2.1 Introduction Agile and traditional project management methodologies have extensive academic literature.

2.1 Introduction

Agile and traditional project management methodologies have extensive academic literature. Agile project management is one of the newest management approaches for revitalizing projects and increasing their chances of success (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). Perhaps because of its enormous popularity, agile project management has been the subject of several scholarly articles, with the majority adoringly praising this innovative project management technique. Furthermore, while most articles on agile project management have received praise and positive feedback, some detractors have questioned the entire foundation of agile project management (Behrens et al., 2021). Many of these critics favor other types of project management, such as the conventional, linear, and older project management technique, referred to as traditional project management afterward (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). In the existing body of literature on the subject, although agile project management is not versatile and not a solution to project management’s drawbacks, it has enormous promise as a project management approach when implemented in specific industries such as software development (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). Similarly, traditional project management also has its drawbacks, although both agile and traditional project management have their areas of strength and weakness (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). This chapter goes over existing literature on the subjects of agile and traditional project management, highlighting that agile project management cannot simply be applied everywhere but needs to be judiciously evaluated before it is selected.

2.2 Concept and Applicability of Agile Project Management

2.2.1 Concept of Agile Project Management

Agile project management is somewhat revolutionary in its ideals or critical tenets. In the context of agile project management, the capacity of a project to rapidly adapt in its execution to accommodate changes in the project’s external environment or the customer’s requirements is called agility (Stellman and Greene 2017). Consequently, when a project is agile, the client may alter its particulars relatively easily (Wysocki 2019). Therefore, agile project management approaches are organized in such a manner as to make adjusting quick and facilitate the process of adapting to challenging situations. The work is done by many groups or individuals working side-by-side on different and overlapping requirements or project deliverables to ensure that a project is finished on time and that the client can change it at any time (Stellman and Greene 2017). That is necessary due to the rapidly changing nature of most business environments and clients’ frequently ambiguous and vicarious needs, which tend to change suddenly without much warning. This work is done by many teams working side-by-side on different and overlapping requirements or project deliverables to ensure that a project.

The practice of agile project management rests on some critical tenets that combine to make projects responsive to client needs and change in a dynamic way, thus being “agile” in nature. First, as described by Pussella and Bandara (2018), agile project management values people and their inter-person interactions over having rigidly structured processes and well-known and well-used tools. Second, agile project management prioritizes working software (or a functioning end product if the project is not in software development and information technology) over thorough and complete system documentation (Pussella & Bandara, 2018), thus choosing tangible and demonstrable value over painstaking propriety. Third, and perhaps most importantly, agile project management values collaborating with clients and considers it more important than having rigid contracts and sticking to the terms of these contracts, however unfavorable they may later be to the client (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). The last tenet of agile project management, perhaps its most unique one, is applicable when the project team responds appropriately to change (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). Pussela and Bandara are very descriptive of the concepts underpinning agile project management, though the details behind the application of agile project management are unclear. Thus, agile project administration leverages its strength by allowing multiple deliverables to be worked on concurrently, involving clients in the process, allowing change even late in the process, and providing superior value to clients who opt to have their projects managed using the technique, with the only drawbacks being its sometimes higher cost and demand for skill and attention to detail.

2.2.2 Applicability of Agile Project Management Methodologies

Agile project management is the most commonly stated new contemporary technique of conceptualizing and managing projects. According to several industry executives and academics, such as Balaban and Đurašković (2021), agile project management is becoming the project management approach of choice in the twenty-first century. However, this study confirms the academic and professional agreement that the agile project management technique is not generally applicable (Behrens et al., 2021). Agile project management is used mainly in software development and related sectors, but not universally. Agile project management was created in software development, giving several innovations and advantages for the project team and the customer.

