Project management is the backbone of a successful company. With a proper strategy in project management, some companies have managed to make a turnaround in the way they operate and serve their customers. However, this transformation also requires a constant change in the culture and methodologies in the company; something which is not easily acceptable.
In order to achieve better project management and implementation, companies have had to use different approaches as a way of addressing the unique challenges they faced. Among the most famous project management approaches are the scrum/agile and traditional waterfall models. These approaches carry inherent similarities and differences, as well as strengths and weaknesses. In this paper, I review the decisions and agile implementations at a software company. I also examine the characteristics of the waterfall and scrum/agile approaches to project management. The paper examines the issues and experiences at Primavera that prompted the management to use scrum/agile project management as opposed to waterfall models.
Although Primavera has been in operation for over two decades, its projects were not yielding as much returns as was expected by the management. Several issues played a role in holding the company back. One of those was a lack of organized and focused environment in which management and operations could occur. The company needed a project management approach that would allow its managers to timely work on the most important things. In the long run, the management needed to form small teams that would be given the mandate to manage their own workload and organize their work around clear goals and constraints. The goals and constraints were to be those directly related to the increased and effective performance of the company. This is something that was lacking at primavera amid a pool of experienced and seasoned managers and staff (Inglish, 2010).
It is evident that Primavera had been using a traditional approach of the waterfall model to plan and manage its products and operations. For the whole period that Primavera had been operating, the company had numerous projects which were well envisioned. They were also planned in a way that outlined the life cycle of the project, the requirements, scheduling mechanisms, and teamwork. It also outlined the communication channels that were to help facilitate communication between employees and management, as well as stakeholders and customers. Definitely, the approach had served the company for all this time, but with a change in strategy the approach would show that it had been operating below its potential.
Primavera as a software company with 90 programmers has failed to produce the satisfaction that employees needed. One of the reasons for this chaotic and exhausting working environment is that the management had failed to organize its staff into teams to simplify their work and allow team consultations. In result, the company’s staff was overburdened with a lot of work, leading to exhaustion and long overtime work. The backlog was too much and the employees felt that they were simply working for the company and had no ownership of what they were doing. In essence, the management did adapt a waterfall model of project management that emphasized the initiation of any project from the top. It means that it is the management that was involved in planning, defining the requirements, designing the implementation approaches, building the working environment, and testing the product before it was released to customers. Communication was not emphasized at the company and, therefore, programmers felt that they were merely working for the Primavera and did not own the project (Martin & Schwaber, 2004).
A turnaround in the project management approach was made with the introduction of scrum/agile project management approach. It allowed the company leaders to envision where they wanted the company to be. Thus, speculation became important even as managers wooed employees to support the proposed changes in operation and functionality of the company. Employees needed to embrace teamwork and consultation, as well as assist one another in implementing a project that would influence the overall functionality in the company.
To put it simply, there emerged a collaborative environment in which employees feel appreciated and that they are a part of the company. It was characterized by proper communication channels both from top to bottom and across the working environment (Haas, 2007). Several options were explored and tested in the area of software development. Equally, new methods of doing things were adapted to enhance the operations and improve efficiency in the working environment. The end of a project marked the beginning of another collaborative effort. It means that projects could come to an official close and allow employees to evaluate the achievements, as well as address the challenges that they experienced throughout the project period. Moreover, the employees were able to determine where they wanted to be after a given period; in what is described as a sprint in scrum (Lynema, 2010).
The methodology that is used to implement a project greatly determines whether the project is going to be successful or not. The success of a project should not only be measured in terms of units that are sold and the profit that the company makes. It must be noted that things like employee motivation and satisfaction play an important role in measuring the level of success of a project or evaluating whether it a project was implemented successfully or not. For a company like Primavera that had been operating for many years, establishing a new way of doing business was not an easy task. This is because it involved transformation or change in the company culture. Like in many other work environments, this could definitely be met with opposition and resistance. The waterfall model that the company had used for a long time required all employees in all departments to have a mindset change. They had to be ready to embrace new methods of project management that promote cooperation and sacrifice. The transformations at Primavera could as well serve as a model on how careful and proper changes can positively influence the operations of any organization. The secret for a successful company is a motivated and satisfied employees, as well as customers (Mayer, 2008).
Scrum/agile project management approach is a strategy that allows a total transformation in the way a company operates. Unlike in the waterfall model, agile model allows software companies to empower and trust people. It makes it easy for stakeholders to acknowledge that change is normal and promotes constant feedback through properly established communication mechanisms.