What Is Hybrid Project Management? A Complete Guide

Hybrid Project Management

If you have never heard of the hybrid project management approach and think it’d be complex and confusing, we promise it won’t.

Before expanding over hybrid project management, let’s get a few other basic terminologies right. Project managers must think ahead and cease adhering to only one methodology in today’s competitive business field. There are many project management methodologies, but managers need to understand the best practices for each and determine which is right for them.

Each project management methodology works differently, allowing managers to work out the best strategies to combine them and accommodate every project need. Regardless of the needs and requirements, Waterfall and Agile methodologies remain the most popular techniques.

hybrid project management

What is hybrid project management?

Hybrid project management is a technique where high-level project phases are planned using the waterfall method, and project phase work (actual tasks) is carried out using the agile methodology.

Integrating Agile and Waterfall into one or Scrum and Kanban into a single one can be called hybrid project management.

  • Agile + Waterfall to produce Agile-waterfall or Waterfall-agile hybrid project management
  • Scrum + Kanban to produce Scrumban or Kanban-scrum hybrid project management

However, obtaining this combination is not straightforward; thus, one must follow specific standards.

Waterfall methodology

When managers choose a Waterfall project management approach, they focus on the linear progression of the project from its launch to its close.

Waterfall methodology

Project engineers often adopt the waterfall project management method because it requires caution during planning. Every phase demands detailed documentation and successive execution.

Agile methodology 

Agile methodology is the opposite of the Waterfall approach. Instead of adopting a linear sequence, the project manager breaks it into multiple independent phases. The manager organizes the agile project management tools required and releases the teams responsible for each stage to launch the project. Consistent collaboration is required with every stakeholder, and multiple improvements can be made at every step.

agile project management methodology

Planning, evaluation, and execution are done as the project progresses. The project’s end goal is to deliver value to customers, which is why stakeholder collaboration is unnecessary.

Agile-Waterfall or Waterfall-Agile project management methodologies

Combining Agile and Waterfall to create a hybrid approach is an intelligent strategy. A hybrid project management approach ensures the organization retains clarity derived from Waterfall and Agile’s flexibility and adaptability features.

Yes, It is perfectly possible to combine and blend project management methodologies, but organizations must understand how to make them co-exist. Agile project management is adopted for projects with a higher probability of change and uncertainties.

Waterfall-agile hybrid project management methodologies

The Waterfall methodology is adopted for projects with a clear timeline that is predictable and stable. When deciding whether to use Agile or Waterfall, an organization must consider these critical questions.

  • Does the organization clearly understand the activities that require action?
  • Is there a specific timeline or date by which the project must be completed?
  • Will the requirements change or remain constant?

If an organization can undoubtedly answer these questions, it can effectively decide whether to adopt a hybrid approach. Other organizations are already using a hybrid approach. However, the organization must first put in place a specific kind of management system. For the two methods to co-exist, there has to be a middle ground between them.

The agile team can be responsible for objectives, delivery timelines, and goals. There should not be any defined project scope. On the other hand, the waterfall team can focus on splitting the scope and working closely with the client to help the team focus on a sequential and linear approach to project tasks. Close collaboration helps ensure the teams work towards one goal and project.

The teams should first appreciate each method’s strong points and identify where the strength lies. The power of agile allows quicker iteration and closely paced releases and feedback. The strength of Waterfall lies in the limitation of errors that can impact the end user. Combining the two requires planning to ensure mistakes are mitigated and schedules are released faster. It creates open feedback opportunities for quick and governed improvements.

Pros and cons of Agile-Waterfall hybrid project management approach

Pros

  • Better cooperation and communication between teams
  • More effective project completion approach
  • The overall cost of the project comes down

Cons

  • Each team must give up some features which might affect overall project quality.
  • Limitation of freedom for the sake of accommodating the other method.

Scrum and Kanban project management methodologies

Scrum and Kanban are popular project development methodologies, but there is always a debate on whether they can be combined. Since they are both agile project management methods, teams often combine them to improve customer satisfaction rates and requirements.

How does Kanban work? 

Kanban is built on three principles: Meeting client needs, visualizing workflow and limiting ongoing work. Developers prefer the method because it involves the customer in every phase.

Kanban Board

This hybrid project management approach is based on the belief that the client owns the project and his input is crucial in every phase. The team develops according to the customer’s mind, and they must not influence him. Workflow visualization is done using charts, diagrams, and tables.

How does Scrum work?

Scrum leverages iterative project cycles, also known as sprints. The timeline for each sprint takes about 1 to 4 weeks to complete. The total number of tasks performed per sprint is called a backlog.

Testing has to be done after each sprint. If any bugs or defects are detected, they are addressed before moving to the next phase. In this method, customer involvement is high too.

Scrumban methodology

Scrumban is the hybrid project management methodology achieved after combining Scrum and Kanban. It involves the reduction of total meetings, roles, and artifacts. The team only works with priority tasks in each sprint. They resolve to meet daily to inform each other and identify challenges.

scrumban

There should be other review meetings to ensure delivery is on course. The hybrid approach identifies the product owner as the client who must pinpoint all features that will enhance productivity.

The project manager usually appoints a Scrum master and a development team. In a Scrumban hybrid approach, the features of each method are brought on board. This methodology requires that we must compromise some features to accommodate others. The agreed strategies must portray natural progression and consciously decide to seek answers to specific problems.

A Scrumban approach requires a high level of transparency and self-managed solid teams. It requires an agile planning approach, well-defined work packages, and different types of iterations.

