Abstract

The article substantiates the need to implement hybrid project management methodologies. The organization of hybrid project management is presented. An analysis of the main advantages of hybrid project management based on a combination of a thorough classical approach to work planning with dynamic product development in flexible environments is given. The main provisions of the hybrid project management Manifesto are outlined. An overview of the main hybrid project management methodologies is presented: the Agile and Waterfall hybrid, ScrumBan, and PMI® PMBOK® and Agile hybrid.

Why Hybrids ?

The emergence of the phenomenon of hybrid project management methodologies on the market is an obvious consequence of the competition between flexible and classical methods. The discussion about comparing the advantages of flexible and classic project management has been going on for several years. Agile proponents claim that short sprints help teams focus on priority tasks and detect problems much faster when creating products. In addition, Agile can respond faster to market changes and help you bring products to market faster. Proponents of classical project management argue that large integration projects that combine several different areas of work require traditional methods, such as waterfall.

The truth is always somewhere in the middle. The best method used depends on the size and complexity of the project.

Combining the two methods of project management is known as a hybrid project management.

In recent publications, there is a stable classification of three approaches to project management:

  • predictive (classic)
  • iterative (flexible)
  • hybrid

How is hybrid project management organized?

The hybrid approach includes all the key principles and elements defined in both flexible and traditional methods.

The hybrid method uses the classic method of decomposing work into smaller managed components to build a hierarchical structure of the project’s works – the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). When a project uses several areas of work, each of which is represented by a specific branch of the WBS, one branch (software development) can be performed using Agile, and the other branches (hardware delivery, deployment of local networks, training of end users of products) – using the waterfall model (Waterfall). Waterfall is used to determine the path from requirements and specifications to product development, testing, and final release for the customer. Each component is then developed in more detail using a flexible project management method.

WBS can be used for planning a high – level project roadmap, and Agile can be used for developing, refining, and releasing each component and sub-component of a product.

What is the obvious advantage of the hybrid approach?

The beauty of a hybrid approach to project management is that all high-level tasks, their relationships (dependencies) and the delivery of the final product are defined using the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Agile is used to speed up the development of each component and its sub-component (increment) in the project product. The hybrid approach improves product quality, reduces development time, and accelerates response to market changes. Following the classical methods of constructing WBS using the decomposition method, the project goal is divided into sub-goals, tasks, and work packages that have an average duration of 2 weeks /3/. Since the product components are divided into two – week work packages for the release of product increments (sprints), then all the methods used for flexible project management are applied.

The new approach, which combines flexibility and waterfall, will be a much more effective option for most complex integration projects.

Hybrid project management Manifesto

A document called the Hybrid project management Manifesto formalizes some practices that combine both methodologies /1/.

This document describes:

  • Guidelines for hybrids
  • Roles and responsibilities for Project Managers and Scrum Masters
  • Hybrid processes
  • Evaluation of hybrid software

Definition

Hybrid project management combines formal and flexible methods to create a new project management method. Hybrid uses the thoroughness of Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) with the speed and effective advantages of Agile for a new project management method that is both detailed and fast. It is the combination of a thorough classical approach to building a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) using the decomposition method /2/ with dynamic development of product increments in Agile that is the main advantage of the hybrid approach. Most projects benefit from using a hybrid project management method.

Guidelines

  • The hybrid project is managed by a Project Manager using the classic WBS construction method, who is generally responsible for the project /3/.
  • Scrum Masters support the Project Manager by performing each Agile Sprint.
  • Continuous group collaboration is required for continuous reporting, analysis, and analysis by management.

Roles and responsibilities

  • The project Manager assumes the role of Product Owner. In the hybrid project management method, the Project Manager is considered the owner of the project business.
  • Scrum Masters are directly responsible for different project segments.
  • The Project Manager has overall responsibility for the project and responsibility for the product.
  • The Project Manager primarily handles the project interface (product requirements, customer feedback, component definition, and WBS)
  • Scrum Masters are responsible for the project flow backend (backlogs, sprints, and releases).
  • The Project Manager creates a team consisting of a Scrum Master and product developers
  • Each Scrum Master creates its own team based on product requirements and delivery times.

Hybrid Project Management Workflow

The diagram for hybrid project management workflow is shown below.

Figure 1 – hybrid project management Diagram

Components are individual product modules based on the product’s technical requirements. For example, a mobile phone has electronics, display, WI-FI, and software components. A software product can have a user interface, business logic, and communication components. Product requirements determine which components should be developed.

