The Hybrid Manifesto

Projects are neither completely predictive nor agile any more. They are hybrid in nature. That is the reality. So far, project management had two distinct streams, the Adaptive (Agile) and the Predictive (traditional). The purists believed in any one of the streams. They are busy justifying their views. Now, the industry has changed. Irrespective of the type of work, majority are working from home and that demands adoption of both agile and predictive best practices in the day to day work. That trend is here to stay. The Project Management Institute (PMI) was the front runner in this by including Agile in the Project Management Body of Knowledge four years back. This was followed by the new Scrum Guide 2021, which has become more generic. Scrum is the most popular among the Agile frameworks because of it’s adaptability to various disciplines of project management. According to Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the founders of Scrum, they made the Scrum Guide 2021 more generic so that it becomes easier for all types of projects to adopt it. The trend is very clear. The boundaries between agile and predictive is vanishing, if not yet vanished.

Unfortunately, when I visited the Agile Manifesto Page, it still reads as ‘Agile manifesto for developing software’. From an EPC project practitioner’s perspective this is very demotivating. The engineering phases of any EPC project is a good candidate for agile adoption, but still the agile manifesto is maintained exclusively for software development. Like every other EPC person wanting to leverage agile I feel stranded and unsupported.

These two factors leads to the need for the Hybrid Project Management Manifesto;

The Hybrid Project Management Manifesto

As practitioners of Professional Project Management, We believe that;

All projects are unique in nature,
Tailoring the processes, by incorporating the best from every project management framework is better for project success, than relying on any single framework. 

For this;
We will continuously update our knowledge and skills without any bias to any one particular project management framework,
We will always maintain an independent open view in all our actions to ensure project success. 


I am very optimistic about this, because there are many who opposes this view as well as those support this view. It is high time we stopped saying ‘Agile Vs Waterfall’, instead we must learn to say ‘Agile and Waterfall’ and for that the apt word is 'Hybrid'. Thanks to the traditionalists who contributed us with great tools like the critical path analysis, earned value management and the likes. These are time tested concepts which is here to stay. The agile practices like time boxing, the short term planning, daily team meetings, self organizing teams can be effectively used within phases of every project. That will result in a healthy co-existence.  Think of  burn down charts co-existing with earned value management and helping to protect the earned value.  Nothing is good or bad, the project context determines it’s suitability.

Hope Hybrid manifesto will help us to focus on the project’s success than worrying about the technicalities of frameworks.

The Hybrid manifesto is evolving. You can help with your suggestions.

Abrachan Pudussery

Domain Expert at Wrench Solutions

Request for feedback to serve you and the project management community better

Agile is excellent. Predictive project management is even better. Leveraging the strengths of these two intelligently to make the projects successful is very practical and many of the organizations are practicing hybrid project management very effectively. We are really glad to see this independent view of ours gaining wider acceptance these days. Thanks to PMI, for incorporating the same views in the latest version of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). This is the project management practitioner’s perspective.

When it comes to project management education perspective, our experience is totally different. When we try to educate a project management professional both Agile and Predictive together, that becomes very difficult to understand and comprehend for them. That is because some of the fundamentals of predictive and agile are different and even conflicting.

Hence our new project management training program is highly modular and comprises of a stack of four programs;

  1. Predictive Project Management (PPM)
  2. Agile Project Management (PPM)
  3. Hybrid Project Management (HPM)
  4. PMP Content & Certification focus

These are our thoughts based on experience, and we have started developing these training programs with the hope of making things easier for the learner of professional project management, for both the experienced and the novice.

Here is the help we need from you…

We have completed the week#1 module of the Predictive Project Management Course, which is part of the New 10 week PMP program. We are seeking early inputs / feedback from you to incorporate them into the subsequent modules and courses which will definitely help us to make these courses very learner friendly to serve you and the project management community better in the coming days. Your inputs are very valuable to us. Please spare a few minutes of your valuable time to share your experience and views with us.

Click here for the Week#1 Module of Predictive Project Management

Click here to provide us with your feedback

Interpreting Sprint or Iteration burn-down charts

If you learn to interpret the iteration burn down charts or sprint burn down charts, then you have understood agile or scrum conceptually correct. This article will walk you through the iteration burn down chart of a sprint.

Day#1

The Iteration or Sprint starts with the Iteration planning meeting. The output of the iteration planning meeting are;

  • The list of features to be developed during the iteration
  • Estimated story points (feature points) for the features (Fibonacci series)
  • The activities that need to be performed and their effort estimates
  • The tracking board (kanban board) which has the columns for;
    • To be done
    • Being done
    • Done
  • Two types of the Iteration / Sprint burn down chart
    • One with cumulative effort required to complete the sprint on the ‘Y’ axis and the duration of the sprint on the ‘X’ axis. The balance effort required to complete the sprint gets updated on a daily basis. This is a re-estimate by the team on a daily basis (this is not planned effort – consumed effort). This type of iteration burn down charts with the effort required to complete the iteration on the ‘Y’ axis and the iteration duration on the ‘X’ axis will help teams to speed up when required.
    • Teams use Iteration burn down to monitor the story points completed against the story points planned within the iteration. In this case the ‘Y’ axis will have the total story points planned for the sprint. This will get decreased based on the actual story points completed. This type of iteration burn down charts help the project stakeholders, especially the product owner to monitor and control the story points planned Vs achieved within the iteration.

