Fast-moving markets and a global economy mean that superior project management has become even more important today than in previous decades. In tandem, technology has increased the ability of teams to work efficiently, whether those teams are concentrated inside a single company or distributed across the country or the world.
Two approaches are often used with project management: traditional and agile. In traditional project management, a fixed sequence unfolds. In the 1960s and 1970s, America’s highway system—comprised of 164,000 miles of interstate—was built with this approach. Here are the stages of traditional project management in brief:
In traditional project management, the same life cycle is followed with each venture. The approach is excellent for projects with fairly predictable outcomes. However, in many of today’s complex work landscapes, unpredictability is not the exception, but the rule. That’s where the agile approach to project management comes in.
The stages of an agile approach are, in brief:
Apple was one of the first companies to adopt agile techniques back in the days when Silicon Valley was still a rural landscape dotted with apricot orchards. Apple’s agility was due in part to a focus on small teams and an emphasis on responsibility.
Today, more and more companies find themselves moving from a traditional project management approach to an agile one. One reason is the pace of technology. Another is the fact that clients want more input and interaction, and more frequently. A black-box approach no longer works for them. Collaboration and iteration define agile project management, and its use is not limited to software development. Agile can be used in industries from construction and manufacturing to marketing, advertising, and public relations. That all said, at times, a traditional approach is called for with a project possessing linear attributes and a straightforward timeline.
Here’s where PlanStreet distinguishes itself because it enables you to use a single platform for either approach. Whether you’re implementing traditional project management for one undertaking and an agile approach for another, PlanStreet handles both.
Let’s say there’s a digital marketing agency called Light Lynx that’s been around for at least fifteen years. Light Lynx possesses multiple clients, including a software company, X Corp., founded ten years ago by a Palo Alto heavyweight. Another Light Lynx client is an up-and-coming social media company, Y Corp., with an international presence and three co-founders, all located in different countries.
When Light Lynx uses PlanStreet for the software company’s new product launch, they choose the traditional option for product management. The software company’s founder, who is still running the show to this day, prefers a linear, top-down approach. In this option, detailed personnel planning plus financial predictions and hourly labor costs for task assignments are provided. Gantt charts illustrate the work-product breakdown in a drag-and-drop format, allowing visual, dynamic updates to the project plan. Meanwhile, a portfolio view permits Gantt charts for multiple projects to be viewed simultaneously. Doing so provides real-time progress reports on shared milestones.
When it comes to the social media company, Y Corp., this Light Lynx client specifically requests an agile approach. They have multiple projects, from creating a social influencers campaign to designing a new logo. The three founders all want to provide input and be in constant communication with Light Lynx and with each other. So with PlanStreet, Light Lynx chooses the agile option with every Y Corp. project. This option provides such features as user stories and sprints. Agile projects are organized with the platform’s StreetBoard feature, allowing drag-and-drop sprint planning and the ability to easily re-order tasks as priorities change. In addition, points are assigned to each user story and tallied for its sprint. The platform’s StreetCenter feature provides the team with a detailed view of the sprint user’s story status.
Now let’s say Light Lynx takes on an advertising agency client, Z Corp. The ad agency wants a mix of traditional and agile, based on the needs of its clients. PlanStreet provides both. And whether it’s the agile option or the traditional one, PlanStreet provides time, budget, and financial tracking, along with a portfolio view of the progress and organizational milestones of multiple teams.
Meanwhile, if your company, like many, is transitioning from a traditional approach to an agile one for all your projects, PlanStreet provides you with the tools to pivot over time.