Conventional project-management wisdom dictates that for large and complex projects, a traditional structured approach is best.
To find out what happens when a traditional approach is combined with newer agile methodologies, researchers studied a $15-million, 28-month strategic project that combined these approaches, interviewing the project manager and project teams.
The researchers found that this project's evolving user requirements presented a unique challenge that neither structured nor agile methods alone could effectively address. Combining the two methods enabled the company to respond to changes quickly and effectively.
The researchers warn that agility without structure can cause chaos, particularly in large, complex distributed projects where planning, control and coordination are critical. They say sometimes the hybrid approach is the most successful choice.