Diverse project management: agile, classic, hybrid & digital.
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Diverse project management: agile, classic, hybrid & digital.

Structure vs. flexibility; long-term planning vs. short-term sprints – classic or agile project management. The pros and cons of both methods are most likely already well known. But what does this mean in concrete terms for the practical application? When does which management approach make the most sense? Here you can read, among other things, which trends are important in this context and which key factors matter now.

Agility: The star in the project management sky?

Flexibility and speed. Two values that aptly describe the future of many areas. They are also two values that characterise agile working. But is this method also necessarily the future of project management? There are clear criteria for when this applies and when it does not! Agile working is helpful, among other things, when there are unclear requirements and rapidly changing framework conditions. In product development, for example, this is often the case when concrete measures are to be developed with partly unclear premises. In this scenario, it is worthwhile to think about the SCRUM method. Here, short-term sprints with incremental development are used so that a high degree of flexibility is always maintained in order to be able to react as optimally as possible to deviations and customer requirements. The client has the opportunity to provide regular feedback, which is of enormous importance for the success of the project. Studies confirm that increased complexity of requirements and high pressure from competitiveness strengthen the trend towards agile methods. Another important characteristic of agile project management is the dissolution of rigid hierarchies. Leadership in the agile environment is understood more in terms of accompanying and supporting, rather than an authoritarian structure. As a result, employees can act in a more self-determined, autonomous and often interdisciplinary way.

Classic means tried and tested!

Are flexibility and speed always the keys to success? No! A classic approach can also mean tried and tested. Planning standardised processes with clear objectives in an agile way can mean an unnecessary waste of resources. In the case of many projects with constant processes, less leeway for spontaneous deviations can be planned with a clear conscience. Processes such as product launches will repeat themselves after a certain point. Therefore, the existing wealth of experience should be relied upon. In this context, fixed responsibilities and clear hierarchies are also of great importance.

Hybrid: The current magic word

Hybrid drive, hybrid teaching, hybrid appreciation. Hybrid: the word that is currently indispensable in everyday life. Quickly translated in project management as the silver bullet, this approach combines features of the classic and agile methods. Canceling out the weaknesses of one method with the strengths of the other practice? An appealing thought! For example, so-called task boards in the classic project environment can provide transparency and increase effectiveness. Likewise, the agile method can also benefit from the traditional variant. In situations of conflict, the waterfall model creates clarity according to the top-down principle and sets a clear goal.

Digital communication culture obligatory for companies

Even before the pandemic began, digitalisation initiated massive changes in the project management landscape. Communication and organisation, both key factors for successful project management, have changed permanently. It is no secret that Corona is now reinforcing these developments. About half a day per working week is lost due to superfluous and inefficiently used meetings. How this statistic will change in the long term due to Corona is still unclear. However, one thing is certain: time remains one of the most important resources in project management and urgently needs to be used efficiently. Therefore, it is fundamentally important to establish a digitally comprehensible and uniform communication culture in the company. In order to prevent productivity losses, the structure of virtual meetings should also be optimised.

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Daniel Sedlacek
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