An Introduction to Project Management (7th Edition) : Predictive; Agile; and Hybrid Approaches

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AuthorsKathy Schwalbe


In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, effective project management has become a critical component for organizations to achieve their goals. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has been at the forefront of promoting best practices in project management, and their latest edition, the Seventh Edition, provides a comprehensive guide to project management methodologies, including predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches. This blog post aims to introduce these three approaches and highlight their key features and benefits.

Predictive Approach

The predictive approach, also known as the waterfall model, is a traditional project management method characterized by a linear and sequential process. It follows a well-defined plan from initiation to completion, with distinct phases such as initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure. The predictive approach assumes that requirements are well understood and stable throughout the project lifecycle.

Key features of the predictive approach include

1. Detailed planning: A thorough project plan is created at the beginning of the project, outlining the scope, timeline, and resources required.

2. Fixed scope and schedule: The scope and timeline are defined at the outset and changes are discouraged to maintain stability and control.

3. Sequential execution: The project progresses in a linear manner, with each phase dependent on the completion of the previous phase.

4. Emphasis on documentation: Comprehensive documentation is crucial, enabling stakeholders to understand the project’s progress and ensuring effective knowledge transfer.

Agile Approach

The agile approach emerged as a response to the limitations of the predictive approach. It focuses on adaptability, collaboration, and iterative development, allowing teams to respond to changing requirements and deliver value incrementally. Agile methodologies, such as Scrum and Kanban, have gained popularity due to their flexible and customer-centric nature.

Key features of the agile approach include

1. Iterative development: Projects are divided into short iterations called sprints, with frequent feedback and evaluation cycles.

2. Customer involvement: Close collaboration with customers and stakeholders throughout the project ensures their evolving needs are understood and incorporated.

3. Self-organizing teams: Agile empowers teams to make decisions collectively and encourages cross-functional collaboration.

4. Flexibility and adaptability: The agile approach embraces change and welcomes modifications to requirements, enabling teams to respond quickly to market dynamics.

Hybrid Approach

Recognizing the strengths of both the predictive and agile approaches, the hybrid approach combines elements from both methodologies. It allows project managers to tailor their approach based on the specific requirements of the project and the organization. The hybrid approach can be particularly useful when dealing with complex projects that have both predictable and uncertain elements.

Key features of the hybrid approach include

1. Customizable processes: Project managers have the flexibility to choose and combine practices from predictive and agile approaches based on project needs.

2. Risk management: Hybrid methodologies often incorporate risk assessment and mitigation strategies from the predictive approach to ensure project success.

3. Adaptive planning: While providing a degree of predictability, the hybrid approach allows for adjustments and refinements as the project progresses.

4. Continuous improvement: The hybrid approach promotes a culture of learning and continuous improvement, enabling teams to incorporate feedback and refine their practices over time.


As organizations strive to remain competitive in a fast-paced environment, project management methodologies play a pivotal role in ensuring successful project outcomes. The Seventh Edition of the PMI’s Project Management guide provides an in-depth understanding of three prominent approaches: predictive, agile, and hybrid. By familiarizing themselves with these methodologies, project managers can choose the most suitable approach for their projects, resulting in improved efficiency, adaptability, and stakeholder satisfaction.

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