Sprint burn down – Immediately after the planning meeting

Sprint burn down after day#2 of the sprint

Sprint burn down after day#3 of the sprint

Sprint burn down after day#4 of the sprint

Areas to apply agile within EPC Projects

The overall duration of the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) intensive projects can be reduced / controlled considerably by the application of agile best practices during the following phase / activities;

Pre-project phase

  • Assigning a task force to conduct preliminary studies
  • Studying the users requirements
  • Defining the technical specifications
  • Studying how to secure funds
  • Estimation of the project cost and duration (budgetary)
  • Approval of the project cost
  • Determining the technical specification of the materials
  • Studying the impact of the project on safety and health
  • Establishing criteria for the selection of project location
  • Establishment of milestones
  • Describing the responsibilities and authority of the parties involved
  • Establishment of a change control process
  • Establishment of design criteria for structural specifications
  • Conducting a feasibility study of the proposed project
  • Site preparation / readiness
    • Getting all the clearances required
    • Establishing the construction areas and path of construction

Site preparation

  • Land acquisition
  • Re-rehabilitation
  • Getting all the clearances required
  • Ensuring site readiness

Project phase

  • Basic design phase
    • Documentation for tendering and contracting
    • Specifications for procuring equipment
    • Regular design and specification review meetings
  • Detailed design phase
    • Qualifying of design professionals
    • Performing technical and financial analysis of offers from competing contractors
    • Selecting the design team
    • Providing inputs to design on time
    • Monitoring and controlling the design progress
    • Updating design documents
    • Reviewing design documents
    • Ensuing design quality and adherence to technical standards
  • Tendering
    • Preparing the specifications and agreement conditions
    • Preparing bill of quantities (BOQ) and estimating the contract value
    • Issuing tender documents
    • Holding tender briefing meetings
    • Receiving bids and evaluating them
    • Recommendations are made for the successful contractor
    • Awarding of the contract
  • Execution or construction phase
  • If detailed designs are not provided as part of the tender document, the contractor proceeds with the detailed design and drawings and follows it up with construction
  • Regular progress monitoring

Closure or completion phase

  • Snag lists
  • Punch lists
  • Completion certificate

As we can see, these are the areas where multi disciplinary communication and coordination is required maximum. The biggest culprit for delay in most of the infrastructure projects is in getting clearances. By bringing in agile project management (APM) best practices to these areas of projects, the overall delay of the projects can be controlled effectively.

Emergence of the Project Leader Role

From project manager to project leader, may sound crazy for at least some of my fellow professionals from the I.T industry where a Project manager role is considered as hierarchically above the project leader role. One first become a project leader, before becoming a project manager. The paradox is that Leaders are always considered at a higher level than managers in management literature and till now there is no project leader role in any other domain except I.T. Even though I got confused about this conflict between I.T management and the mainstream management, I kept quiet because I thought the Industry must be right over an individual.

Fortunately, while performing research to understand the global trends in EPC project management to design a course for Wrench Academy, it became clearer of the emergence of the role ‘Project Leader’.

Top 7 emerging global project management trends

  1. The project’s success criteria will be determined by ROI, ROCE than the traditional triple constraints of Time, Cost and scope.
  2. Projects will be executed through distributed teams, collaborating with each other over cloud based platforms performing concurrent development.
  3. Project planning will be decentralized and will rely on tailoring best practices from all streams of project management (traditional, agile) for the benefit of the project, than relying on any one method.
  4. Project requirements will be evolving and flexible
  5. Work breakdown structures will evolve bottom up
  6. Assumptions and constraints will be re-validated and revised throughout the project
  7. Activity workflows will become parallel

Out of these, the biggest paradigm shift is the shift in project’s success criteria from delivering on time to the return on investment (ROI) or the return on capital deployed (ROCE).

This change in project management canvas, called as Project Management 2.0 , and now followed by renowned industry bodies like Construction Industry Institute (CII) and Project Management Institute calls for enhancement of project manager’s skill set from tactical to strategic or it justifies the emergence of the ‘Project Leader’ role across all significant projects, whose primary role will be enhancing value to the owner by focusing on benefits management.

When the teams are no more collocated, motivational aspects of the team which drives them to accomplish the project goals are very important. While managing ROI, principle centered decision making is important to create an open and trustworthy environment to facilitate open communication and collaboration across all stakeholders. That is the reason why so much emphasis is given to principle driven project management over process driven project management. Without trust, there is no collaboration across distributed teams.

Carrying stones Vs Building the Cathedral

One day in 1671, Christopher Wren observed three bricklayers on a scaffold, one crouched, one half-standing and one standing tall, working very hard and fast. To the first bricklayer, Christopher Wren asked the question, “What are you doing?” to which the bricklayer replied, “I’m a bricklayer. I’m working hard laying bricks to feed my family.” The second bricklayer, responded, “I’m a builder. I’m building a wall.” But the third brick layer, the most productive of the three and the future leader of the group, when asked the question, “What are you doing?” replied with a gleam in his eye, “I’m a cathedral builder. I’m building a great cathedral to The Almighty.”

Delivering value by continuously portraying the larger picture of the project and it’s benefits to every stakeholder in a trustworthy manner consistently is the new emerging role of true Project Leaders. In other words, project Leaders are the new CEO of the projects.