Hybrid Project Management Approaches:
Pros and Cons

See also: Project Management Skills

When you undertake any training courses for project managers, one thing you will quickly learn is that there are a number of different methodologies that you can use and each one has its pros and cons.

Which one you choose to use will depend on a number of different factors and you may not always find yourself turning to the same one, so it is really important to consider all the pros and cons so that you understand which is the right one for you. Here we will take a look at the hybrid project management approach and the pros and cons that you might encounter.

What is the hybrid project management methodology?

A hybrid is what you get when you combine two different things together, so in the case of hybrid methodology for project management it is the combination of an Agile methodology with its more flexible approach and those from a more traditional project management environment.

It looks at the various different methods that might be attributed to either one, for example things like scrum and PMI, and integrates those with a range of other different methods to create something that offers the best of both worlds. If it offers the best of both worlds, then you may well find yourself asking why is a hybrid methodology not simply the one that everyone uses? Well, like every methodology, it has its pros and cons and is not best suited to all of the scenarios that you might encounter as a project manager.

When can a hybrid methodology be useful?

A significant number of companies work in an environment in which the traditional processes that they use have evolved over time. This is, in part, due to the fact that compliance is needed which has broader obligations and required standards. When it comes to projects, this means that it is necessary to choose a method that clearly lays out the plans and goals of a project and that has the requirement for everything to be well documented. In some instances, the methods maty be recommended by an external source, for example a regulatory authority.

However, things are changing and, as software takes on an increasingly important role not only in day-to-day life but in hardware products, the agile method is becoming an increasingly popular choice.

When certain elements of the agile methodology, for example scrum, are combined with traditional methods for some subprojects, companies are able to take advantage of what both methodologies have to offer and find a solution that is best suited to the needs of the project they have in front of them. This can have the benefit of enhancing the project, allowing them to reach their goals faster, achieve better results or minimise expenses.

The pros of hybrid project management methodology

As we have already mentioned, as with any of the methodologies, there are of course some pros to using a hybrid methodology approach. These include:

  • Both developers and consumers make decisions and agree on any of the deliverables that are required for a project during the early stages of the development lifecycle

  • This careful planning allows for the project to be split up into smaller delivery segments, these are referred to as sprints. Essentially, they are mini projects within a project and they not only allow the client to see exactly where the project is up to but also the project manager and the team

  • The progress of the project can therefore be marked very easily as the full scope of the work has already been decided well in advance

  • A business analyst is more likely to be able to document and scrutinise all of the primary requirements that may be needed for the project

  • This requirement documentation can therefore be used by testers to eventually prepare any test scripts while simultaneous coding can take place

The cons of hybrid project management methodology

Whilst it does appear that the cons of a hybrid project management methodology are less than the pros, they are still very important and certainly something that should be taken into consideration when working out if hybrid is the way forward for your project. The cons of this methodology include:

  • There is an inability to track the deliverables of your project

  • Checking whether set deadlines have been met is tricky

  • There is a need for a continuous administrative intervention when team conflicts need to be resolved and this can be a waste of time and effort, which would be much better spent on other areas of the project

Skills needed for hybrid project management

Not every project manager has the skills to use this approach in their projects, and project managers seeking to reap the benefits of such an approach may want to consider upskilling to ensure they can successfully balance a hybrid project. Some of the skills needed for hybrid project management include:

Those project managers who have until now used Agile methods may require a refresher of traditional project management methods, while those who have never completed Agile projects may wish to take on some additional training. This way, the project manager can broaden their knowledge and apply best practice to each project they undertake.

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If the project that you are undertaking is within an organisation which is primarily based on the theory around competitive advantage, which accepts that there is fluidity within a project, then a hybrid methodology of project management may indeed be the best choice. This methodology will allow the way for an approach to the necessary work that is significantly more nuanced. No matter what project management skills you may have picked up either during your qualifications or years of work in the field you will always find that there are new things to learn, and indeed new ways in which you can combine the skills that you do have in order to get the very best from your team and produce the best results from your project.

Whether you use agile, traditional or indeed a hybrid methodology to get there is entirely down to you, your project team and of course what works best for the project you are currently engaged in. As long as the end result is the successful completion of the project, within both time and financial constraints then the journey there is what you make of it.

About the Author

Paul Naybour is the Business Development Director for Parallel Project Training. He is a well-known speaker in the APM Branch Network, a project management trainer and consultant. He also runs the PM news site Project Accelerator.