I recently attended a two-day workshop to help me get certified as a Scrum master. What made this class interesting is that I am a “traditionalist” — a project manager who leads and manages projects using the waterfall approach. This was going to be a whole new ballgame for me.
While I am not particularly new to the concepts of agile, I was looking forward to learning the extended basic agile concepts, frameworks and skill sets, and learning to apply those skills.
Surprisingly, I understood more of Scrum than I thought I would and realized I was already implementing some agile principles into my waterfall projects. Most importantly, I realized that the debates surrounding waterfall versus Scrum may just be full of hot air.
The focus of those arguments is that one approach is categorically better than the other in all circumstances. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Traditional and agile frameworks are neither better nor worse than the other. But, either could be completely disastrous for a project if applied broadly.
One of the most important ideas I took away was the idea of ‘appropriateness.’ Scrum is about finding the right level of planning, documentation, velocity of task output, cost and schedule — and not just per project, but per team. It’s not about what is ‘best,’ but what is appropriate and suitably fits the set of circumstances at hand.
I began to think that if all project managers embraced this idea of using an appropriate approach instead of the perceived ‘best’ approach, projects could potentially get along much better than they currently are.
I think that what is appropriate for a project could be waterfall, it could be agile or it could be a hybrid. And that would mean project managers would have to be well versed in all kinds of approaches and understand several project management languages.
At the end of the two days, and after an online assessment, I became certified as a Scrum master, but I think I became more than that. I got better at being able to identify what a project needs and what a team needs. Now, I have a few choices as to which approach is appropriate to meet those needs and ensure success.
Do you think there can be a hybrid?
The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.
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