In today’s post, we are posing the question: will traditional project management be trendy again? Is Hybrid Project Management the new name for traditional project management? To explain our views, we will share a bit of history.

The Dictionary

Some of the definitions of tradition include:

“of or relating to tradition: consisting of or derived from tradition.”
handed down from age to age”

Traditional Project Management

We do not have a clear or agreed definition of traditional project management.

Some practitioners equate traditional with waterfall, but we cannot agree with this.


Well, here is our definition.

Many of us in the project management community believe that traditional project management has always been adaptive.

In other words, competent project managers working in organizations with good project management maturity (well-defined systems) know they have to adapt, adjust, and tailor their approach to fit the project environment and conditions.

To summarize, traditional project management is not a waterfall, it is adaptive, it is tailored!

Reflecting on past trends

The PMBOK(r) Guide

If we refer back to the 1996 edition of the PMBOK(r) Guide, Bill Duncan, the primary author of the first edition of this valuable guide, emphasized the need for tailoring in managing projects. The idea of tailoring stayed in the guide for many future editions. That was one of the factors that led us to develop CAMMP and now the Uruk Platform.

Despite recent thinking, the PMBOK(r) Guide was adaptive.

It was for “most projects, most of the time.”

It promoted the need for tailoring. Ironically, to many claim the guide was a waterfall guide

However, later editions started de-emphasizing or removing references to some concepts from the original guide, including tailoring.


The Agile Era

I’m not sure why.

However, we started seeing Agile moving in. Then, the debate of Agile and Waterfall, an either-or choice.

At the same time, we started to see projects and methodologies defined as predictive or adaptive.

Consequently, for about 10-15 years, we lived in an era where traditional project management was bad, waterfall was horrible, and Agile was the only way to move forward. Suddenly, social media sites are filled with Agile Coaches, Agilists, and Agile-centric certifications. Many professional associations fell into the FOMO trap.

FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out

These trends emerged because of the high project failure rate, especially in technology and software projects. So, instead of studying the problems and root causes of failure, we blamed the “imaginary methodology, waterfall.”

The Hybrid Era

However, in the last few years, we started to see complaints about Agile. The tagline moved from Waterfall is dead to Agile is dead. However, agile development is alive and well, as in iterative and incremental development. Maybe what is dying in the hype of Agile Project Management, which never existed as a true project management methodology?

I am a huge believed in the value of agile development, which is NOT agile project management

Agile Project Management is a Myth!

So, what is happening now?

If Agile PM is not working, and Waterfall has been labeled horrible for years, there is a dilemma. It is time for a new trend or hype; it is time for the Hybrid Era.

Hybrid Project Management

In the last few months, we have seen an increased intensity in promoting hybrid project management as the answer to our continuing failed projects’ problems.

So, what is Hybrid Project Management?

I am still trying to figure it out.

Some of the posts promoting Hybrid Project Management explain that it is the use of Agile and Waterfall Practices on the same project.

Here we have many questions:

If Waterfall PM has been labeled bad for decades, why is it OK now?
Agile PM is not performing to expectations; why are we still considering it?
Is it logical to accept that two non-performing approaches are now better as a “new” project management methodology?
Finally, what makes Hybrid a project management method if Waterfall and Agile ARE NOT project management methods?

Is Hybrid Project Management Traditional Project Management?

In a recent article promoting the idea of hybrid project management, the emphasis of the article in presenting hybrid as good is the idea of tailoring.

Was not tailoring part of traditional project management?

We leave you with that thought.

We will have more articles and videos addressing this vital topic.

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