This article:
What is hybrid project management?
Is this really the reality?
Can I be a hybrid project manager?
What does hybrid look like?
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What is hybrid project management?
Hybrid project management is hot right now. It is the customisation of the project management approach used to deliver work. Instead of adhering to a rigid waterfall (predictive), or Agile (iterative), project teams can choose from a variety of approaches to find the best way to work.
My old company ran projects in the framework of a predictive approach at program-level, but certain teams would deliver their work in sprints.
It worked great, and it is a formula that works well for teams with different work styles and needs. Iterations are great for developing solutions such as a website. The structure of a program framework gave executives the governance and schedule expectations they desired.
Hybrid approaches will, in my opinion, only grow as teams become more adept at adapting their work methods to take advantage of what is most effective and eliminate what is slowing them down.
Although I believe organizations have always adopted a tailored approach to project management, the part that was missing from the formal project management guidance was often the freedom to deviate. The PMBOK(r), PRINCE2(r), and PMBOK(r), now emphasize the need to adapt and tailor work methods to the project and situation. Agile methods are also known for continuous learning and improvement. There is more acceptance that you can still do things “formally” and still be flexible.
We should expect hybrid approaches to be used in many projects, given the increasing willingness to tailor and the guidance we have from institutions and methods.
It seems like we should. According to PMI(r) data, hybrid is a popular topic to talk about but not used.
The Pulse Of the Profession (2021 report has been published along with public access to Tableau. It’s possible to interrogate the data and it’s fascinating to see how respondents responded to questions about the percentage of projects they managed and completed using agile, waterfall, or hybrid methods.
The top choice is Waterfall, with 52% reporting that they used this approach. One quarter of all global projects were managed using agile methods, which is slightly less than the European average, which tends to prefer waterfall. Only 21% of global projects were reported to have used hybrid methods.
Is this really the reality?
To be honest, I’m not certain I believe the numbers. They are quite different from my survey results which show that hybrid is much more popular.
Yes, the survey’s base was different. PMI reached people in industries I don’t expect to reach, such as construction and telecoms.
The difference is striking.
My 2021 Project Management Report shows that about 65% of project managers who identify as not experienced use hybrid methods. I wonder if this means that they use a mix of what works and what doesn’t because there isn’t much guidance on best practice for their organization. That’s fine. But could we be using the term hybrid to mean something else?
Can I be a hybrid project manager?
When I was younger and had less understanding of how different methods work, I would have answered waterfall. We have used iterative development and delivery methods. We also have close working relationships with customers (or reps for them) and continuous refection and lessons learnt throughout the project.
These ideas align with agile working methods.