Taking a Hybrid Approach to Project Management

Dec 9, 2020  |  By Cory Serna  |  

When it comes to today’s project management, there are many techniques and methodologies to consider. It is based on what best suits our own organization and structure. A Hybrid Approach is becoming more and more popular as it incorporates multiple approaches. Earlier this year, I received my Certified Scrum Master certificate and learned how adopting a hybrid method can benefit our own organization.  

Scrum is an agile framework for developing and sustaining complex “products” or as we know them, “projects”. By leveraging this framework, it enables the Scrum team to break down larger scale work and more complex “products” or projects into smaller, more manageable “chunks” which are known as Sprints.

If you’re interested in a more detailed definition, you can reference the Scrum Alliance page that provides up-to-date information.

There are 5 events that occur within the Scrum methodology which include: Sprint Planning, Spring Backlog, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. All of these events allow the Scrum Team to be able to identify, review, and measure success and be better informed on how to implement change for better efficiencies and best practices for future Sprints.

Visual Representation of the Scrum Events
(click on the image for another article explaining Scrum)

In order for Scrum to be, well, Scrum, it has to follow these 5 events to a tee. While our organization may be not to be able to fully adopt the entire framework due to the work we do, there are key take-aways and best practices we may adopt. This is where a “hybrid” approach comes into play as we can integrate more than one approach in our Standard Operating Procedure.

This year, I played a key role in change management within our organization by working to define and solidify our processes. This was in order to provide more structure across teams and also incorporate some of the core Scrum processes I learned to further streamline and improve agency operations allowing us to better measure success within the agency.

Based on what I’ve learned during my certification training, this is how I incorporated some of these teachings this year to help improve our agency operations. They are:

Product / Sprint Backlog: incorporating a comprehensive list of tasks, deliverables into formal documentation such as blueprints and briefs to better manage expectations on what we’re trying to accomplish for our clients.

Sprint Retrospective: take-aways post-Sprint to develop structure and process for post-mortem and debriefing exercises after critical agency frameworks are completed and also when needed for other areas.

Product / Sprint Backlog: identifies and outlines all the integral tasks that make up the execution of “product.” The Sprint Backlog contains a portion of these tasks from the Product Backlog with selected milestones that can realistically be accomplished during a Sprint. A Sprint duration is typically 1-4 weeks’ time.

To increase the probability of the successful execution of our projects or deliverables we should first accurately outline, describe and allocate what we want our team to work on in order to measure end results and if we completed what we said we would. This is similar to a project charter and really has helped our organization hone in on what we want to accomplish during our project kick-offs.

Sprint Retrospective: this happens after a respective Sprint is completed and it is a meeting to evaluate what was accomplished, done well, what could be improved as well as what will be committed to be improved upon the next Sprint.

This type of step should be integrated within any organization as it allows the team to continually make improvements upon existing procedures and helps streamline efficiencies by reviewing past performance. 

The initial success during the beginning stages lays out the groundwork for clear expectations from inception to delivery. By having a Sprint Retrospective related step, or in other words a debrief or post-mortem, part of the process will provide an opportunity to address any misses and allow a discussion and correction of any steps during the next onboarding. For larger projects, a debrief or retrospective can be just as important as a kick off and scoping of the projects. This allows for constant refinement and the streamline of work. 

Overall, Scrum is a tight-knit framework that most organizations can benefit from. By taking on hybrid approaches you are able to adopt more than one framework or methodology based on whatever best suits your organizational structure. These are just a few benefits of the Scrum Framework that our agency was able to adopt. If you’re interested in learning about getting your certification, visit the Scrum Alliance for more information.

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