Step by step

Agile's ever-growing popularity has encouraged project managers to consider approaches beyond established techniques, and the traditional waterfall approach doesn't always work for projects with changing business requirements or projects where tasks can't be constricted to one immutable phase. This article discusses how an iterative waterfall might be the right approach and examines some of the potential risks to consider before using it. In doing so, it identifies three reasons why iterative waterfall works. It then explains one of the main attractions of an iterative approach--its simplicity. In addition, the article identifies some of the challenges when using an iterative approach: (1) Stakeholders are not satisfied with what they are given in the early phases of a project because not all project deliverables are presented in one neat package upon close; and (2) Project teams may lose sight of their priorities because iterative waterfall involves many moving parts. It then explains how a hybrid approach, whereby iterative waterfall is used during the planning stages and the traditional approach is used during the middle or toward the end, can be used when just one approach does not fit a project. Accompanying the article is a sidebar that discusses the benefits of flexibility in approach for a project.
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