The Great Mashup — Hybrid Project Management

Mashup (Music) is created by blending two or more pre-recorded songs. It is blending contrast songs that you did not expect — e.g. Daft Punk Vs Michael Jackson. What is the relation of our topic? Imagine in a perfect world major project management methodologies working in a harmonious and holistic way. Think about our well-known Waterfall Project Management could work together with a new kid on the Block — Agile. Could these two’s perfect mindset be good to blend like Daft Punk and Michael Jackson songs? The answer is why not with Hybrid Project Management (HPM)?

Waterfall vs Agile

These two approaches have some key differences between a traditional waterfall project and an agile project significantly. I will not deep dive into this however I would like to highlight; Waterfall relies on a linear process. All about upfront planning and executing phases respectively. On the contrary, Agile is an empirical process. There is as upfront planning as needed and divided incremental as MVP.

Is this a new thing — Hybrid Project Management?

The short answer is no. It has already popular sector like Healthcare, IT, Manufacturing, Telecom, and Financial Services. As you can see below the chart from PMI research, a hybrid approach has already been using with %23 considerably with other approaches. (1)

How it is work? — (Waterfall + Agile)

Hybrid Project Management is being flexible enough for Waterfall and comfortable enough using Agile Mindset. Also, Company culture is really important. Willingness to embrace change is the key.

Let’s start with the basics, project phases consist of Initiating, Planning, Executing & Monitoring, and Closing, right? In HPM, it starts planning with Waterfall. All WBS and work package should be prepared upfront like predictable project management. After that, the Execution phase uses the benefits of the Scrum / Agile mentality. Iteration and Constant feedback will improve the final product itself. Our product backlog will be of course our detailed WBS which is not the same approach if you use only agile.

Why Planning is the most critical phase in HPM too?

Want to work out your HPM mentality, your planning phase will be critical. Planing guides the stakeholders, sponsors and steering committees, and project managers on how to go about the other phases. One important fact for Planning that I want to highlight from the report of PMI 2020 (2). In the Manufacturing sector, the primary cause of project failure (for all approaches) with %36 portions, the top mention is poor upfront planning (2). That’s why plan with Waterfall, execute with Agile is vital for this approach too.

Final Words- Interchangeability

In my humble opinion, hybrid project management phases should be interchangeable for adaption to the production environment. On the contrary to standard hybrid project management (plan with waterfall, execute with agile). Extend your product definition phase with a plan with Agile. That means you will prepone your predevelopment activities with lots of iteration. Then, execute your plan and mature product with final verification tests with Waterfall. Agile address to market very quickly and iterative approach shorting cycle create an innovative environment and you will secure your execution phase with all predictability. Two birds with one stone.

PS: If you are still curious about the mash-up of Daft Punk Vs Michael Jackson, here is the link below, enjoy!!!


(1) Pulse of the Profession 2018: Success in Disruptive Times




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