There is a reason inventors are always trying to build a better mousetrap. It is because there is no one perfect approach to catching mice. One person wants the humane line of attack while the next is looking for the most practical. The same could be said of IT project management. There are many variables to consider. One process involves sequential design while the next is more practice based. The fact is that neither of these two methodologies is perfect in every situation. The key might be to find a middle ground.
Project Management Schematics
Start by picking one of the two processes to build on to maintain control. Without structuring the project based on one model, there is a risk of chaos.
The agile model is easier to judge. It is a process of building and testing one step at a time. The designers complete one stage before going on to the next. It is similar to creating a house of cards. The player will fully construct one level and make sure it is stable before moving on to the next layer.
The waterfall approach is more conceptual. It involves phases that include initiation, analysis, design, and construction. This approach looks more at the whole project as opposed to the individual layers.
Judging whether the agile model works for a project is a starting point. If it is possible to break the project down into bite-sized pieces, this model may be the most effective means. Complex scenarios will often not work this way, however. The waterfall model is the traditional route. Defined phases set in chronological order help to discipline the design structure.
Finding Middle Ground
Ideally, the framework might be a hybrid of the two styles – an iterative waterfall. The goal is to combine the two methodologies to come up with a format that fits the individual job. This allows for increased flexibility moving from project to project.
Evolution is a natural process for most scenarios and that includes project management. Growth is really the point of planning anything. There is no right or wrong answer to management style. It all depends on the needs of the job. If project management were a mousetrap, the design team would consider the mouse in the equation. Is the mouse likely to fall for the traditional model, or is it a genius that will beat the mainstream odds every time?