What is hybrid project management?
Hybrid project management is a fairly new term. It means that two (or more) different management approaches are combined in one project. Mostly it is about a combination of classical and agile project management.
Classical project management
In traditional project management, projects follow a clear and strict plan. All sub-projects and work packages are defined in advance and specified in terms of time, budget and scope. The project team is tasked with following the plan as closely as possible. The individual work packages are worked through one by one. Important project progress is marked as milestones and the result is handed over at the end.
- Clear project result
Agile project management
Agile project management is a philosophy that focuses on dynamic, lean and customer-oriented planning. According to the popular Scrum methodology, tasks are each combined into intermediate results in short, iterative cycles (sprints). After completion of a sprint, the result is evaluated and the next sprint is planned. Time and costs are fixed in advance, but the type and scope of the project deliverables can vary.
- Close to the customer
Advantages and challenges of hybrid project management
Hybrid project management is one thing above all: pragmatic – because it uses proven management approaches, but recognizes that theory often cannot be transferred one-to-one to practice:
- Projects usually cannot be perfectly planned in advance using classic methods. Circumstances and challenges always arise to which one must react flexibly outside of the project plan.
- Projects must be of a certain nature that they can be implemented in pure agile form (e.g., research projects or software development). In most cases, project teams have to deviate from the “pure doctrine” at one point or another.
Hybrid project management tries to get around this issue by giving companies the freedom to combine classic and agile methods in the way that best suits their needs. This is “cherry-picking” in the best sense of the word, because it allows project managers to make use of tools from both worlds. This allows them to work in a plan-driven and structured manner without having to neglect flexibility and customer proximity.
Of course, hybrid project management also poses challenges. On the one hand, project managers and team members must be familiar with both classic and agile project methods. It therefore requires a high level of methodological knowledge.
On the other hand, the structures, especially at the “transition points” between the classic and agile worlds, must be clearly defined and understandable. A software solution for project management helps here, because it can provide a uniform framework.
How does hybrid project management work?
Hybrid project management can mean a variety of different process models. The “Water-Scrum” variant (a combination of the waterfall model and Scrum), for example, means classic rough planning based on time, budget and capacities with agile implementation in the form of sprints. Such a model is particularly suitable for companies that handle customer orders on a project basis and are in close contact with their customers.
Classical planning of time, budget and capacities
Certain framework conditions are typically specified by a customer order. These include the time horizon available for the project and the budget. In addition, the contractor typically has limited resources available for this and other projects. For service companies, these are primarily the available staff capacity.
To set the framework for the project, classic project planning is suitable. Order items can be converted into work packages, and planned times and budgets can be assigned. In the next step, the project manager can then compare these with the available capacities.
Project execution with agile sprints
One could now also carry out project execution with the help of a classic waterfall model. In this case, dependencies are defined and the individual work packages are processed sequentially until the finished project result is achieved.
Frequently, however, the client and contractor are in close contact during the project, requirements change, goals are adjusted, or approaches to solutions are reconsidered. In such a case, traditional project management would be out of place, because it does not foresee any significant changes after the initial project planning. It assumes that the project result and all steps leading to it are known in advance. Changes are only necessary if something does not go according to plan.
However, the reality is often different. Usually, the project team only knows the rough goal at the beginning, and then over time, the team members work their way closer and closer to the end result. An agile methodology such as Scrum or Kanban is ideally suited for this. It leaves enough planning freedom to dynamically adapt requirements and solution approaches, but at the same time ensures that the individual interim results lead in the right direction (i.e., the direction desired by the customer).
How does projectfacts help me with hybrid project management?
projectfacts combines classic and agile project management in one software. This way, you can create your projects classically with a structure plan and then work through the work packages using agile sprints.
From sprint to sprint
You move those work packages that you want to process in an agile manner into the backlog – in the simplest case, these are all the work packages of the project or a subproject. Typically, filling the backlog is the task of the “product owner”. He determines the goal of the project and specifies the tasks until then. If the project is an external assignment, the product owner is in close contact with the customer to regularly ensure that requirements have been captured correctly and that interim results meet the customer’s requirements.
In the next step, the project manager plans the sprints. You can choose between weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sprint cycles. The software automatically divides the period between the start of the plan and the completion date into the desired sprint cycles. Work packages that are to be completed next can be moved to the next active sprint. You use the capacity display to ensure that the effort planned for a sprint can be handled with the available personnel resources.
Depending on the philosophy, the project manager distributes the tasks or the team members themselves choose what they work on next. The sprint view allows project managers and product owners to monitor progress. They can see the status of individual work packages and (thanks to integrated time tracking) also how much time has already been spent on a particular task. In this way, you ensure that all project tasks are completed on time and that time and costs remain within budget.
Via a central dashboard, the task manager, you can see how many work packages are still in the backlog, how many have already been completed and how much time has been spent on them. It also alerts you to potential planning errors and budget overruns.
Outline of the process
The following overview outlines how you manage your hybrid projects with projectfacts:
- Create project: First, create the project you want to manage hybrid. For this purpose, you can create a new project or transfer an existing order into a project. In doing so, all order items are automatically transferred to the project as work packages.
- Develop a basic concept: Specify the project budget and the time frame. In the next step, estimate the planned effort for all the work packages.
- Create resource plan: If you link your project to a capacity, you can define the project team and view or define the capacities available for the project. (Alternatively, you can also link the capacity to a milestone and thus combine work packages from several projects instead of a single project. You can learn more about this in the article on project portfolio management).
- Plan backlog and sprints: You use the backlog to define which work packages you want to manage in an agile way. You can either move the entire main project to the backlog or drag and drop those work packages that are to be processed in the next sprint.
- Distribute tasks: Now you can distribute the work packages in your team or the employees register themselves for tasks. In the task manager, team members can view their work packages and change the status.
- Monitor progress: The task manager shows employees their respective work packages. Project managers and product owners use the task manager to track how many work packages are currently in progress, whether there have been budget overruns, and much more.
Try out hybrid project management with projectfacts
If you would like to implement hybrid project management in your company as well, please feel free to contact us. Our consulting team will be happy to support you.
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