Why Traditional Project Management Wasn’t Enough for Software Development
Agile is not a cure-all, but rather an alternative concept designed to complement planning-oriented, traditional project management.
In traditional project management, the project result is fixed from the beginning. Therefore, it is the goal of all participants to achieve this result by any means and stick to the developed project plan. To achieve this goal, frequent adjustments have to be made to costs, time schedules, and staffing.
The waterfall model is characteristic of traditional project management. Here the project sequence is divided into sequential phases and all results have an effect on any subsequent results. This means that if one milestone is not completed on time, all following milestones will be delayed.
Unfortunately, we’re not in the A-team (“I love it when a plan comes together!”), so these days it is a utopian dream for a project plan to work in this way. IT projects, in particular, usually deviate from the original plan. We all know that market economy is merciless. Fast processes, complex dependencies and the increasing flood of information make it impossible to look far enough into the future and think of all eventualities right from the start. The further the end of the project lies in the future, the more uncertain the forecasts are. Experience shows that IT projects are long-term projects and the effort involved to complete them is very difficult to estimate.
Often, there are big changes in the implementation and to the product during the implementation, either because the requirements of the client changed or because there are programming difficulties.
The problem with traditional project management is that every change to the project plan requires more effort and results in additional (often indirect) costs. There are delays because plans need to be updated or resource conflicts resolved. The budget is also often overstretched. The whole project becomes chaotic, and in the end, promises are broken and clients are dissatisfied.
In contrast, Agile PM has no problems with changes. In fact, it welcomes them!