5 Steps of Scrumban 

  1. Creating a Scrumban board
  2. Setting your team’s work limits
  3. Identifying the team’s priorities on the board
  4. Removing planning poker cards
  5. Setting daily meetings

online scrum board

Pros and cons of Scrumban hybrid project management approach 

Pros

  1. Can help with maintaining ongoing projects when there’s no exact deadline for work completion
  2. It is a good replacement when traditional Scrum methodology doesn’t work
  3. It gives more flexibility to the team by providing decision-making freedom and encouraging teamwork

Cons

  1. Lack of instructions about the method since it is new
  2. It is more difficult to track because of the autonomy given to teams
  3. It doesn’t match the over-controlling management style

Hybrid project management: Best practices for project managers

Hybrid project management requires particular skills to implement successfully in your company. You may be provided with all necessary resources, such as financing, human resource, consultants, and experts. If the project needs skillful and well-coordinated management, it might collapse, fail to meet its goals, go over timelines, or overrun the budget. For you to succeed, you require these project management skills and expertise.

1. Have Leadership and product ownership abilities

Many challenges arise during project progress; with your leadership, they can succeed. Integrity is required from you, but you must practice it with honesty. You must be willing to share the vision with the entire team. Develop strong decision-making skills, and be a multitasker.

Learn to delegate, build your team and solve problems as they arise. You need to develop product knowledge to manage and give guidance successfully. Develop technical knowledge, product features, benefits, and uses, train your teams about the product, and offer hands-on experience.

2. Focus on Team building and communication skills

There should be enhanced relationships within your teams to build cohesiveness and unity. A strong squad freely expresses ideas, speaks out their opinions without fear, raises concerns, offers help, and stretches out to solve conflicts. Engage your team in team-building activities.

To build your communication skills:

  1. Train yourself to listen and listen again
  2. Show interest in listening to the person communicating with you, whether it’s face-to-face, through chats, emails, video calls, or telephone calls
  3. Develop good body language and learn to write down what is said
  4. Take your time before you speak

3. Empower your Analytical skills

When you develop your analytical skills, you become an expert in observing, investigating, and interpreting situations. You can build inspiration from complicated ideas and get solutions. You should first identify the problem and then gather enough information about it.

Consider all possible solutions and test them to see how well they work, such as doing a post-analysis and applying the new ideas to documenting everything and presenting it to the customer.

Documentation should include the cost, scope, timeline, goals, and deliverables. IT proficiency to ensure your team has optimal IT structures, technical support, and security

Your teams will be consulting with you often especially concerning technical issues, the use of project management tools, and many other issues. IT proficiency is critical to help you understand project structures, offer support, focus on project security and ensure smooth IT disaster recovery in the worst-case scenario.

There are several ways to improve your IT proficiency. Upskill your current skills and take keen note of your weak areas. Seek to advance education, whether it means taking a short online course or consulting with IT experts for mentorship. Begin to gain hands-on knowledge by trying to solve IT issues.

Hardware and software security is crucial for effective project management. Even if your team is using the safest hardware like Mac, you still need to check it regularly for possible vulnerabilities and remove potential threats. This will prevent your project from data breaches or the company’s money loss. You can check more info on how to check your Mac device for junk files that can be potentially dangerous.

4. Produce project management reports that show ROI

To successfully develop a report, you need to understand the entire project planning. Gather the right tools to help you generate a report and make sure everything is documented from the start to the end. The documented data will help you prepare a report that includes return on investment. Take the total investment cost and divide it by the net gain to calculate the ROI.

5. Making both project management methodologies work in tandem

Hybrid project management seeks to provide fresh, adaptable solutions to organizations. Managers must know how to strike a balance between methods depending on the nature of a project. They need to use the ones with the least risk and maximum value.

6. Identify which elements to use at which stages of a project

The key elements of a project are initiation, planning, implementation, and completion. You can research several project management examples to help you understand which elements fall under which phase. List all requirements in each project phase and detail the scope of each. Document all deliverables in detail, timelines, and risk assessment report. Focus on the need at the moment and allocate resources to it.

7. Check whether additional software may be necessary

Project management software is necessary because it helps keep track of all project tasks. There are different types of project management software, but each is used to meet a specific need. Some are used for scheduling meetings, collaborating, documenting, and managing resources. As the project progresses, you might realize you need apps such as issue-tracking software or desktop software. Establish the need and source for the software.

8. Set aside time for training

Project managers should invest in training because it minimizes setbacks and controls costs. The best approach is to offer structured training where you provide a detailed schedule, activity details, responsibilities, and timelines. Clearly define the training goals and communicate in advance. The exercise produces better success and engagement.

Suppose your role is more specific, and you work with marketing project management. You might need specialized software for managing creative teams, scheduling email marketing campaigns, or Kanban-based planning.

9. Review projects to see what works well and what could be done better

Decide the type of review you want to conduct. You can do a review after every phase of the project or wait until it is complete to review. During the review, take note of any gaps and decide whether the project objectives were met. Measure how well the customer was satisfied and the costs against benefits. Take note of any shortcomings, lessons learned, and future adjustments.

Conclusion

Combining hybrid project management methodologies and skills gives project managers the strict processes and flexibility they need. This can help a team to reach project goals faster with superior results and at a lower cost.

If you are looking for a better project management solution that allows your team to maximize resource use for the best returns, Nifty is the right choice for you.