On the other hand, agile project management draws attention to several ‘new’ ways known to ‘conventional’ managers and poses a series of challenges to its natural advantages. When project managers and executives try to apply the methodology to other categories of projects, research highlights that they often face more insurmountable challenges, calling into question the universal applicability of agile project management methods in fields other than software development (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). The article by Pussella and Bandara (2018) examines the possibilities of expanding the agile methodology to different categories of projects and summarizes the most significant improvements resulting from the agile methods. They also postulate that projects managed through agile methodologies take longer than projects managed through traditional methods, another reason why they cannot be universally applied and must be carefully deliberated before their beginnings. However, this difference in duration is not by much (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). The authors highlight that agile methodologies offer the client the leeway to change their requirements even late in the project’s life cycle. However, specific shreds of evidence of these changing requirements are not apparent in the text. Also, the clients can start using some of the project deliverables to generate revenue before the entire project is complete. Agile project management is best for experimental and new projects such as product development, research, systems development, and the reengineering of products or services based on changing customer or client needs (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). Thus, as highlighted by prominent researchers in the field, agile project management is best when dealing with relatively new, risky, or poorly understood projects in the information technology, manufacturing, engineering, science, and research sectors because of its adaptive nature. Agile project management is not universally applicable and should not be viewed as a solution to the ills of all projects burdened by changing or ambiguous customer requirements.

2.3 Concept and Applicability of Traditional Project Management

2.3.1 Concept of Traditional Project Management

Traditional project management focuses on dependability and works on steady progress towards a predetermined objective through gradual, nonreversible, relatively small, incremental steps. In contrast to agile project management, traditional project management places less emphasis on the ability to change and adapt to new circumstances (Wysocki 2019). Instead, traditional project management seeks to complete entire phases of a project one at a time before moving on to subsequent phases.

Traditional project management emphasizes dependability and functions most effectively in an environment that is quiet and stable, with uncomplicated client requirements clearly articulated and fully comprehended by those responsible for the project and requirements that do not evolve throughout the project (Wysocki 2019). Traditional project management methodologies, such as the waterfall project management methodology, assume that the client is aware of what they desire before giving their approval for the project. So that those who collected the project’s requirements did so accurately and that the project manager then conveyed this information precisely to the project team (Marie and Vidal 2016). As Marie and Vidal (2016) point out, many assumptions are made, which is one of the fundamental issues with traditional project management methodologies. This issue occurs especially true when the project is vast, new, and complicated as a result of its numerous pieces, or when the project includes a high number of synchronous parts that all function together, such as massive information technology systems or sophisticated building projects (Marie and Vidal 2016). As a result, agile project management stresses adaptability and flexibility. On the other hand, traditional project management concentrates on finishing the assignment as the clients had envisioned it, deliverable after deliverable and phase by phase. Each of these approaches has a distinct position in the business.

2.3.2 Applicability of Traditional Project Management

Whereas conventional project management is natural and straightforward to apply, it has flaws, particularly in a world that is getting less and less simple and predictable. As a result, it is not generally applicable but should be used concerning project needs and scope. Traditional project management falls significantly short when dealing with intelligent, complicated, and unusual tasks (Pussella & Bandara, 2018). Uncertainty is another flaw in traditional project management that can derail any project that is not adequately described or imagined for all parties involved (Marie and Vidal 2016). Handling chaos or change is not traditional project management’s strong suit, especially in a world where all can change at a moment’s notice and where natural catastrophes, pandemics, and geopolitical shocks are rapidly becoming the norm (Marie and Vidal 2016). When one takes into account the reality that projects are pretty often ambiguous (meaning that their components are likely to evolve and can initially be challenging and complicated to portray ahead of schedule) (Balaban & Đurašković 2021), and that it can be hard to foresee, and plan for upheaval when establishing a project plan; as a result, the chimera of traditional project management’s applicability quickly becomes untenable (Marie and Vidal 2016). As a result, traditional project management approaches work best in well-known industries such as construction, hotels, retail, and logistics. Consequently, traditional project management works best in simple tasks that last for a short time and are carried out in safe and familiar environments where future events can be foreseen and envisaged with great detail.

2.4 Critical Success Factors of Successful Projects

All successful projects have conditions necessary for their successful completion. Whether through traditional or agile project management, successful projects tend to have particular practices and circumstances associated with their fruition, as Orouji (2016) states. While many projects run out of either cash or time, it is insufficient to say that the critical success factors of projects are having enough money and enough time. Since resources are finite and time is constantly moving, it is clear that other success factors are required to clearly outline what makes a project successful and what makes it fail. Several factors can make a poorly planned project succeed, including pure dumb luck. Hence, to arrive at a definite list of critical success factors for projects, it is necessary to turn to academia for answers. The essential elements for the success of most projects are having a firm leadership structure, having clear and relevant deliverables, having a great project team, and having the support of critical stakeholders.

