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Project Management Methodologies:- Waterfall and Scrum

A project is a series of tasks that need to be completed to reach a specific outcome. It is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result.

Project management is the process of organizing tasks to achieve project objectives. It is the process of leading the work of a team to achieve all project goals within the given constraints.

A project management methodology is a set of principles, tools and techniques that are used to plan, execute and manage projects. Many different types of project management methodologies and techniques exist such as –


The waterfall, agile are the most popular project management methodologies.


Waterfall

This is the most traditional approach. In this model each project is divided into different phases and moved through the phases in sequential order. The waterfall model requires that you move from one project phase to another only once that phase has been successfully completed. Each task needs to be completed before the next one starts. Steps are linear and progress flows in one direction—like a waterfall.





This methodology is very sequential; based on a clear scope from the start and tackling each step-in order. This means that as each one of the eight Waterfall stages (conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation, and maintenance) are reached, the developers move on to the next step.

Pros-

· The narrow and linear nature of Waterfall makes it great for simple, unchanging projects.

· It is easy to manage, with each step having specific deliverables and clearly delineated start and finish points.

· It defines milestones, expectations and deadlines clearly that helps teams avoid expensive changes to a project once it has started.

· It facilitates management control and departmentalization based on deadlines.

· It provides a way for large or changing teams to work together toward a common goal defined in the requirements phase.


Cons-

· The steps are so sequential and usually, after the completion of a phase, it is challenging and costly to go back and change anything.

· Because development does not start until the first few phases are finished, there won’t be any working software for stakeholders to evaluate until late in the process.

· It is inflexible and lacks adaptability to changing circumstances.

· It doesn’t incorporate mid-process feedback from users or clients.

· Not an ideal model to use for complex and high-risk projects.

· It requires significant time allocated to the first two stages.


Agile

It is self-organizing approach. It involves splitting a project into smaller, more manageable pieces or iterations and delivering them continuously through emphasizing continuous collaboration and improvement. The Agile methodology is an iterative project management method emphasizing flexibility, collaboration, and customer satisfaction

Teams follow a cycle of planning, executing, and evaluating. Agile project management does not follow a sequential stage-by-stage approach. Instead, phases of the project are completed in parallel to each other by various team members in an organization. Agile methodology is aligned with the values and core principles described in the Agile Manifesto for Software Development. According to this principle, requirements, plans, and results are evaluated continuously; teams have a natural mechanism for responding to change quickly.



Pros-


· When implementing the agile methodology, project planning and work management are adaptive, evolutionary in development,

· Agile methodology uses user stories with business-focused acceptance criteria to determine product features, each of which delivers value.

· It focuses on Business Value by delivering what is most important to the customer or customer’s business.

· The team focuses on high-quality development, testing, and collaboration by dividing the project into manageable units.

· As the customers are involved throughout the project process and monitor that the evolution is adopted at any phase of the Agile process, agile provides transparency.

· A service, product, or new features are delivered at a higher frequency with a strong level of predictability by using time-boxed and fixed schedule Sprints.

· The cost is limited regarding the amount of work the team performs in fixed-schedule time because each Sprint is a fixed duration.

· The customer can more readily understand the approximate cost of each feature. It helps and improves decision-making about the priority of features and the importance of additional iterations.

· Agile allows an opportunity to continuously improve and reprioritize the overall product backlog.

· Stakeholders and developers work closely every day. There exists a high degree of collaboration between the customer and the whole project team, which provides more opportunities for the team to fully understand the customer’s vision.

· The methodology is client-facing, which means that the team shares progress and incorporates feedback into the process.

· Short-term deadlines encourage productivity and efficiency. Agile methodology seeks early delivery and are always open to change if that leads to process improvement.


Cons-


· Lack of attention to documentation can make it difficult for new team members to access needed information.

· The team needs to have a solid foundation and a comparable skill level. Agile may not work as expected, if a client is not clear about the goal or if the project manager or the team has no experience, or if they do not “work well” under pressure.

· There is a danger that the lack of project boundaries will lead to uncontrolled expansion, which can cause the project to never reach completion. When teams work on each component in different cycles, the complete output often becomes very fragmented rather than one cohesive unit.

· Because the Agile methodology has less formal and more flexible processes, it may not always be easily included in larger and more traditional organizations.

· There may not be a finite end. Given that this methodology focuses mainly on the short term, the risk that the long-term vision will be lost does exist.

· It is difficult to accurately determine the amount of time and money that will be needed to complete the project due to constantly changing requirements.

· A high level of interaction between the client and the developers is required, which can take time and make the development process difficult.


Agile is an umbrella term for a set of methods and practices based on the values and principles expressed in the Agile Manifesto.

Scrum, Kanban and Lean are widely used frameworks in software development.

Scrum- Agile is an approach to project management, and Scrum is a method you can use to implement it. Scrum is an agile way to manage a project. Scrum is an agile framework that organizes work into fixed-length iterations, known as sprints, typically lasting one to four weeks. The team plans the scope and goals of each sprint based on the product backlog, a prioritized list of features and requirements. During the sprint, the team strives to create potentially shippable increments of the product. Daily stand-up meetings, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives are conducted to monitor progress, inspect results, and respond to feedback.

Kanban- The kanban methodology is a visual approach to project management. Kanban is a visual-based agile framework with a focus on optimizing the flow of work in a continuous delivery manner rather than following fixed iterations. The name is literally billboard in Japanese. It helps manage workflow by placing tasks on a kanban board where workflow and progress are clear to all team members. A kanban board displays the stages of the workflow and the status of each work item. The team pulls work from the backlog to the board, and moves it across the stages until it is done.

Lean- Lean is a philosophy and set of principles that seek to maximize customer value and minimize waste in any process or system. It is not a specific agile framework, but rather a mindset and culture that can be applied to any framework, such as scrum or kanban. Lean scheduling focuses on quickly and frequently delivering value to the customer while eliminating activities or resources that do not contribute to value creation. Lean approaches are typically able to accelerate the process by focusing only on what is required, lowering project cost and time.


Scrum is focused on improving efficiency with strict cyclical sprints. Kanban creates flexible projects that can accommodate frequent changes. Lean development eliminates waste of any kind, both in the product and the process.


Conclusion –

Waterfall is a better method when a project must meet strict regulations as it requires deliverables for each phase before proceeding to the next one. Alternatively, Agile is better suited for teams that plan on moving fast, experimenting with direction and don't know how the final project will look before they start.

There are many more methodologies and types of project management than listed here. The type of project management used depends on the preference of the project manager or the company whose project is being managed.


Resources –

· https://www.toptal.com/project-managers/agile/project-management-blueprint-part-1-agile-scrum-kanban-lean




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