Hybrid Project Management- Agile Waterfall Methodology Combined

Grace Marcus
August 18, 2022
4 minute read

 

Hybrid project management is using two or three project management methods in a project –usually, a mix of traditional methods and agile, or an agile-waterfall hybrid.

Integrating more than one methodology and personalizing them according to your needs may feel unusual. But in a 2022 study, it was found that only 26% of organizations stick with a set methodology. The rest either go with hybrid project management or don’t use any method at all.

Interested to know more? Let's dive into project methodologies so you can evaluate if hybrid project management is a good fit for your organization.

 

Benefits Of Adapting A Hybrid

Project Management

Traditional methodologies (also known as Waterfall) follow sequential processes. They are used because of how clearly they define plans and objectives. There are specific work estimates and clients know exactly what they’re signing up for.

This may have been effective for advertising in the early days because iterations were expensive. When you create a TV commercial, record a radio ad, or mount a billboard design, you can’t just edit them when you realize you want to change something, so planning and documentation need to be thorough from the get-go. You begin with the end in mind.

But now, with the rise of digital marketing, it’s way less expensive to adjust to new information. You can choose to be experimental and maximize social listening. This makes it possible for your end product to be different from what you initially planned. Flexibility is the name of the game. And agile methods let you incorporate that into your workflow.

Building a campaign takes research, planning, and attentive observation with fluid application. Making a detailed social media plan at the beginning is just as crucial as capitalizing on trends to increase reach. 

So with what’s required for marketing campaigns to succeed these days, wouldn’t it make sense to combine the strengths of more than one project management methodology? This is why the hybrid project management methodology can be immensely beneficial for creative agencies.

 

Disadvantages Of Adapting A

Hybrid Methodology

The key benefit of sticking to just one project management methodology is consistency. For example, when screening project management applicants, you can focus on gauging their familiarity with your agency’s chosen method only.

When you onboard new team members, it will also be more streamlined. If they come from an organization that uses the same method, there’s a high chance they’ll adjust very quickly. 

Clients and external stakeholders may also find this less confusing to work with.

Adapting a hybrid methodology in project management will require flexibility from all members of your organization. Your project managers have to be familiar with more than one methodology to maximize their strengths and manage their weaknesses. Openness and flexibility will be required from clients and team members.

 

Tips To Adapt A Hybrid Methodology

To Your Agency

Here’s how you can introduce a hybrid project management methodology to your creative agency.

  • Analyze Your Team Members And Yourself

The most important things you need to consider when picking the project management methodology you want to use are your team and yourself.

What type of team are you leading? Are they self-driven and tenured enough to work independently as an agile team? Or are they more productive with set processes and clearly defined steps? In this case, traditional methods would be a better fit.

With agile methods, expertise within teams can somehow overlap because everyone is expected to work together and help solve problems as a team. Is this something everyone is comfortable with?

Look into your leadership style. Are you a stickler for detailed plans, set marketing timelines, and tight execution? Or do you work better with a more open-ended approach?

Ultimately, your chosen project management method should allow you and your team to produce your best work. Take a realistic assessment of your and your team’s strengths and weaknesses, so you can also pick the tools you’ll need to work with them. This way, you can pick the structure that’s most optimal for your agile-waterfall hybrid.

 

  • Check Project Requirements And Client Preferences

Agile methods require high client engagement to guide the iterations after each product deliverable. With waterfall or traditional methods, involvement from the client will mostly be at the beginning of the project when plans and objectives are finalized.

When considering an agile-waterfall hybrid, check your client’s preferences and expectations. Will they be up for having many rounds of feedback if you adapt those characteristics of agile? And if you don’t, will they be comfortable with allowing you to make your own decisions mid-way without their sign-off?

Your project requirements also need to be considered. Ask yourself, how much uncertainty are you dealing with?

If your main activation is an event with specific directions from your client on its execution, a waterfall method might work well for you. With clear instructions, your client is likely hiring you to get it off their plate. Frequent feedback rounds may be unwelcome as they might defeat their purpose for outsourcing the work.

On the other hand, social media management may require a more agile approach. Although key messages and content plans are in place, there needs to be a certain level of flexibility as you observe the types of posts that your audience responds to (or doesn’t).

If your campaign deals with both or more (which is usual for integrated marketing campaigns), then it may be good to consider using an agile-waterfall hybrid.

 

  • Evaluate Methodology Pros And Cons

Every project management method has its strong points and weak points. An agile-waterfall hybrid aims to maximize the strong points and manage the weak points.

As we’ve discussed, traditional methods are great for projects with clear processes and outcomes. They allow teams to frontload planning and work independently on execution. Agile methods, on the other hand, give teams space to adjust their approach to meet project objectives.

When you choose to apply a hybrid project management method to your workflow, you can choose which practices and traditions you want to adapt. Take the time to look into the available methodologies so you can tailor-fit them to your needs.

 

  • Review And Adjust Accordingly

Finding the right mix for your agile-waterfall hybrid can be a process in itself. There will be times when you’ll just need to be patient in integrating it into your pipeline. But there will also be instances where things have to be adjusted as soon as possible.

As a project manager, keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to get feedback from your team. You can set formal meetings to do this, or casually ask team members how they feel about the way the team collaborates.

With patience, you’ll surely find the best combination for you, your campaign, your team, and your clients.

 

Conclusion

Adapting a hybrid project management methodology can be a gamechanger for creative agencies. While embracing the structure that’s essential for estimates and negotiations (waterfall), teams can also respond to trends and feedback with frequent iterations (agile). 

Crafting and executing an integrated marketing campaign is multi-faceted. To succeed, you and your team have to be just as flexible in applying hybrid methods when you see fit.


Pick a creative project management tool that can adjust according to your needs. Check out Workamajig and book a demo to see how you can use it to boost your team’s productivity.

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