Project managers can use different approaches and models to managing different types of projects. However, the two most common approaches to managing a project include agile and waterfall approaches.
Each of these models has its advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of both the approaches to determining which one is a winner when it comes to managing a project.
Waterfall Project Management
Waterfall project management approach was put forward by Winston W. Royce in 1970. In this approach, each stage of the lifecycle occurs in sequence (one after the other). The project progresses through different stages like a waterfall cascading down the stream. The approach also introduced a modern method for system analysis and design.
Project managers were quick to adopt the system as it seemed intuitive: everything flowed logically from one project to the next. The central premise of the waterfall approach is that the majority of effort and time should be spent upfront. It argued that since around 20 to 40 percent of the time and cost is incurred in initial phases of the project. It is well suited for projects where quality rather than time and cost is the main requirement.
The benefit of the waterfall approach is that it is simple to implement. Furthermore, project complexity is reduced since the project phases are not overlapped.
Moreover, the waterfall approach results in high visibility of the deliverables. The clients can see results at different stages of the project. This results in efficient communication with the clients that increases the chance of project success.
The problem with the waterfall approach to managing the project is that it is only suitable for projects where the project requirements are well defined. It cannot be used effectively for complex projects with undefined end delivery. The approach is also not suitable for large or long duration projects.
Agile Project Management
The agile approach is also known as scrum project management. The approach favors linear process instead of an iterative one. With this approach, there is no extensive planning upfront. The method allows cross-functional team management and flexible process. At the end of every stage, work is reviewed and feedback taken from the client.
The benefit of this approach is that there is greater collaboration between the stakeholders. Also, changes are incorporated at different stages of the project. It provides the opportunity for continuous improvement and transparent process.
The disadvantage of the approach is that it is often more complex as compared to the simple waterfall approach. Also, the emphasis is on the execution of the project with less consideration to planning and documentation. If not implemented correctly, it can result in great inefficiencies.
Having said all that, the best approach will differ from project to project. Whatever approach that you implement, it’s important to use the right work management software. Make sure that the team management software allows efficient collaboration between the team members. In this context, it’s recommended to use online project management software that lets you to update deliverables in real-time and allows team members to access it anytime and from anywhere.