Main Hybrid project management methodologies: Agile and Waterfall Hybrid, ScrumBan, PMI® PMBOK® and Agile Hybrid

Hybrid Project Management Workflow

Flexible and traditional project management structures, such as Waterfall, are not mutually exclusive. Many organizations can benefit significantly from integrating multiple approaches. By studying the strengths of each method, opportunities for integration open up.

Agile, for example, allows you to:

  • Fast iterations
  • Frequent releases
  • Continuous user feedback during the project

At the same time, one of the advantages of the waterfall methodology is detailed planning and quality assurance efforts at the beginning of the project lifecycle. By integrating this strategy into the Agile development process, teams can reduce the number of significant errors for the end user, while facilitating rapid iteration and user feedback. Organizations can fully customize the degree of mixed integration to meet the needs of their team members and stakeholders.

Organizations that mix these approaches can do this by breaking projects into small tasks and stages. Each task can be completed using different methodologies (!). Some elements, such as document requirements, planning the initial project plan, conducting full pre-testing, and launching the final project, often work well within the Waterfall approach. However, product development can use the strengths of Agile – two-week sprints, continuous testing, and analysis of user feedback.

For example, organizations can choose a model that includes both methodologies in their processes, such as:

  • Development of product requirements and user interviews [Waterfall]
  • Creating source of User Interface designs and frameworks [Waterfall]
  • 1-or 2-week software development and design cycles [Agile]
  • Testing, creating increments, applying feedback before beta testing [Agile]
  • Conducting beta testing [Agile]
  • Launch of the final version of a product [Waterfall]

Recommendations for creating a Hybrid:

  • trust the team-Agile: the trust environment encourages team members to experiment, be creative, and discover effectiveness during development.
  • face-to-face communications help encourage collaboration and teamwork. Daily meetings, such as quick 15-minute reviews with all team members, help keep everyone “on the same page” and work together.
  • listen to interested clients to ensure fast and clear project direction. Their feedback is invaluable and should be recorded and applied after each iterative cycle.
  • expand team capabilities-encourage team members to help with planning. Ask them for their opinions on strategies and workflows. Promote the growth and empowerment of team members.
  • prepare for changes – be ready to track changes in the requirements and expectations of the customer and end – users of the project product.

Each method-both Agile and Waterfall – offers a structure that allows the project to move forward, but together they can increase flexibility in meeting project budgets and deadlines.

ScrumBan

A solution that, on the one hand, allows you to avoid detailed planning, be focused on the frequent appearance of urgent tasks and, most importantly, visualize and optimize the entire technological chain of developing user stories using the Kanban methodology. One of the reasons for this Hybrid is that many teams that are trying to implement and effectively use Scrum quickly become disillusioned with this methodology because it does not support their features, for example:

  • frequent unplanned tasks (task flow) displace planned tasks in the sprint and destroy sprint goals. It turns out that the customer needs everything at once: both urgent tasks and development according to the plan, but Scrum is focused on development in small portions according to the plan
  • the presence of complex (or poorly developed) tasks consumes a lot of the team’s working time
  • some team members are idle while others are overloaded, because the team is poorly balanced in terms of the required project roles

On the other hand, there are many useful and popular practices in Scrum, such as:

  • separation of roles (cross-functional self-developing team, Product Owner, Scrum Master)
  • lightweight requirements development in the form of user stories with the participation of the customer (or product owner)
  • daily stand – UPs
  • testing by acceptance criteria of stories

Changes that the team needs to consider in order to switch to ScrumBan:

• all technological stages should be clearly visible on the Task Board: analysis, development, testing, integration, etc.

• for each state, you need to set WIP limits (Work In Progress, number of stories in the work), which will create a comfortable working environment and identify bottlenecks in the process, using the “Flow Chart”

• the main control tool is the “Average problem solving time” report, which must continuously decrease or remain at a reasonable minimum in order to maintain a high speed of problem solving on the flow

• if necessary, you can evaluate certain stories or tasks, plan for sprints, and calculate the speed so that you can later use it to evaluate the timing of new functionality

• all project roles and their areas of responsibility are defined by the Scrum methodology, and the Scrum Master conducts daily Sand – UPs (short 10 – to 15-minutes “fly-in” meetings) and retrospectives at the end of sprints to improve the process.

