Saturday, January 21, 2023

Management Yogi’s CHAMP Certification: Seven Principles of Hybrid-Agile Management (Part – 1)

Principles are important in life and learning, because principles don’t change; rather, the underlying practices change. Principles, by its very nature, are like natural laws, e.g., gravity, daily sunrise. Natural laws don’t change. Rather, practices underlying the principles change, e.g., waking up before sunrise or after sunrise.  

As the well-known saying goes: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; but teach a man how to fish, and feed him for a life time.

Effectively, principle does that – teach a person to fish. The surroundings can change, the weather can change, the water torrent can change, but still the person can fish if the person knows the principles of fishing.

With these basics, let’s understand briefly the principles of Hybrid-Agile Management. These principles are taken from the Certified Hybrid-Agile Master Professional (CHAMP) course. I believe you will be seeing these principles for the first time. Hence, take your time to go through and understand. As I've seen many projects use Hybrid-Agile approaches and in such cases, you can apply these principles.

Note: When you subcribe to the CHAMP certification course (or PMP, RMP, ACP, CAPM or any other video course), you can join my regular Management Review Sessions, whenever applicable. It'll be completely free of cost to you.

In the first part of this series, I’ve outlined the first four principles of Hybrid-Agile Management. These are brief explanations. In-depth explanations with videos are available in the CHAMP course.

[This series: Part – 2]

So, let's go through the principles one-by-one.


Principle – 1: Customize the approach according to the need.

There is no point in debating unnecessarily on waterfall and avoiding it completely. A lot of time is wasted thinking what aspects of waterfall should or should not be taken in. Teams debate and discuss it for long. However, a phase-based sequential (waterfall) model does work when you have clarity in design and requirements. There is no point reinventing the wheel.

On the other hand, Agile works when you have high churn in requirements and technology. This is where an iterative and incremental model fits in.

Hence, it’s wise to combine and customize your approach according to the needs of your customer.  

As shown above, when you customize, you can take a set of approaches together such as Waterfall/sequential, Scrum, Kanban, XP (engineering practices) etc.

Principle – 2: Keep your team close, keep your customer closer.

Team delivers the work; customer uses that work. Team success is important. Customer success is more important. Without customers, there is no product, team or project. 

Customers’ perspectives will be different than yours (and team). Understand what the customer wants and needs. This also reflects the first principle, which says “Customize the approach…”.

But why is it a principle? Because in Hybrid-Agile the team structure will be different compared to traditional waterfall or plain Agile. If you have work in such a project, you’ll understand both the importance of such a structure, team and more importantly, the involvement of customers.

Principle – 3: Adapt your mindset to the approach being used.

Customizing the approach is needed, but it's not enough. You also need to couple and complement it with a mindset change. Without mindset change, you can’t produce the deliverables properly. You and your team will struggle. 

Waterfall/traditional approach usually follows a detailed, up-front and plan-driven mindset. And you deliver at the end of the project or at phase gates for a multi-phase project. However, do note that even in waterfall, changes are taken not only via change control, but totally new requirements are also accepted in other ways such as progressive elaboration and rolling wave planning. Many won't tell you that! Rolling wave planning is briefly explained in the next principle (Principle - 4). 

Agile, on the other hand, follows a change-driven mindset and you deliver incrementally as well as sometimes iteratively as in Scrum (or no iteration as in Kanban, but it’s incremental). 

Principle – 4: Welcome and embrace change in requirements.

The idea is not to accept change, or just adapt to changes. But welcome change. Embrace change.

Change can happen for both waterfall and Agile. Change is accepted in both approaches, though the way differs.

A number of management practitioners think that change in waterfall is always tightly controlled. It’s not always the case. Change in waterfall/sequential can also happen with rolling wave planning, which is a form of iterative planning technique. Iterative planning is one of the cornerstones of Agile.

Agile, as I’ve informed in many articles and specifically in this article of Why and When to Go for Agile Lifecycle, is both iterative and incremental. As it’s iterative the focus remains on requirement fine-tuning or correctness of solution. It’s also incremental, which increases the speed of delivery.

[This series: Part – 2] 


As you go through the course and sit in the CHAMP certification exam, you need to be aware of these principles. Throughout the course, these principles are applied – be it Hybrid-Scrum, Hybrid-Kanban or Hybrid-ScrumBan management. In the next part, we will see the final set of principles.
If you have any feedback, comments or suggestions on these principle, please put them below in the comment section. I'll respond and I'll learn from you.

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