The Open Source Project Management Community

PMChat Recap November 18, 2021

Last week on #PMChat we had the honor of having Joel Bancroft-Conners and Hogarth the Gorilla as our expert guests for a conversation about Project Management Methodologies. Joel contributed an excellent article for the #PMChat weekly blog that compared choosing a project management methodology to gambling on the roulette wheel. Joel also joined the PreGame Show to expand on the topic. Thanks again to Joel for his contribution!

Now on to the recap:

Q1 – Has PM Methodology come down to Agile vs. Waterfall or are others

  • @klkaz @null #pmchat A1. People still use waterfall?  
  • @Project_Mom @null A1: From my perspective, yes. Although, there is also a “hybrid” of using both together (ducking from Agile purists now…) 
  • @sewah_kram @null #pmchat A1. I’d say yes it has… or a combination of the two. 
  • @projectmgmt A1. My first reaction to that question was, gosh how cliquey project mgmt has got with its weird exclusive language 
  • @JBC_PMP A1: Waterfall is a catch all that covers a lot of structured planning processes. It still has value in some areas 
  • @JBC_PMP A1: Dr. Thompson once said I wouldn’t use Scrum to build a nuclear reactor, but I would use Agile principles to manage team 
  • @michael_greer A1 – I always urge teams to create custom PM life cycles reflecting unique characteristics of deliverables, industry QA points, etc 
  • @UnlikeBefore Yup, lots of big vendors do despite what they say. RT @klkaz: #pmchat A1. People still use waterfall?  

Q2: What types of projects better suit Agile or Waterfall?

  • @ronrosenhead A2: trying to classify is surely wrong.? Can we say a change prog is better using agile than w’fall? Doubt it 
  • @JBC_PMP A2: Agile: Change often, Customer close – Waterfall: Predictable, Compliance 
  • @UnlikeBefore #PMChat A2: Can the approach ‘suggested’ be at all influenced by the profit margin? Sometimes… That’s the cynical view of course
  • @klkaz @null #pmchat A2. B Some projects need more process than others, but both Agile/Waterfall have process. I like decentralization. 
  • @dwrichy A2: Business/market expansion is best with waterfall. You’re not iterating on what people like. Meeting statutory requirements. #PMChat 
  • @JBC_PMP A2: If you focus on the team, then the process doesn’t really matter. Process is a tool, not a roadblock. #PMChat 
  • @michael_greer A2. Key: team feels the process supports their creations/hand-offs. Should be team-generated (ratified/embraced) not just tolerated 

Q3: Are Agile/Waterfall methodologies at all? Methodology vs. Best Practices?

  • @Project_Mom @null A3: if these are not methodologies, then what would be? 
  • @projectmgmt A3. And to expand that – do good managers need methodologies or is it just because PMs are special  
  • @sewah_kram @null A3. They are methodologies but can be used as best practices (especially when used as a hybrid) 
  • klkaz @null #pmchat A3. Methologies, yes. Best practice, for me, is when I adapt/deliver/succeed and re-use. But no one write a book about it  
  • @JBC_PMP A3: Waterfall is a catch all term for plan driven methodologies like BDUF, Six Sigma, Prince2. It’s not an actual proess itself 
  • @RailComm_Paola @null A3. I like to refer to them as @wikipedia does: “guidelines for solving a problem 
  • @projectmgmt RT @JBC_PMP: A3: Agile isn’t a methodology, it’s a manifesto. Scrum, Lean, XP are methdologies that follow Agile principles. 

Q4: How do you explain methodology to non-PMs, the business?

  • @klkaz @null #pmchat A4. Proven approaches which can offer a starting point, that we can adapt to suit your business needs 
  • @dwrichy A4: Very carefully 
  • @ronrosenhead A4: it’s about how u deliver the change. Need a simple process; lets design one or how does this fit… 
  • @michael_greer A4 – a) controlled, inspected evolution to minimize rework & costs b) give examples script/shoot/edit/deliver film; house/blueprint 
  • @AndyBud #pmchat A4 I translate it to basics, the approach will ensure transparency, control and a greater chance of success 
  • @rkelly976 A4: Remember, many PMs have moved heavily to buzzwords. @projectmgmt mentioned cliquey. We have to talk their language, translate 
  • @michael_greer A4 – emphasize inspection & “do a little at a time” to prevent rework — (justify our successive approximations) 

Q5: Common challenges when trying to ‘shift’ to Agile? How to overcome?

  • @Project_Mom @null A5: buy-in and understanding -overcome by information 
  • @JBC_PMP A5: Not focusing on the benefits. Too many folks change because its “hip” 
  • @dwrichy A5: Shifting attention from the final delivery date to the current sprint. 
  • @michael_greer A5 Challenge: Want to “lock in” big, fat waterfall for contracting.Overcome w/ appeal of empowerment (more control w/ small chunks) 
  • @UnlikeBefore #PMChat A5: It’s a culture shift that needs commitment from everyone. Scattergun approach won’t work 
  • @sewah_kram @null A5. I can be ‘as Agile as a cat’, doesn’t mean my client wants to be! 
  • @projectmgmt A5. Agile is just not a big thing in the UK – we rarely get asked for it when recruiting PMs 

Q6: What are some misconceptions of waterfall? It can’t all be bad, is it?

  • @dwrichy A6: “In Agile, we’re flexible! We don’t NEED requirements or design!” 
  • @klkaz @null #pmchat A6. I’ve managed, led, and participated in very successful waterfall projects. Doesn’t always mean slow/over budget. 
  • @JBC_PMP Q6: The first misconception is the word Waterfall. Royce used it as an example of a flawed model. It’s a bad catch all phrase. 
  • @michael_greer A6 -That it’s only for large projects (construction, aerospace). Yet every home remodel, media production, church bake sale uses it 
  • @rkelly976 A6: Doesn’t have to be slow w/one massive delivery date. I have said I am a pig going over a waterfall 
  • @AndyBud A6, ‘current buzzwords’ waterfall is seen as ‘sooo last year’ or by its name a lower class of project delivery 
  • @talkingwork A6. Waterfall gets a bad rap for being too “controlling”. It doesn’t have to be that way – it’s a natural progression that flows


Thanks again to the #PMChat community for your continued support and participation. #PMchat will be on vacation Friday November 25 in honor of the US Thanksgiving Holiday. We look forward to see everyone back on Friday December 2nd. We are finalizing the topics for December and January’s  and we will have them posted soon.



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