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Scrum and classic: The best of two worlds

Hybrid models combine agile methods and classic project management.

Carsten Severin

As Head of Project Management Office (PMO) at KUMAVISION, he is responsible for the project implementation and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) ®, Scrum Master and product owner.

"I think it is tempting if the only tool you have is a hammer to treat everything as if it were a nail." The American psychologist Abraham Maslow used this simple picture to demonstrate a basic principle of human approaches Point: If I only know one way to solve a challenge, I'll straighten everything out until my way fits the problem. No matter how sensible or efficient this procedure is. It is therefore important to have more than one tool in your case in order to be able to meet changing challenges with different strategies.


Methods are used to achieve the goal

This flexibility is essential, especially in project management, and is expressly desired by all parties. No procedural model - whether agile or classic - claims to offer the optimal solution for every project. That's why project management has always been much less dogmatic than you might think. As a rule, project managers think and act pragmatically and use the methods that are best suited to achieve the project goals. Whether these can be assigned to the classic or agile approach plays a subordinate role. Anything that brings success is allowed. And so apparent contradictions come together. Even if Scrum and classic project management are diametrically opposed in their approach and structure, they can still be used together.


Hybrid models combine agile methods and classic project management

But what could a sensible combination look like? A look back at the last article in this series. There we worked out the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches. Roughly speaking, classic project management shows its strengths when it is clear from the start what should be the end. Scrum, on the other hand, best puts its horsepower on the road when the end result can only be precisely defined during development. Especially with large and long-term projects, it can make sense to combine the best of two worlds. It makes sense to structure the entire project into smaller sub-projects. The big bracket is the phase-based, classic project management. The individual sub-projects are completed as milestones with subsequent reviews. This keeps the overall project clear and transparent. The subprojects themselves can then - depending on requirements - be handled in an agile manner. In a software project, there would be an executable and already presented system at every milestone. Thus, the customer is always on board and the risk of fundamental undesirable developments is very low.


Hybrid project management is the future

Managing large projects with a hybrid model sounds very logical and obvious. The flip side of the coin is that those involved need a high level of methodological knowledge in both worlds. This is the only way to be sure when and which approach promises more benefits and how a tailor-made concept can be developed from it. But precisely against the background of the rapidly advancing digitalization and the resulting large-scale projects with a high inherent dynamic, hybrid-led projects will increase strongly in the future.

Infographic hybrid project approach


The implementation is well equipped

To come back to the picture by Abraham Maslow mentioned at the beginning: For hybrid project management, those involved need a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, saw and much more in their tool case. And above all a partner who knows how to handle it.


More articles from the blog series "Agile Projects"

Blog article AgileProjects Scrum

Project management - a success story


Blog article AgileProjects Scrum

Project management - such a theater


Blog article AgileProjects Scrum

Scrum vs. classic: one race, two winners