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From Predictive to Agile: How to Choose the Right Project Management Methodology

By Harold Kerzner, PhD., and Cynthia Snyder Dionisio, MBA, PMP


“From Predictive to Agile: How to Choose the Right Project Management Methodology” highlights the shift from traditional predictive project management methodologies to agile and hybrid approaches. The authors, Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., and Cynthia Snyder Dionisio, explain that project management methodologies (PMM) are frameworks comprising principles, processes, procedures, and techniques used to accomplish work. The traditional PMM, often referred to as the waterfall approach, follows a sequential process and is suitable for projects with well-defined requirements.

While a hybrid approach may seem appealing due to its combination of structure and flexibility, the decision ultimately hinges on understanding the broader stakeholder needs and the organization’s ability to be responsive to multiple frameworks.
The authors discuss the shortcomings of the waterfall approach in terms of project type, performance tracking, risk management, and governance. They point out that traditional methodologies lack flexibility and value when applied to strategic or evolutionary projects. Organizations mistakenly believed that a one-size-fits-all approach would suffice for all projects, leading to failures in managing projects with undefined or evolving scopes.

Both Dr. Kerzner and Cyndi Dionisio highlight the need for a more adaptable and hybrid approach to project management that can cater to different project types. It emphasizes the importance of considering product characteristics, such as scope stability and ease of change, along with project characteristics, such as criticality and safety. These product and project characteristics are used to tailor project approaches, lifecycles and methodologies accordingly.

In summary, this white paper highlights the significance of choosing the right development approach and tailoring the methodology to suit the project’s requirements. It recognizes the evolving landscape of project methodologies, calling for more comprehensive criteria to aid in approach selection.

About the Authors

Dr. Harold Kerzner

Dr. Harold Kerzner
Senior Executive Director, International Institute for Learning

Harold D. Kerzner, Ph.D., is Senior Executive Director at the International Institute for Learning, Inc., a global learning solutions company that conducts training for leading corporations throughout the world. He is a globally recognized expert on project, program,
and portfolio management, total quality management, and strategic planning. Dr. Kerzner is the author of bestselling books and texts, including the acclaimed Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling, Thirteenth Edition.

Cyndi Synder Dionisio - Agile and Scrum 2023 presenter - Back by Popular Demand presentation

Cynthia Snyder Dionisio, MBA, PMP
Practice Lead for IIL’s Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (PPPM) Practice

Cyndi has over 20 years of experience leading international project teams, consulting, developing courses, and facilitating training. She has received several awards, including the
PMI Fellow Award in 2018 and PMI’s Distinguished Contribution Award in 2009. Cyndi is passionate about turning chaos in order, engaging with awesome teams, solving problems, and facilitating achievement.

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