How IT Managers can Transform Their Organizations by Using Product Development vs Traditional Project Management

May 23, 2019 12:46:07 PM

team working on product development in office

IT managers are playing a bigger role than ever before in how a business is run and its ultimate success. One of the questions many IT managers have found themselves asking is whether they want to be a part of a business that focuses on agile product development or one that favours a traditional project management plan.

The Difference Between Agile Product Development and Traditional Project Management

Traditional project management is how most businesses handled product development and line improvement. The traditional style involves putting together a long, detailed timeline for each project and getting every single aspect of the product perfect before the official product launch. 

Agile product development is the opposite end of the spectrum. When a business decides to use agile development to create a new product, they create multiple cross-functional product squads who each work on a specific aspect of the product. Key components of agile product development include:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Customer collaboration
  • Updates
  • Speed


While the concept of agile product development has been around for a long time, it didn't become a popular business tool until the turn of the century.

Traditional project management is the process most companies use when they decide it's time to develop a new product. The process follows a well-established process that goes from idea, to developing a prototype, to conducting consumer tests, to debugging the product, to releasing a fully developed product on the market. Businesses that use a traditional project management system never deviate from the formula. The tight timeline also makes it difficult to innovate the product mid-development to accommodate an unanticipated need.


How Traditional Project Management Works

History shows that the traditional model of project management was developed in the 1970s. Businesses quickly fell in love with it. The way the system works is:

  • The business conducts a business analysis and determines if there is a demand for the product
  • The business designs the product
  • The business puts the design through a series of development processes
  • Once happy that they've gotten the design perfect, the business tests the design
  • The business launches the design

Once the design has launched, the business rarely does anything to upgrade or improve the product. 

The rigid and lengthy timeline traditional project management results in many promising products being discarded because they're taking way to long to develop.


How Agile Product Development works

Many believe that agile product development predates traditional project management by several centuries. They argue that if Sir Francis Bacon laid the groundwork for agile product development back in the 1620s when he created his scientific formula. While there are examples of agile development scattered throughout history, the Agile Manifesto wasn't created until 2001. Many businesses, including Toyota and PayPal, have adopted an agile product development strategy and have been very happy with the results.

Businesses that favour agile product development divide their talent into product project squads and break the total project into chunks. Each of the teams works in quick sprints to swiftly handle whichever part of the development process they've been assigned. Using this system, it doesn't take long for the product to launch. After the launch, data and customer feedback is collected. Once the teams have enough customer feedback, they tweak the product, making it extremely user-friendly.

colleagues working on product development on computer

Benefits of Agile Product Development

While there are always going to be risks connected to product development, agile product development goes a long way towards mitigating those risks. A good agile product development system not only drastically shortens the amount of time it takes to launch the product, but since customer feedback leads to constantly improving the product so that it's perfectly suited for your target market's needs and desires. The result is a high degree of customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to customer loyalty. 

Benefits of agile product development include: 

  • Early and Predictable Delivery
  • Lower cost 
  • Predictable timeline
  • It's a development process that allows for change and flexibility
  • Better consumer acceptance
  • A more desirable product
  • Outstanding ROI
  • Happier employees


Benefits of Traditional Project Management

When it comes to software and app development, the biggest benefit of traditional project management is that the product is more polished on the launch date than products developed via an agile process. There aren't any plans to tweak the product to make it more appealing to customers, or more efficient.

Stakeholders like traditional project management. They appreciate getting a piece of paper that has the projected timeline, cost control measures, and assures them that once the product is released, it won't ever need to be changed.

Additional advantages connected to traditional product management include:

  • The ability to schedule mass production
  • The knowledge that all the bugs have been worked out of the product prior to its release date
  • Product designers can turn their complete attention to the next project and not have to think about the one they just completed ever again


How Agile Product Development and Traditional Project Management Compare to One Another

While there are some industries that should focus on traditional project management, others, including software and app development businesses, should seriously consider converting to agile product development. Most businesses report that when they switched to agile product development, they developed products 37% faster than they had before and noticed a 16% increase in productivity. The same companies also reported a significant increase in annual revenue.

Enjoyed this article? Click through to our E-Book and learn about How developing for products over projects will benefit IT Managers in 2019

Sprintat's people are agile product development masters. We have extensive experience helping clients just like you develop both software programs and apps. Schedule a meeting today and learn how we can help you take your high-quality idea and turn into a lucrative product. We have a Sprintat team standing by who is ready and willing to provide you with the design advice and tools needed to make the concept of your design a reality.

Contact us to learn more! We promise we'll never hit you with any false estimates, eagerly collaborate with both you and your employees, and will help you create the best possible product. 


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