Hybrid project management – The skills and frameworks for project managers for the next decades

As we all know the entire globe is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and I cannot imagine how many projects were shut down, how many contractors and sub-contractors lost their jobs or project staff and labours had to go back to their hometowns. Project managers and business enterprises are really struggling to adopt to that new way of working. We owe it to them to adapt to this and to shape the future of project management as well as to prepare future project managers. The post COVID period will be the greatest day for all project managers and their global opportunities will increase as they are an integral part of businesses.
But how can a project manager improve his competence for the future? Which framework can we use? Waterfall, Agile, Hybrid, AI?
Person sitting in front of a window. [1]

The way I see the future of project management

I'm of the opinion that we need to develop our perspective and our point of view. We need to think in different perspectives to deliver future projects. Hybrid project management is a combination of frameworks that we can adopt to the respective context and use accordingly in all sectors. You probably know that for a project manager, variety and versatility are the best tactics for achieving a project's goal. We can always combine our technical mastery with new skills, whatever that may be, and across all project activities.
You surely know that agile frameworks alone are impractical for long project durations and for large teams as well. It lacks the structures to achieve long-term goals where a step-by-step product delivery is not possible (e.g. in construction industry or manufacturing industry). On the other hand, the Waterfall model itself is not good at adapting to change, especially in the software development industry where a working product is not produced until the end of the project. In this case, we can use a hybrid concept to eliminate the weaknesses of both existing frameworks. Blending Agile with Waterfall makes it easier to adapt throughout your project, and moreover, a project team can work more efficiently whenever a project manager or the project team encounters problems throughout the project life cycle. In fact, the right approach is most important for a successful project result.
By adopting a hybrid approach, we can use the traditional waterfall model as a structure for projects and the agile framework for project or product delivery, as by blending working technologies, a project manager can always manage the projects in a complex world and environment. This is an important thing to understand for both a successful project manager and the project team when it comes to projects in a complex environment.
So, we can say, that these are all benefits of the hybrid approach, but at the same time there are many challenges to overcome, which include:
  • People and organisations have to change their mind-set and adapt their working style.
  • Conflicts and disturbances arise at an organisational level due to opposing conceptions of these frameworks.
  • It takes time to learn new methodologies and its practical implementation.

Yet we want the flexibility of Agile and need the reliability of Waterfall. Hybrid project management can give us the best of both. As project managers, it is our duty to expand our horizons and get the big picture of the projects.
Author: Mahesh EV is a project manager with more than 11 years of practical experience and the Senior Official of the IAPM in the metropolitan regions of New Delhi, Trivandrum and Calicut, India. Mahesh's implementation of many procurement and construction projects has broadened his experience. He has demonstrated his skills in the successful planning and execution of several projects, such as thermal power plants and renewable energy projects across India – from kick-off to handover of the plant.

Key words: Hybrid project management, project planning, project structure

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