Starting in the early 1990’s, when SCRUM Software Development Process was codified, published and presented at the OOPSLA conference, organizations have become increasingly aware of changing project management practices and supporting software capabilities. The resulting concept of “agile” has increased collaboration requirements to the extent that traditional, waterfall practices have come under questioning.  Prior to this breakthrough study, waterfall project management was deemed the best way to complete projects on time, within budget and of acceptable quality.  Once it was proven that quality should be questioned more, agile features became increasingly popular.

Since the introduction of various forms of agile project delivery, there have been many comparisons to specific waterfall and agile features, best practices, and management styles across PMOs.  As a result, the complexity to choose the right software package for service organizations is now heightened.  This blog focuses on the three pillars of success to project delivery in an attempt to measure the importance of basic features across modern-day Project Management Software.

The three pillars of successful projects are Time, Money and Quality.

Often displayed as a triangle, presuming the laws of the Pythagorean Theorem.  This means that by prioritizing the software features that drive each pillar, we can identify a platform that hosts the right mix of waterfall and agile features to serve your talent and clients.

Time

Projects that need to be achieved is a specific amount of time are possibly 100% waterfall managed.  So while we suggest a rigid, linear structure is deemed the most, if not single, contributor to some projects’ success (time being most important), the PM must have a clear vision of the goal before kickoff.  In several cases a diagnostic exercise will precede this type of project, especially if the scope is extensive or lacks adequate definition.  These projects are usually client facing and are benchmarked against specific deliverables.  They might also be billed as a fixed fee, leaving the risk of time on the service team. Features that best manage a tight timeline are detailed work-breakdown structures with granular task assignments by resource type (employee or third-party vendor role and name), continued PM governance (approvals) and usually have employee/vendor utilization capabilities.

Money

Managing a successful project is just as important as billing for it.  While services rendered must first please the client, how the billing is administered is equally critical to customer satisfaction.  The ability to provide relevant activity descriptions against phases and tasks, and accurately define resources and roles, allows your customers to recognize the value of your services.  While several agile project management platforms are optimal for collaboration, they may completely miss the mark as it pertains to capturing meaningful time metrics and managing the project as a whole against a designated budget.  Features that enable detailed billing requirement are typically integrated with your General Ledger, such as receivables, purchase orders, payables, and WIP.  Features within the PM Software include resource costing and billing by multiple variables (task, project, and client), contract management and as it relates to overall profitability, and employee utilization.  These requirements aren’t exclusive to internal projects.  PMOs are increasingly capturing more meaningful metrics against their internal projects, and reconcile costs against internal budgets.

Quality

Quality is often the most scrutinized pillar, in part because it may be difficult to define.  Thanks to developments within the software community over the last ten plus years of agile integration trends, PMOs are challenged to question their ability to most effectively collaborate on projects.  How does your organization share updates and ideas across projects as a whole?  Amongst your internal team?  With your third-party vendors?  With your clients?  While time and money mean something different to each project, the ability to communicate effectively drives the success of those metrics as well.  Enterprise ERP and CRM packages have made significant gains capturing waterfall metrics, in tandem with facilitating effective communication across internal and external projects alike.

Collaboration across teams, clients, and vendors allow PMs to enact management styles such as Kaizen, Kanban, Scrum, and Six Sigma quality control.  Collaboration features in modern day software is typically cloud-based and lends real-time gratification through shared notes, chat tools, external facing portals, document management with version control, and even video conferencing for remote contributors.  The way that each of these tools are integrated into across your organization is customized to your value proposition, services, and culture.

How will you choose just the right mix of Agile and Waterfall Project Management Software Features?  Let the PM specialists at MIBAR.net introduce a package that is just right for your team, your clients, and your most successful projects! Contact us for more information.

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