How to change the Project Model during a Project

Before discussing how to change the project model during a project, let’s try and first understand why such a need arises.

Why a traditional approach might fail to generate results

Project managers can definitely change their mind with regards to following the traditional project management approach for a number of reasons. Some of them could include the following:

  • Identification of a defect-there might be a bug which needs to be addressed immediately.
  • The client realizes that they did not comprehend the actual need correctly. Often when you show your updated working system to the stakeholder, they end up realizing that they might not have been successful in understanding and communicating what they really want.
  • The political environment within the organization could be extremely dynamic. The fact is that when there is a shifting of political power among stakeholders, there is also a change in priorities. And with renewed political priorities, there will be a motivation to make changes to the existing model.
  • Change in the marketplace is another crucial factor contributing to change in project model. There is a possibility that a competitor launches a new product or service that has features which your product/service does not offer.
  • Last but not the least, changes in legislation might also interfere with your existing project working system.

Changing the Project Model

Let’s assume that you’ve decided to go with the traditional waterfall approach to project management for a specific project and later realize that it isn’t working out as well as you’d thought. Is it possible to switch to a more modern approach now? Well, a lot of people in the industry believe that switching to the ‘Agile’ approach for an existing project is definitely possible. It has been done numerous times and produced varying results. Nevertheless, it isn’t something unfathomable.

Agile is not merely a development process. You need to clearly identify the reasons for which you’re making a switch to this approach because it impacts the entire organization and not just a single team. If you wish to be successful in making a transition from the traditional approach to agile, it is extremely important to actively interact with all stakeholders and ensure they comprehend what this change would mean to them.

It’s important to understand that although changing the project model during a project might be doable, but it may not necessarily be successful in some cases.

2 Comments

  1. Tom Hussey 2016/08/10 at 09:26 - Reply

    “Is it possible to switch to a more modern approach now? Well, a lot of people in the industry believe that switching to the ‘Agile’ approach for an existing project is definitely possible. It has been done numerous times and produced varying results.”

    Varying results, yes! From my experience it has been more of an ‘organic’ process and less of a one-time decision as the project team composition changes and evolves to address changing priorities.

  2. Richard Watson 2016/08/12 at 12:54 - Reply

    A few points from experience:

    One of the frequent reasons why customers feel the system is not what they want is the fact that they are very clear in stating what they want changed or corrected about their old system and very weak on what works, or even what is essential to their mode of operation that exists and works fine in the old system – this necessitates considerable efforts and skill at the requirements capture stage;

    There is an inertia to stay with the tool sets being used even when their bias is no longer appropriate to the development in hand – the often seen solution is to either ‘adjust’ the requirements or to fudge over the problem with code complications which usually do not fully work;

    It is totally possible to continue working and reporting at project level in a traditional manner while switching to Agile at programme level – such an approach can have great benefits.

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