Project Management was once called the ‘accidental profession’ because of the way in which many Project Managers obtained their skills and title. Now Project
Managers have professional training and certification programs to facilitate the delivery of projects across industries that maintain a consistency
of quality. Change is afoot in the field of project management. Change is inevitable in anything we do!
For years, the recommended methodology for attempting to deliver projects on time, on budget and within scope has been a sequential, well-documented and organized method called ‘waterfall’ or predictive methodology. It derived its name from the stair-step, waterfall approach and philosophy to completing each phase of a project (i.e. Discovery, Design, Develop, or Test), before moving on to the next sequential phase. When product options are few or can be clearly defined, this method can work well. Even predictably. However, change or the unknown is waterfall’s nemesis. Depending upon how far over the waterfall’s edge of product development you have jumped, waterfall does not allow for change to the established requirements without significant planning, documentation, rework, testing, time and cost.
Changing to be Agile
In the 1990’s the software development community began to embrace the lean, just-in-time concepts being practiced in manufacturing, forming new project management methodologies. These became known collectively as agile software development methods, picking up on a term coined in the 2001 publication of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Some of the Agile methodologies include Scrum, Lean, Kanban, RAD, XP, etc. They all espouse an iterative and incremental approach to development based upon the client’s/product owner’s priorities.
Agile methods emphasize a few essential principles:
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