New Research to Explore the Convergence of Methodologies in Project Management



By Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

Brussels, Belgium

Project management has long been a field of strategic importance, but the debate over which methodology reigns has often overshadowed the quest for efficiency and adaptability. The traditional Waterfall approach, with its sequential phases and emphasis on upfront planning, has been pitted against the dynamic and iterative Agile method, which prioritizes flexibility and customer collaboration.

The Battle Between Waterfall and Agile

Historically, project management has been dominated by two main methodologies: Waterfall and Agile. Waterfall is known for its linear and structured approach, requiring teams to complete each project phase before moving on to the next. This method is often favored in industries where strict regulations and detailed planning are paramount. Agile, on the other hand, offers a more iterative and flexible approach, allowing for rapid adaptation to change and continuous stakeholder involvement.

The rise of Agile methodologies brought about a significant shift in project management, leading to a divide within the community. This divide turned into a battle, with proponents of each methodology often finding themselves at odds. The debate over the predictability of Waterfall versus the adaptability of Agile has been a source of contention.

The Hybrid Approach: A Solution

The hybrid project management approach (Merriam-Webster’s definition of Hybrid: a combination of two or more methods) emerges as a sign of hope in this landscape of contention. It represents a synthesis of the predictability and order of Waterfall with the adaptability and speed of Agile. This methodological approach offers a promising path forward for project managers who seek to navigate the complexities of modern projects without being constrained by the limitations of a single approach.

The Gap in Research and Literature

The PMI’s PMBOK7 and Standard for Project Management, 7th edition, have significantly expanded the acceptance of hybrid project management approaches, acknowledging a practice that has been in use for years: adapting the management method to the specific needs of each project. This flexibility is particularly vital for large projects or programs with substantial technological components, including those in traditionally more structured fields like engineering and construction. The transition towards hybrid methodologies considers various factors, particularly during different project phases and life cycles. It recognizes that the earliest stages of a project offer the greatest potential for impacting outcomes through agility, flexibility, and change, reflecting a shift in the project management community towards more adaptable and nuanced solutions to meet the challenges of modern project environments.


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Nieto-Rodriguez, A. (2024).  New Research to Explore the Convergence of Methodologies in Project Management, commentary, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue III, March.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/pmwj139-Mar2024-Nieto-Rodriguez-Research-to-Explore-the-Convergence-of-pm-Methodologies.pdf

About the Author

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

Brussels, Belgium


Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez is the author of the Harvard Business Review Project Management Handbook, the featured HBR article The Project Economy Has Arrived, and five other books, and is the creator of concepts such as the Project Economy. He is the most published author of project management articles in HBR. His research and global impact have been recognized and included in the top 50 most influential management thought leaders by Thinkers50. Fellow and Former Chairman of the Project Management Institute, he is the creator of the Brightline Initiative, founder of Projects&Co and AI Predictor, and co-founder of PMOtto GPT and the Strategy Implementation Institute. He is a member of Marshall Goldsmith 100 coaches. You can follow Antonio through his LinkedIn Newsletter – Lead Projects Successfully, his popular online course Project Management Reinvented for Non-Project Managers, and his website.

Antonio is also the author of “Lead Successful Projects” (Penguin, 2019), “The Project Revolution” (LID, 2019). and “The Focused Organization” (Taylor & Francis, 2014), and has contributed to seven other books. A pioneer and leading authority in teaching and coaching senior executives the art and science of strategy execution and project management. Currently visiting professor at Duke CE, Instituto de Empresa, Solvay, Vlerick, Ecole des Ponts, and Skolkovo.

He is a much-in-demand speaker at events worldwide. Antonio has presented at more than 500 conferences around the world, regularly evaluated as the best speaker. European Business Summit, Strategy Leaders Forum, Gartner Summit, TEDx, and EU Cohesion Policy Conference; are some of the events he has delivered inspirational keynotes.

Born in Madrid, Spain, and educated in Germany, Mexico, Italy, and the United States, Antonio is fluent in five languages. He is an Economist, has an MBA from London Business School and Insead’s IDP. You can follow Antonio through his LinkedIn Newsletter – Lead Projects Successfully. For more information, visit his website at www.antonionietorodriguez.com. He can be reached via email: antonio.nieto.rodriguez@gmail.com