Both agile and classic management strategies incorporate the triple constraints, which are the scope, cost and schedule. However, methods of incorporating these three constraints differ from one strategy to the other. In classic project management scope and cost are mere estimates but schedule is always pre-determined. In agile project management the scope keeps on changing but schedule and cost remain constant.
Classic approach in management is usually faced with risks and uncertainties. Under this approach a manager does not clearly differentiate between risks and uncertainties associated with the project. These uncertainties are usually referred to as unknown-unknowns. Though it offers many components and tools to identify risks, it does not clearly define the relationship between uncertainty and opportunity. It is assumed that risks are known and can be quantified before project implementation. Using this assumption it’s impossible to identify uncertainties .In addition, it is not clearly shown how to manage this unknown-unknowns. Due to the fact that risks are assumed, this approach of project management is usually referred to as “experimental” project management.
Agile approach is a systematic method to coping with varying conditions during project development. It is usually bent on reducing the cost of developing projects and improving quality. Agile methodologies such as Extreme Programming (XP) and Scrum are usually cost effective in implementation. For instance, XP uses rapid planning in iterations and also uses constant testing which guarantees a high quality product customized to user needs. Although this approach has been successful, its integration into the modern day management has been hindered by a number of factors. For example, Managers and employees are adamant to change their management and development respectively. This is because agile methodologies tend to be centered on development undermining the management to ensure success. This approach equips the managerial faction of an entity with:
- A responsive attitude in that, managers are equipped with better ways to deal with change. It stresses on coping to changing conditions.
- Better problem solving approaches. This is because it regards employees as valuable stakeholders in the developing team. It also limits assumptions to a minimum base due to the fact of unpredictability in project development.
In comparison, agile approach defines uncertainties and outlines ways to consistently identify opportunities. Classic approach fails to identify the uncertainties and so do opportunities. Due to this argument it is clear that risk assessment in classic approach is not defined and can result serious problems in project development. Classic approach relies on assumptions only. Using a classic model of management limits the extent of responsiveness on a project due to varying conditions. On the other hand, agile approach allows the managers to evolve with changing conditions in project development.
“A risk may and often does turn into an issue and project managers should strive not to let this happen “Agile Project Management, ch.8 by Gary. A manager using the classic approach cannot be able to distinguish between harmful risks and opportunities and may unknowingly consider a harmful risk in project development which can result to the stalling of the project. Agile managers are better equipped to identify profitable opportunities in a risk. Agile methodology is better suited with distributed teams.
Software development is a sector that is very sensitive to changing conditions. For example, in app development sector it is important to incorporate user tastes and preferences. These preferences sometimes undergo dynamic changes. The only methodology applicable to this situation is through use of agile approaches.
From the above argument it is clear that agile methodologies take the day. Managers especially of distributed teams and software developments should consider using agile methodologies in their day to day managerial duties.
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