PMI® PMBOK®and Agile Hybrid

On the first pages Of the PMI® PMBOK® 6th Edition Standard, there is a “call” to combine the classic and flexible approach: “FIND YOUR MIX”! /3/. Simultaneously with the release of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition PMI® published the Agile Practice Guide developed by PMI® in conjunction with the Agile Alliance®.

PMBOK® is focused on managing project deadlines and budgets with a fixed project scope, so:

  • if the scope of the project is changed, the project schedule and budget must be changed

Agile is focused on managing project scope with a fixed time frame and budget, so:

  • project execution is reduced to a series of short cycles called iterations, which usually last two to three weeks
  • each iteration itself looks like a mini-project and includes all the tasks necessary to produce a specific result for the functionality
  • at the end of each iteration, the team reassesses development priorities

Features of applying processes from all ten Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK® 6th Edition Standard in flexible / adaptive Environments /3/:

  PMI® PMBOK® 6th Edition Knowledge Area         Features of application in flexible / adaptive Environments  
Project Integration ManagementDelegating control over detailed product planning to team members (features) Providing an environment for collective decision-making on change management Development of joint decision-making with the growth of competencies and complementarity of team members
Project Scope ManagementRefusal of detailed planning of the project scope at its early stages, followed by continuous examination and refinement of the scope (ongoing scope discovery and refinement) Continuous refinement of the rapidly changing requirements of the project
Project Schedule ManagementShort time cycles to complete work, review results, and make necessary improvements Providing fast feedback and iterative planning to meet emerging requests (on-demand scheduling)
Project Cost ManagementIn projects with a high degree of uncertainty and frequently changing scope, detailed cost planning on the initial phase does not make sense. Instead the behavior is used to quickly approximate the cost of the required resources and then refine the cost in response to emerging changes in the requirements and scope of the project  
Project Quality ManagementWhen managing emerging changes, frequent reviews of the project quality are conducted based on the results of short-term, small amounts of work, which allows you to eliminate the drop in quality at an early stage and reduce the cost of quality management of the entire project  
Project Resources ManagementSelf-organizing cross-functional project teams provide effective exchange of knowledge and opinions in making collective decisions, flexibility in assigning responsibilities    
Project Communications ManagementThe uncertainty of the project content and the high dynamics of events dictate the need for frequent, short and fast communications between team members and key stakeholders. There is a need to ensure maximum co-location of team members for frequent face-to-face meetings  
Project Risk ManagementThe high degree of uncertainty in the scope of the project and its rapid changes dictates the need to identify, analyze and manage risks at each iteration of product development. Updates to project and product requirements can lead to changes in work priorities based on risk impact  
Project Procurement ManagementCollaborative decision making can lead to the sharing of risks and opportunities between the customer and the project procurement provider  
Project Stakeholders ManagementDirect horizontal regular interactions, contacts and communications between key stakeholders (customers, sponsors, developers) replace vertical subordination and reporting between management and employees. Transparency of stakeholder interaction accelerates the exchange of information, decision-making and increases the level of involvement of stakeholders in the project implementation  

Conclusion

The emergence of the phenomenon of hybrid project management methodologies on the market is an obvious consequence of the competition between flexible and classical methods. The hybrid approach includes all the key principles and elements defined in both flexible and traditional methods. The beauty of the hybrid approach to project management is that all high-level tasks, their relationship (dependencies) and the delivery of the final product are determined using the classic method of developing a hierarchical structure of project works. Agile is then used to speed up the development of each component and its sub-component (increment) in the project product.

The hybrid approach improves product quality, reduces development time, and accelerates response to market changes. A hybrid of Agile and Waterfall increases flexibility in meeting project budgets and deadlines. The ScrumBan hybrid allows you to visualize and optimize the entire technological chain of developing user stories using the Kanban methodology. The PMBOK®– Agile hybrid provides recommendations for applying processes from all ten knowledge areas of the PMBOK® 6th Edition Standard in flexible / adaptive environments.

List of sources used:

  1. Hybrid project management Manifesto.  https://www.binfire.com/hybrid-project-management-manifesto/
  2. Павлов А. Н. Эффективное управление проектами на основе стандарта PMI PMBOK 6th Edition. Лаборатория Знаний, 2018, 4-е Издание.
  3. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), 6th Edition, 2017.

About author

Dr. Alexander N. Pavlov

PhD, PMP®, CPM®

Project Management School

Founder and Head

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

Associate Professor

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