PMP in a Snap

The Different Development Approaches

August 08, 2023 Kaye B Episode 45
PMP in a Snap
The Different Development Approaches
Show Notes Transcript

The development approach is the means used to create and evolve the product, service, or result during the project life cycle. We'll be talking about predictive, adaptive and hybrid approaches.. All lessons are based on the PMBOK®, 6th and 7th Edition.  


CAPMP, PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc. 


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The development approach is the means used to create and evolve the product, service, or result during the project life cycle. Not only there are different development approaches, but different industries may also use different terms to refer to the development approaches. Three commonly used approaches are predictive, adaptive and hybrid. Let’s discuss each one in detail.

The predictive approach is useful when the project and product requirements can be defined, collected, and analyzed at the START of the project. You may hear this, also called the waterfall approach. Organizations tend to use this when a significant investment is involved and/or a high level of risk that may require frequent reviews, changes, resources, etc. And the risks are usually well defined in the early phases of the project life cycle and they are relatively stable. This allows the project team to reduce the level of uncertainty early in the project and do much of the planning up front. They may use proof-of-concept developments to explore options, but the majority of the project work follows the plans that were developed near the start of the project and often times, projects that use this approach have templates from previous, similar projects. Think of if you were building a office complex. There is usually a blueprint of similar office spaces and you’ll follow that approach, but you may think of adding a water fountain in the executive suite, and that may not have been done before. However, the majority of the management of this project is predictable. 

Adaptive approaches are useful when the requirements are subject to high level of uncertainty and volatility and changes are pretty certain to happen throughout the project. The team establishes a clear vision at the start of the project and know the initial requirements based on user feedback and the environment but they also understand these can be refined, changed or replaced throughout the project. The adaptive approach uses iterative and incremental approaches. However, the iterations tend to get shorter and the product is more likely to evolve based on stakeholder feedback. 

Adaptive approaches is linked to agile approaches. Some agile approaches entail iterations that are in weeks in duration with the team demonstrating accomplishments at the end of those iterations. The project team is very engaged with the planning for each of the interations by determining the scope they can achieve based on the prioritized backlog, estimating the work involved and the work collaboratively throughout the iteration to develop the scope. 


Using the same construction of an office space example, now we are building a website about the new construction. For this, we would use the adaptive approach. The website is live however, you still need to add additional content and a contact form. Your digital team would create the blog post and then you will put it up in two weeks.


The hybrid approach is a combination of adaptive and predictive approaches. Meaning, that there are some elements from a predictive approach that would be beneficial for the project and some elements of the adaptive approach is used. This method is useful when deliverables can be modularized or when there are deliverables that different project teams can develop. An example of a hybrid approach could be using a adaptive approach to develop a product that has significant uncertainty associated with the requirements but the deployment of the product can be done using a predictive approach. You will see a lot of organizations use hybrid approaches in their project management because predictive and adaptive is pretty much useful in all situations. Depending on the project, you may lean heavier on one approach than the other. 



That is your PMP in a Snap. We’ll see you again next week.