Tips for Project Managers – How to Implement the Hybrid Methodology

First of all, let’s make it clear if the hybrid is a new methodology. It’s sort of a fusion between two known methodologies and it was practiced by experienced project managers for many years before the name “Hybrid Project Management” gained acceptance.

Today, Hybrid is gaining traction with both academia and professionals. This new way of doing things is best known for its short focus on product/service features and a long one on the final result. A point of difference in comparison with other methodologies is that a Hybrid can be used by all industries. Its advantages are that makes product delivery faster, exposes issues much earlier and the final result is always better. When talking about its disadvantages, not many have been found by now as the hybrid approach includes the best principles and elements identified in both Agile and traditional methods. However, very small projects might not get the most advantage with a hybrid method.

As both Agile and Waterfall have their strengths and weakness, and each one is convenient for different scenarios, many managers are keen on using different aspects of Agile and Waterfall. That is why Hybrid Project Management thrives nowadays. It combines the formal and agile methods with a goal to create a brand new, flexible and overall project management method, detailed and fast.

Why Hybrid?

In time and with the growth of project complexity, companies needed to find a way to calibrate frameworks based on the requirements, the project, and the client. A hybrid framework is in itself repetitive in the development stage, but it starts out as sequential, which makes it easy to monitor and follow the project’s workflow.

It’s simple. The rising uncertainty and complexity in competitive markets, as well as high client expectations are what prompted the development of Hybrid Methodology. This lead to the need for defining its basic 3 principles:

  • In its essence, it can be compatible with any industry and team of any size
  • Blending happens at the beginning of the project
  • Responsibility needs to be clearly defined

The hybrid methodology encourages the fluidity of projects, allowing a more adept and nuanced approach to the work, as it can be applied to the full job or specific aspects of the project.

Hybrid Project Management Guiding Principles

  • Project Manager, who has overall ownership and responsibility for the project, is managing a Hybrid project by using the WBS methodology – Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a method of determining processes and tasks that can be worked on independently of one another in a simultaneous fashion. Once the project scope is defined, the use of a WBS makes it easier for tasks to be completed, especially if using the critical path method (CPM).
  • Scrum Masters support the Project Manager by executing each Agile Sprint.
  • Continuous Team Collaboration works for ongoing reporting, analysis and management review.

Hybrid Planning Phase

In Agile, the first sprint is the only one planned. On the other hand, in the Waterfall – the entire project plan is scoped and planned even before the project starts.

When it comes to Hybrid Project Management, this method requires a complete project plan. However, each sprint’s specific details are not defined until the first sprint is completed. It is the Project Manager’s responsibility to oversee overall Planning and each Sprint is managed by the Scrum Master.

As a matter of fact, there are many ways to apply the hybrid method. Traditional and agile approaches can work in parallel in different business units or even mixed within one project. The only important thing to follow is to introduce a method step by step and finding a good team rhythm for the project.

The Hybrid Project Management Components:

  • To define a project completely a WBS: Work Breakdown Structure can be used – these are tools like Gantt charts, subtasks, milestones.
  • In the Agile segment – To show each task’s position during the project development cycle – a Kanban Board is used.
  • Collaboration – Real-time status notifications and updates for the entire team is required, together with the integration into high-level project plans to management review at any time.

Actually, the Hybrid was born out of necessity to vary in the form of doing things. That is why it is created when the most common project management practices are decomposed into their fundamental elements called approaches. The company project manager can then pick and choose the hybrid method as it fits their needs, by taking the best parts of both Waterfall and Agile, combining them in a flexible but structured approach used on many different projects.

Tips on Implementing the Hybrid

Why do we say TIPS when there is one golden rule anyone should follow when using any hybrid methodology?

Because, if you get this one right, you will get them all. So, read carefully:

Maintaining synchronization is the hardest and most important thing.

This is why we are putting special focus on it. To get there, especially within a mixed environment, a PM must take good care of communication between the members of a team as well as between different teams.

We will not lie. Sometimes (read: almost always) the synchronization and communication between teams will differ, depending on the level of dependencies between them.

That is why it is so important to categorize teams by their dependence. This way, you can have an independent team, low dependency teams, and high dependency teams. Along with this distribution, approaches are created for how the releases can best be synchronized. Provide detailed mapping into touch-points and meetings required, ranging from minimal for independent teams to frequent for high dependency teams. Let the communication live to its fullest and you won’t have any trouble jumping into the hybrid method.

Especially if you recognize the need to use tools that will provide metrics and reporting at the release, product, and portfolio levels. With that kind of help, a PMO (even those with a little or none experience) will be able to properly monitor the projects.

How can Project Managers benefit from using specialized software like Teodesk for this methodology?

  • Structured planning is easily combined with flexibility

With the use of Teodesk, you can have a structured plan for your project, while also having the possibility to implement changes with no more than a few clicks. At any time you’ll be able to track changes in due dates, updates when it comes to documentation and resources that are being used.

  • The previous work is searchable and easily accessible

Why start planning from scratch if you already have a similar project in your portfolio? Teodesk boards allow you to have all of your previous work stored in a way that makes it easily reachable for when you’re starting out a new project.

Other than that, the expectations of investors and stakeholders can be managed with real-time information and delegation and progress tracking is centralized and transparent.

What more can you want? Go Hybrid!

 

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