The case for hybrid project management with agile and traditional

Although hybrid project management methods have been in existence for many years – only recently has the need to use a ‘hybrid’ approach to managing projects become an essential part of a project manager’s toolkit.

But what is hybrid project management and why it is essential for today’s projects?

The use of Agile project management approaches has rightly been become a dominant factor in managing software development (e.g. digital) projects. Our new challenge – is Agile (or more traditional project management methods) right for every project or even every deliverable?

Think about the following...

  1. Is using Agile project management approach for every project always delivering as expected?
  2. Are your executives and sponsors seeing the ROI they anticipated?
  3. Is it easy for the sponsor and stakeholders to recognise whether their projects are on track to deliver?
  4. Is the business transforming in the way that was promised?
  5. Have the differing commercial reasons for running the projects all been addressed?

If the answer to any of the above is no, or even maybe – one solution could lie in the way in which projects are being structured and / or managed. In which case hybrid project management methods could be the solution. But before jumping to that conclusion what should you consider to ensure the conclusion that you and your organisation arrive at is the most appropriate one for the project?

If hybrid is at least part of the solution do your organisation’s project managers have the techniques and capabilities to manage that type of project successfully?

What is hybrid project management?

Firstly – what exactly do we mean by hybrid project management and under what circumstances might hybrid be appropriate to enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome?

Recognition of the existence of hybrid projects (and a need for different approaches to manage them effectively) has risen following an increase in the number of organisations embarking on projects that address multiple commercial aspects. Initially projects tended to use one approach – be it agile or more traditional project management approaches to develop the key deliverables.

And that really is at the heart of the matter – project management and product management approaches are becoming confused. For example, would you want to construct your new office building using an Agile project management approach? Unlikely. But using Agile to develop leading edge technology to manage the property? Almost certainly.

And there you have it – a hybrid – combining two product development approaches in one overarching project.

Neither approach is likely to have been entirely successful in isolation but depending on the circumstances, a combination can be. To be successful this might involve the tailoring of either, or both, approaches but always should be managed by a capable project manager in partnership with an effective sponsor.

This leads onto the key issues; what are the appropriate circumstances, governance, management techniques and capabilities required to enable safe decisions and successful outcomes?


As a starter for 10, consider the new office build project. What might have led me to suggest a combined ‘hybrid’ approach? Basically, the vastly differing certainty and stability of requirements. The requirements for the construction itself – relatively stable one would hope! But the state of the art technology – less so.

Admittedly a relatively straightforward example and decision but is it always that clear cut? If you disagree, or would like to extend the debate, please contact us via info@citi.co.uk