Traditional vs Agile Project Management

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Apr 15, 2024

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Project management has become one of the most indispensable tools to run businesses smoothly. But there are various ways of doing so and finding the right approach is very much necessary. The two main approaches to running the business are- traditional project management and agile project management and there is a tug of war going on between the business on which methodology is better to use. So today in this article, we are going to learn about both these approaches and find out about traditional vs agile project management and see which approach is better for your project. Also, you can find out about CSM Course at the end of this article.

What is traditional project management?

It is one of the established methodologies which works in a sequential way and there is a cycle to be followed: project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and closure. this process requires upfront planning and there are prioritization tasks as well along with the documentation. This methodology faces some challenges in terms of budget and timely deliverables as the budget and timelines are not strictly defined and they are variables in the beginning. But there are some advantages of using this methodology:

  • It helps in clearly defining the objectives of the project.
  • It helps in keeping the project under control.
  • As documentation is an important part of this methodology, the documents are very clear and helpful throughout the project.
  • This method gives more accountability.

What is Agile project management?

Now that we have understood what traditional project management is, let us know more about agile project management. We have learned that in the traditional system, more priority is given to cost, scope and the time that is needed for the deliverables. But with the agile system, more emphasis is given to collaboration, teamwork and also flexibility in the project. It is known as an iterative approach where continuous feedback is needed, and the customer is aware of all the releases that are part of a software development project. The process is not pre-defined in this approach rather there is a continuously evolving process that incorporates changes that can be completed in a collaborative effort. The approach of adaptive planning is followed, and it is one of the favourite methodologies used by project managers all over the world.

Scrum and Kanban are two of the most widely used frameworks in agile and they are very helpful in delivering projects in a timely manner.

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Agile Project Management vs Traditional Project Management

Now that we have gotten an idea of what these methodologies are, it is time to distinguish between them with some parameters mentioned below:


When the team is working on the project, and they feel like there are some changes needed in the project, the agile methodology helps them to go through those changes but with the traditional method, making changes is not allowed. The structure is more rigid for the traditional way of project management. In an agile project management strategy, the focus is primarily on the product, and this gives the team flexibility to deliver the product on time and with the requested changes. This is the reason; most project managers prefer this method.

You cannot make last-minute changes in the traditional method, and this follows the top-down approach.


When we are talking about agile methodology, the product owner, the team members, and the clients are all involved in the decision-making. This makes this approach very transparent, and everyone is aware of the decisions made. As there are various processes involved in this methodology, from planning, reviewing and testing, the team members are involved in all the decisions, and they are also the ones making those decisions with the whole team.

But when we talk about the traditional approach, the project manager is responsible for those decisions and the team members are not able to see the progress as the project continues. This approach is very less transparent if we compare it to the agile methodology.

Customer Satisfaction

In the agile methodology, customer feedback is important, and they are contacted at various points in the project. More focus is given to customer feedback after each iteration. Meeting customers’ expectations is important, and the work is continuously delivered to the end customers their thoughts and feedback help the agile team to deliver what is expected from them.

Using this approach, it is made sure that customer engagement is present and that there is a high satisfaction factor among the customers and the team. As this approach focuses on the feedback and the expectations of the customers, they are able to deliver a high-end product as compared to the traditional method. In the traditional method, the product is delivered in the end which leaves very little space for the customers to provide any feedback or request any change.

Project Complexity

Using the agile methodology, complex projects can be delivered by following the scope of the project. As this follows the iteration approach and also the customer's continuous feedback, this makes the job more transparent and less complex.  There are frequent inspections and adaptations that help in delivering the project which is complex in nature.

If the requirements are ambiguous and the project is complex, the linear approach in the traditional method will not be able to deliver the project successfully. As we have mentioned earlier, there are no sudden changes made and the customer involved in not during the project development, this makes it very hard to deliver projects that are big and complex using the traditional approach.

Ownership and Accountability

In agile methodology, the team members are responsible for the work, and they hold ownership and accountability for the tasks assigned to them. They have an equal role in the team, and this ensures that they are able to deliver the project on time and with high efficiency. But when we talk about the traditional method of project management, the project manager is solely responsible for the tasks that are done in the projects, and they need to ensure the timely delivery of the project.

In this method, the customers are involved in the planning stage of the project but when the execution of that plan starts, the accountability is of the project manager, and they are not involved in later stages.

Scope for Feedback

In the traditional method of project management, the new product is designed in the beginning and there are no changes that are done after the execution phase starts. The tasks are pre-planned and each of those tasks is needed to be completed within the time constraint and the budget criteria. As time is an important factor, this gives no chance to provide feedback which might hinder the product delivery on time. But when we move to an agile approach, we can have scope for constructive criticism or feedback from the customers. This continuous feedback is given by the customers, and this helps in delivering a high-quality end product.

How to choose the right approach for you?

Now that we are thorough with traditional vs agile project management, how do you choose the right approach for your project? Well, there is no one size fits all and it depends on the requirement of each and every project. But there are certain points that you can keep in mind whenever you need to make a decision to choose the right project management approach for your project.

Look at the project requirements and see if those requirements tend to change and if there are some decisions to make later, then going for the agile methodology is a better approach. This gives the team a chance to incorporate those changes as the project progresses.

The next thing to look for is the kind of technology involved in the project. If the technology is old and it is done using the traditional or waterfall approach, then it should be followed, but is involved new technology then going with the agile approach can be a better option.

Check for the risks and threats that might be associated with the project. As the traditional method is more rigid, it becomes very hard to deal with those risks and threats following the traditional method. These risks can be best addressed using the agile methodology.

Check if the product is critical and choose the right approach. As the traditional method has a lot of documentation, going with this approach for the product that is critical to delivering is the right choice.

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Both these approaches are needed in project management and when you are working on a project, you need to choose the right one for the project. Both these approaches come with their pros and cons, and with the right analysis, you will be able to deliver the project in the right way. And if you are looking to learn more about these approaches and want to go for scrum master certification, then going with StarAgile is the best option. You can work with the best professionals who have industry experience in this field. So, if you are looking to start your career, then go for this certification and find the best projects for you in your dream organizations.

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