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Mar 05, 2019
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Waterfall vs. agile project management: Which one does your small business need?

Confused about whether to go for waterfall or agile project management methodology? Choose the approach that suits you project type and small business needs.

Ankita SinghContent Writer

Which one is better-traditional waterfall project management methodology or agile?

This isn’t a new debate. While agile is the buzzword these days, it may not suit all your small business projects. Some projects actually perform better with a traditional waterfall project management methodology.

That’s why, which methodology to choose to manage what kind of project is the relevant question to ask, but tough to answer.

According to a PMI report, about 44 percent of projects use predictive approaches (traditional waterfall project management), 30 percent use agile approaches, and 23 percent use hybrid approaches. So, businesses are using both methodologies-and sometimes, both-for successful project delivery.

As a project manager, you must identify which projects need to be agile and which need to be managed traditionally for optimized project performance. If you fail to use the right project management methodology, you will waste about 9.9 percent of every dollarthat you invest.

In this article, we compare the two popular project management methodologies-waterfall and agile. We offer insights into their unique features, with examples of project management software that suit each kind of approach. This will help you identify who should adopt which method.

Jump to the following sections for a quick overview:


 Waterfall methodology: For simpler, short-term projects

  • Key features of waterfall project management methodology

  • Who should use waterfall project management?

  • Which project management tool suits waterfall methodology?

Agile methodology: For complex, long-term projects

  • Key features of agile project management methodology

  • Who should use agile project management?

  • Which project management tool suits agile methodology?

Should I choose waterfall or agile project management?

  • Identify loopholes in current and past projects: Once you identify specific areas that need to be fixed, assess how to tackle them by tweaking your project management methodology. Based on your project and business needs, choose a project management methodology that fits your bill.

  • Garner responses from your teams: It's imperative for your team to agree with your decision to change your project management methodology. The feedback will give insights into their individual project management challenges.

  • Offer support and training to your team: Before choosing to change your project management methodology, inform your team that you will provide additional support during the change. This would ease any resistance to change, while helping them maximize their output despite the revised workflows.

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