In classic projects, the project manager is responsible for the planning and control. They are the primary decision maker and therefore also responsible for the success of the project – that is, to make sure the fixed requirements, calculated costs and stipulated appointments are realized. The participation of internal and external customers is over when they sign the specification sheets. If the costs or duration of the project get out of hand, a lot of the time it is due to incomplete, changed or incorrectly understood requirements or a sneaky expansion of the scope. If the requirements are falsely estimated or if they change significantly, then it’s the project manager’s problem, and this problem can escalate to a problem with the customer.
Agile projects present the opposite of fixed appointments and costs. Requirements are not set in stone at the beginning, but rather developed step by step throughout the project together with the customer. In an ideal agile world, there is no role of a project manager – the responsibility for the success of the project is passed on to the Product Owner. They advance the project in the sense of the stakeholders. Their decisions don’t primarily concern costs and appointments, but rather the maximization of the possible value of the business or the stakeholders from the business areas.
Agile dictates that projects be managed in sprints of 2 or 3 weeks to deliver a measurable, testable product. Waterfall works well when the project’s deliverables are reasonably understood. But many projects last months or years. If the deliverables are too complicated for the entire project to be managed through a defined waterfall approach, then apply agile to deliverables with relative uncertainty and Waterfall to deliverables’ with certainty. This creates a more effective approach to the management of your projects. It is a hybrid approach. But a cultural shift within the organization is critical to its success.