Adaptive vs. Predictive

  • 27. 3. 2019
  • Pavel

At first, people tried to apply industrial work techniques to knowledge work
projects. Because of increase failure projects, it was a need for a new approach. Agile methods were developed in response to the problem. The new initiative began in the software development field, but it is used in all kind of knowledge of projects.

What agile is?

If you will ask people what agile is, you will receive many strange answers. The most common is agile is a mindset, which it is not wrong, but it does not mean too much as agile may need a mindset or may create a mindset. The right answer, agile it is the use of an adaptive system.

Now there is a large community who are interested in Agile and there are seeing as a religion so they are fighting with everything that it is not agile even they do not know what that thing is. There are many who say we do not need project managers any more as it is enough we have Agile. And also, we cannot say that all that it is not adaptive (agile) it is waterfall (predictive) as it is also the third option, this is chaos. Chaos happens for projects which have no system. And there are a lot of projects in this category.

Agile methods are development approaches based on customer collaboration, teamwork, iterative development and adaptability. Agile methods benefit came from 2 main sources. The first benefit is reduced development costs due to increased productivity and cost efficiency. Agile methods use lightweight project planning, intensive customer interaction, frequent software releases, and high-performance teams. Because they have no heavy project plans, software documentation, and nonvalue-adding functional groups, agile methods have little process overhead. The second source of benefits is a few defects, low software maintenance, and lower total life-cycle costs. Agile methods use customer interaction with efficient traditional methods.

Compared to agile methods, traditional methods have more people, processes and documents, which cost more and result in more defects than agile methods, which raise total life-cycle costs.

The benefits of agile

Agile methods have many intangible and tangible benefits. Their intangible benefits set them apart from traditional methods and stem from the four major values of agile methods: customer collaboration, teamwork, iterative development and adaptability. Customer collaboration leads to enhanced communication, strong relationship, more trust, and higher customer satisfaction. High-performance teams involve highly skilled programmers, better cooperation, communication quality and problem-solving.
Adaptability helps firms respond to changing market conditions. Agile methods also have many tangible benefits. All these factors combine to make agile methods more productive to use traditional methods. On average, agile methods are about 25 times more efficient than traditional methods. The benefits of agile methods can be easily expressed using top-down cost and quality metrics, models, and measurements.

Befor you will start with the project

For every project there are 2 things to think at the beginning of the project:

1) Do I need to be adaptive? You only needed only you can rely on cannot understand what the expectations are upfront. But for example, if it is about building a bridge we can know the expectations, so we can use the predictive system.

2) Can I be adaptive? You can be when you can develop iteratively and deliver incrementally. And unfortunately, you cannot do it in every type of project. For example, if you want to build a building: Can we design the foundation and then design the walls and then something else? No. When you design the foundation of the building you have to design everything else, all the structure. We can not design things in insolation in construction projects, they need to be all together.

Agile methods are not useable in every type of projects. Below you can see different approach between adaptive and predictive. We realize that these 2 methods are different in term of emphasis, management style, size, process style, performance measurement.

ApproachAdaptive (Agile)Predictive (Waterfall)
Process styleIterativeLinear
Upfront planningLowHigh
Perspective to changeAdaptabilitySustainability
Management styleDecentralisedAutocratic
Performance MeasurementBusiness valuePlan conformity
Returns on InvestmentEarly throughout
End of project

The summary

The central focus of Waterfall methods is scope while in Agile it is to achieve maximum business value.

In Waterfall cost and schedule are to ensure that the desired scope is achieved while in Agile quality and constraints can be altered to achieve the main objective, which is it to attain maximum business value.

The waterfall model is suitable for ordered and predictable projects in which all the requirements are clearly defined and can be estimated accurately. Changing requirements from customers have let to an increased pressure on businesses to adapt and change their delivery methods.

Agile projects are completed iteratively wherein functionalities with the highest business value are completed first. Cross-functional teams work in parallel in sprints to deliver potentially shippable solutions at the end of every sprint.

Agile is based on inspect-adapt cycle as Waterfall is based command and control.

Agile methods are more success in the current market, which is made by unpredictability.