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Greg Polec 5 articles
Residence: IT Italy
CCO at Codest / Consultant

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The Unified Project Management Dictionary

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned are the knowledge gained during a project which can be used as references and points of interest for future projects. Lessons learned shows how project events were addressed or should be addressed in the future to improve future response.

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Hybrid ( Waterfall/ Agile), is it a solution or hidden problem?(Greg)

Waterfall - Agile Hybrid. Is it a solution or a hidden problem for your project?

Although the Agile approach is increasingly dominating project management, Waterfall still has its supporters. Occasionally, the Agile and Waterfall approaches can be combined. Are you wondering if a hybrid Waterfall and Agile approach is a good solution for your project or could be a hidden problem? From my perspective, it depends on the project type and your relationships with your clients. I think that if you set understandable rules according to a hybrid solution, then you will have a chance to achieve success. 

Hybrid Waterfall - Agile in a software development perspective 

If I would choose between Agile and Waterfall, I would definitely go for Agile because of my personal experience. We have been using this approach at Codest for years, and I can say that it works very well. This conclusion is based on our experience in the international market with the cooperation of our clients from different industries, such as e-commerce, marketplace, adtech, fintech, proptech, and SaaS. 

Before we start a project, we usually spend a lot of time in convincing our clients that Agile is a better solution compared with Waterfall. You may ask why Agile? I believe that this approach has allowed us to create a product closely related to our clients’ expectations because they actively participate in the development process. We are in constant contact and monitor the progress of our work. In addition, Agile helps in guiding our clients to exactly identify the project they want to undertake. 

Anyway, a hybrid solution may also be a good idea. Waterfall is still used by many managers who want to know the documentation and stick to it from the very beginning of their projects. Thus, how can you combine both approaches? You must focus on obtaining the most important benefits of Agile and Waterfall. I will give you an example. During the project, we can stick to the previously specified documentation, but let us stay flexible to changes. To this end, pay attention to the quality of communication with your client. If you decide that changes should be made to the documentation, then please inform your customer, make sure that everything is accepted by both sides, and then make changes to the documentation. 

You must be aware that hybrid solution carries some dangers. One of them is the lack of precise arrangements as to how much we use Agile and Waterfall. The lack of clear rules may later lead to misunderstandings. That is why I will emphasize the role of communication with your client once again. When you develop software products, your customer must understand that it is impossible to plan everything from beginning to end. If you inform your client that deviations from the underlying documentation may arise during the project and he fully respects it, then you have a good chance of success. In short, both sides must understand their needs and match their own work styles. 

Hybrid solution in practice 

To clarify my point of view, I will show you how the combination of Agile and Waterfall can look in practice. Some time ago, we worked with a client who strongly preferred the Waterfall approach. We did not have regular calls, which made cooperation very difficult. Besides, we did not know whether we are developing the project according to the client’s wishes and whether we are actually meeting his expectations. Then, a decision was made to connect Waterfall and Agile. We contacted the client and presented the situation and our points of view. We explained why Agile makes sense and how it can help us. The client understood our perspective, and we implemented the change. I can assure you that, in this case, the hybrid solution turned out to be a good idea and that the project was successfully completed. 

Hybrid solution - is it worth or not? 

It is worth it, but only if you agree with the client in detail on the terms of cooperation. If the client is determined solely for Waterfall, then talk to him and present the benefits that can be achieved by combining the Waterfall and Agile approaches. I am sure that if you use the right arguments, you will be able to successfully complete the project by choosing a hybrid solution. 

Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Greg Polec