Topic Teasers Vol. 88: Chalk and Cheese Teams

Question: We are now part of a project that will use both an agile and a traditional waterfall team. As our British associates say, “It’s like chalk and cheese.” Is there a smart way we can work with this other group since none of our processes will match, none of the timing will be the same and, frankly, we each believe that the others are seriously misguided in having chosen their approach to project work?

A. There is a reason for the “chalk and cheese” expression. When you mix them you either forfeit a beautiful drawing or you miss a delightful appetizer. While multiple teams can work successfully on a common deliverable, it is vital that all teams are using exactly the same approach.

B. By now, 15 years after the meeting to create the Agile Manifesto, all teams should be aware that in today’s marketplace the only way to keep your organization competitive and protect your own job is to work in an exclusively agile environment. Most of the newsworthy business closings or serious curtailing of products are in industries that refuse to go agile.

C. It is not only possible for an agile team and a traditional team to work together successfully, it’s probably going to become the norm for more and more projects in the future. The secret it to understand where you can sync your work and where you need to use the parts of your preferred approach freely in order to have the best end outcomes.

D. While agile works situationally in software, the traditional methodology espoused by A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) has the advantage of a 55-year history. The knowledge amassed within that length of trial and error makes waterfall the preferred approach for all industries that want to make projects successful.

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