An organization’s choice of a project management and development approach for their project needs depend on several factors, including the relative experience of the project team and key characteristics of the project, such as complexity and size. Some approaches place more emphasis on fully planning and predicting the outcomes of project activities as they unfold, to minimize the amount of change that occurs. Other approaches instead accept change as something that is inevitable and place importance on the need to react and adapt. The prevailing predictive and adaptive development approaches are waterfall and agile, respectively. Each presents unique opportunities and challenges for the organization undertaking the project.
Agile development practices present an alternative approach to the waterfall method more commonly employed in the State of California for information technology (IT) projects. As the landscape evolves and there is a growing awareness and desire to use agile, state organizations need to be equipped with basic information to be able to make informed decisions about the path forward for their project needs. Agile development may present some benefits inherent in its adaptive and reactive methodology, but it is not one-size-fits-all nor suggested to be a more successful approach compared to waterfall. Each organization must understand the practices and principles of agile and determine what is appropriate for their project.
Updated: September 22, 2017