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20/100 - Project Management Approaches & Need for Project Tailoring

Updated: Feb 4, 2023

When it comes to project management, there are different approaches that can be taken. In this blog post, we will take a look at three of the most popular approaches – predictive, adaptive and hybrid. We will discuss the pros and cons of each approach so that you can determine which one would be best for your next project.

Predictive Approach

The predictive approach to project management is based on the assumption that the project scope, schedule and cost are known in advance. This approach is best suited for projects with well-defined requirements where there is little or no uncertainty. The main advantage of this approach is that it helps to minimise risks and uncertainties associated with the project. The main disadvantage of this approach is that it can be inflexible and follows a stringent change management process for changes to be made, once the project has started. Many of the regulatory projects in safety critical domains adopt a predictive approach. However with SAFe there is a shift, where more such highly constrained projects as well moving towards agile.

Adaptive Approach

The adaptive approach to project management is based on the assumption that the project scope, schedule and cost are not known in advance. This approach is best suited for projects where there is a lot of uncertainty and change is likely to occur. The main advantage of this approach is that it allows for changes to be made during the course of the project. The main disadvantage of this approach is that there is less certainty about how the project will unfold. All or most of the startups and technology teams follow this adaptive approach to software development.

Hybrid Approach

The hybrid approach to project management combines elements of both the predictive and adaptive approaches. This approach is best suited for projects where there is some uncertainty but not as much as there would be with an adaptive project. The main advantage of this approach is that it allows for some flexibility while still providing a degree of certainty about how the project will unfold. The main disadvantage of this approach is that it can be more difficult to manage than either the predictive or adaptive approaches due to the need to balance both sets of needs. Many of the service based projects follow this approach, where at a high level its predictive to deliver on agreed customer commitments and at team level can have a adaptive approach.

We have looked at three different approaches to project management – predictive, adaptive and hybrid. Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages which should be considered when deciding which one to use for your next project.

What are the factors to consider while choosing a software development approach?

  • The type of project: Is the software development project short-term or long-term? Does it require large-scale customization, or will off-the-shelf software do?

  • Cost: The cost of development and maintenance should be taken into consideration when selecting the approach.

  • Flexibility: Predictive approaches are not suitable for changes as they require detailed planning up front and any changes have to go through the whole process again. Adaptive and hybrid approaches offer more flexibility.

  • Time: Predictive approaches generally require more time as compared to adaptive and hybrid approaches

  • Organizational PMO recommendations for standardization

  • Understand the priorities of the software development project on the project constraints

  • Evaluate the size and complexity of the project especially regulatory and compliance reqs

  • Determine the amount of flexibility is accepted by the stakeholders

  • Determine if the project requires quick turnaround or long-term stability

  • Consider the skillset and knowledge of the development team

  • Analyze the risk factors associated with each approach

  • Understand the support requirements and availability of resources

An Overview of Project Tailoring

In the field of software engineering, project tailoring is the process of adapting a software development process to better fit the needs of a specific project. This can be done in a number of ways, but the goal is always the same: to create a process that is better suited to the unique constraints and objectives of the project at hand. let's examine some of the benefits that can be gained by tailoring a project in the first place.

Benefits of Project Tailoring

Tailoring a project specifically to the needs of the customer can offer a number of benefits, both for the customer and for the software development team. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: When a project is tailored to meet the specific needs and objectives of the customer, it is more likely that the customer will be satisfied with the final product. This is because their expectations will have been managed more effectively and they will receive exactly what they asked for.

  • Reduced Costs: By definition, tailoring requires that only those processes and deliverables which are absolutely necessary for the success of the project be included. This means that time and money can be saved by not doing things which are not strictly necessary.

  • Increased Efficiency: A well-tailored project will make use of best practices and proven methodologies which are known to produce results efficiently. This can lead to improved morale among team members and increased efficiency throughout the lifetime of the project.

  • Improved Quality: When deliverables are tailored to match customer expectations exactly, there is less room for error. This often leads to an improved final product which better meets the needs of all stakeholders involved.

Methods for Tailoring Projects

As mentioned above, there are many different approaches that can be taken when tailoring a software development process. Some common methods include:

Process Assessment

The first step in any tailoring effort is to assess all aspects of the current process in order to identify areas which can be improved. This assessment should be conducted by an independent party who is familiar with both the development process being used and with best practices in general. Once areas for improvement have been identified, they can then be addressed one by one.

Viewpoint Analysis

In order to tailor a process effectively, it is important to understand all relevant viewpoints and how they fit together. This can be done by creating a diagram which shows how each team member or stakeholder views the project from their own perspective. Once this diagram has been created, it becomes much easier to see how each piece fits together and where potential improvements can be made.

- Another approach is to build a project management methodology from scratch, using best practices and industry standards as a starting point. This approach may be more time-consuming, but it can also be more flexible and allow for a greater degree of customization.


Regardless of the approach, the key to successful project tailoring for software projects is to focus on the specific needs of the project and the stakeholders involved. This may involve working closely with the project team and key stakeholders to understand their goals and constraints, and then adapting the project management approach accordingly.

Ultimately, the key to successful project tailoring for software projects is to find the right balance between flexibility and structure. By adapting a project management approach to fit the specific needs and constraints of the project, organizations can improve communication and collaboration, reduce the likelihood of scope creep and other project risks, and ultimately deliver better results for their clients.

Recommended Reference

Coming up in the next blog - 'What is Stakeholder Identification'?'.

Note 1: This blog is part of a 100 Days of Learning Series on Web3 Project Management frameworks and best practices published on Program Strategy HQ. For more details on the 100 days of blogging campaign check out Blog 0.

Note 2: Reach out to info@programstrategyhq for any queries.

Note 3: Program Strategy HQ Disclaimer for Reference.


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