According to existing research, a project’s success (delivering it in time and within the allocated budget) depends on a few universal factors. The first critical success factor for projects with both agile and traditional methodologies happens to be the existence of a formally established figurehead (the project manager in most cases) with the requisite know-how in managing projects and the leeway to make project-related decisions (Orouji 2016). Additionally, having clearly defined and accurate project goals and deliverables is a must for the project to succeed and do so within the delineated deadline (Orouji 2016). The third critical success factor of a successful project, derived from existing research on the subject, is the existence of project team members who are highly experienced and able to do their work well and promptly (Orouji 2016). Last but not least, among these critical success factors is the unilateral support of top management or the topmost ranking executives, who are also project stakeholders (Orouji 2016). Existing factors do not speak much about critical success factors for only agile or only traditional project management, with the critical success factors that have been spoken of being the ones highlighted above. According to research on the topic, these factors are essential should a project manager seek to complete their project on time and under the allocated project budget for both agile and traditional project management methodologies.

2.5 Agile Project Management vs. Traditional Project Management

Project management is a method used by organizations in the process of planning and dedicated resources for the sake of finishing a particular project. Project management comprises many subgroups that differ depending on methodology, approach, and project managers (Zasa et al., 2020). This implies that the tasks completed by project managers using the traditional management approach will differ from those completed by IT project managers using the agile project management technique.

2.5.1 Traditional project Management Technique

Zavyalova et al. (2020) define traditional project management, also known as waterfall project management, as a project management technique always executed in a linear pattern. Its stages include planning, initiation, monitoring, execution, and closure phases. They further emphasize how important it is for one to understand the scope and project management requirements at the beginning of every project. Individuals expect minimal uncertainty in this type of project management technique, so traditional project management techniques are used when dealing with safe and familiar projects in fields that are neither new nor experimental.

2.5.2 Phases of the Traditional Project Management Technique

Sanchez et al. (2019) state that the documentation and gathering requirements are the first phase of traditional project management. They emphasize that one needs thorough brainstorming before beginning a project. According to Sanchez et al. (2019), the steps required in the documentation and gathering requirements stage include getting together with stakeholders, putting together the requirements of the project, and finding the right individuals to implement the project plan and formulate the budget. The second step phase of the traditional project management technique is designing the system. Sanchez et al. (2019) emphasize that one should begin this stage by scheming their system and formulating precise specifications and needs for the hardware. They also state how important it is for one to determine suitable programming languages for use in their coding project. According to Zavyalova et al. (2020), the third phase of the traditional project management technique is the implementation phase. Here, one must create a functional product that is about to go live. According to (Sanchez et al. (2019), coding teams in this stage should assimilate all multiple smaller batches into a whole system. Zavyalova et al. (2020) present the testing stage as the fourth phase of traditional project management. According to Sanchez et al. (2019), it is important to test one’s system and ask the testers for feedback like the difficulties they might have experienced. According to Lensges et al. (2018), the fourth phase of traditional project management is delivery and deployment. Here, one is expected to prepare how they should release and deliver their product thoroughly. Lensges et al. (2020) present the maintenance and updates as the last phase. In this phase, one is advised to create updates, maintain their products, and handle all customer identity issues.

2.5.3 Benefits of the Traditional Project Management

According to existing research, the first benefit of the traditional project management technique is that it offers users a sense of clear direction. Zasa et al. (2020) show that the waterfall project structure is apparent and requires one’s team to proceed to subsequent steps successfully. It is hard, for instance, to implement the waterfall project management technique before outlining requirements and designing the system. According to Lensges et al. (2018), finishing a project on time helps a team to determine what happens next regardless of the team’s progress in terms of its project. Lensges et al. (2018) present “clear documentation” as the second benefit of the traditional management technique. They emphasize that presenting clear documentation helps a team to understand their goals. Here, team members mainly focus on the results of the entire project (Zavyalova et al., 2020). The team members ensure they are still on track while implementing their projects. Lastly, the traditional management technique is beneficial because it offers a single point of accountability. According to Zavyalova et al. (2020), the project manager ensures that the entire team is organized, focused, and accountable. They further state that project managers under this technique should be the ones offering direction.

