuned for an upcoming article on resource planning in a bimodal world.


JB Manas - website photo.jpg

Jerry Manas is the bestselling author of The Resource Management and Capacity Planning Handbook, Napoleon on Project Management, and more. At PDWare, Jerry helps clients improve strategy execution through tools and processes that align people and work with organizational priorities. Connect with Jerry on Twitter and LinkedIn