Project Management Techniques: Modified Waterfall

Free to Go Back

In my last post I wrote about the pure Waterfall Method of project management that moves from one stage of the project to the next without returning to a previous stage.  This method has widely become regarded as problematic because it is too inflexible to handle the inevitable change that will occur as a project progresses.

There is a natural learning curve during any new endeavor and a project is better off if there is some allowance for adjustments based on what is discovered during development process.

The need to make adjustments to an original set of requirements has led project managers to widely a modified Waterfall Method.  This method is also known as the Sashimi Waterfall Model.  This method has the same stages as the original Waterfall Method.  The difference in the model is that the stages have some overlap, meaning that there are many tasks that happen concurrently.  This overlap allow for some back tracking to incorporate changes to requirements based on what is learned during the development stage.

The up side to the flexible nature of this model is that there is a lot more flexibility to correct mistakes and make small changes, leading to less re-work later on in the project.  Another advantage is that there is usually less paper work burdening the members of the project team as the documentation is more in line with the fluid nature of the project.

As with all models, there are some drawbacks as well.  With the introduction of flexibility comes an increase in the complexity of managing each phase.  Since the phases overlap it is harder to close out the phase.  At some point a limit may need to be put on continual fine tuning, allowing further enhancement to come in a later project.  If this limit isn’t put in place the project runs the risk of not staying on schedule.

As with the Waterfall method I’m curious to hear from anyone who has been on a project managed in this way.  What worked well and what didn’t?

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