2.5.4 Agile Project Management Technique

According to Lensges et al. (2018), the agile project management technique highly accepts feedback and change. Lensges et al. (2018) show that most managers prefer the agile technique because of its flexibility. For instance, individuals using the agile technique can efficiently respond to customer requests because they only deal with small project parts at a particular time. Agile methods should be used when dealing with projects whose requirements can change because of their flexibility.

2.5.5 The Advantages of Agile Project Management

According to Zasa et al. (2020), the agile technique is suitable for most developers because of project complexity. They emphasize that this technique suits complex projects because they often have interconnected phases with stages that might depend on other phases. Lensges et al. (2018), on the other hand, show that the traditional project management technique is only suitable for small projects because it follows a linear approach. This implies that complexities in a project can result in a blockage of the whole process, something that might force the team to start over again.

According to Sanchez et al. (2019), the agile approach is favored due to its simplicity and ability to make massive projects possible due to how it distributes tasks and achieves them linearly. Because the approach is linear, they demonstrate its adaptability. They also underline that large undertakings are made up of numerous interrelated stages. This indicates that a difference in one stage results in another change. According to Zavyalova et al. (2020), project managers should take measured risks in challenging settings to enhance the likelihood of adaptation. Because of its simplicity, this approach is very beneficial for complicated tasks.

According to Zavyalova et al. (2020), many individuals prefer the agile method since agile allows for more input and modification. They claim that the approach is adaptable and allows for continual feedback, resulting in the best output in the needed project delivery time. Zavyalova et al. (2020) further underline that standard project management methodologies are ineffective since they cannot handle significant changes. Agile, as the name implies, is adaptable and quick to change.

2.4.6 Features of the Agile Project Management Technique

The first feature of the agile project management technique, according to Lensges et al. (2018), is that it can break projects into parts. They further demonstrate how the agile technique, every broken part can be forwarded to customers after every iteration. Sanchez et al. (2019) demonstrate that the success of the projects can be predicted by evaluating the success of the iterations. Sanchez et al. (2019) show the aspect of self-organization as the second advantage of the agile project management technique. According to Lensges et al. (2018), agile project management utilizes the parallel management approach. This, for instance, implies that groups can only manage workers of a given company instead of the central line of control. In a situation where ten teams work on one project, each team independently manages itself. According to Zasa et al. (2020), the agile project management team has a top-notch customer engagement model. They underline that this project management approach values its clients since it allows project managers to respond to comments after each iteration. According to Zasa et al. (2020), it offers the best attributes that many organizations can employ internationally. This explains why the agile approach is superior to other traditional project management systems. It is also evident that providing customers too much power to modify everything they want about the project is impractical, especially in a more general area.

2.6 Research Gaps

The use of four agile principles in the most academic literature on the subject, coupled with the existence of twelve agile principles that are also valid, is problematic for someone who may be trying to conceptualize agile project management. These principles, while noble, can be confusing and complicated for a conscientious and thorough project manager to implement because of their inherently non-specific nature (Behrens et al., 2021). Thus, these principles need to be conceptualized, perhaps qualitatively, and deconstructed for the sake of helping those who seek to turn them into results.

These agile values, whether four or twelve, are assumed to all have equal importance for the agility of a project. This assumption of equal importance has not been proven or empirically demonstrated to any degree of certainty (Behrens et al., 2021). Indeed, some agile principles may be more critical and valuable than others. However, virtually no research has been done yet to prove which of these four or twelve principles, if any, are more important than the others (Behrens et al., 2021). Also, no research has been done quantifying how much any of these principles are more important than the others.

Most importantly, agile values have not been used to develop a framework to guide agile practitioners in generating the most value for clients when implementing agile project management. The agile values are read out to project managers and are “implemented” by reiterating to the project teams and being superficially used in the project’s design. There is no designated path for one who wishes to apply agile principles in their project (Behrens et al., 2021). Academia and the field of project management professionals need a framework for using agile project management in various areas and a rule book for what to do and not to do when implementing agile project management.