An organization is like a human body, including several working projects, small or large, that make the organization function effectively. These projects are run by teams of managers, developers, marketers and several other employees. Each type of business, from small to big, relies on project management to create its products and solutions effectively.

In a study conducted by Techopedia, organizations that have been using project management approaches have shown a 92% success rate in achieving their project goals and objectives. Moreover, according to a survey conducted by Organize Agile, around 83% of organizations could observe better agility and adaptability in their workforce and project management. Organizations majorly dive into agile vs. traditional project management approaches to pick the best one based on their uses and run projects successfully.

What Is Agile?

The agile approach in project management strongly emphasizes collaboration, communication, timekeeping, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing situations. Agile project management strongly emphasizes adaptability, cooperation, and client engagement. Customer feedback is properly considered, and regular updates are made available. 

Agile frameworks like Kanban and Scrum are extensively adopted. They promote decision-making and avoid wasting time on aspects that are subject to change. Adaptive planning is undoubtedly the best characteristic of agile, which is why project managers worldwide love it. 

The essentials of agile project management ideology, built on the DevOps as a Service methodology, integrate adaptations and teamwork to generate more and better outcomes than a preset process. The agile method follows four major principles:

  • It is much more important to have functional software than lengthy documentation
  • Instead of mindlessly adhering to a plan, the approach should adapt to change
  • Prioritize people and their interactions over procedures and equipment
  • Working with customers is more important than negotiating

The agile project management approach was initially suggested for use in software development. In recent years, it has been effectively applied in various industries, including marketing, banking and financial services, architecture, and more.

Benefits of Agile Project Management

Here are some of the benefits of using agile project management.


Agile's main tenet is adaptability. Agile teams are flexible enough to adjust to last-minute changes without causing too much disturbance. A project's deliverables are not fixed, allowing teams to effortlessly revisit their plans and customize their objectives to match changing goals. Being flexible means that teams can constantly and effectively handle evolving customer demands.

Enhanced Managerial Control

Agile project management offers managers more control over the project because of its openness, feedback incorporation, and quality-control aspects. Quality is guaranteed throughout the project execution phase, and all parties are regularly updated about developments through smart reporting tools and methodologies.

Better Metrics

Agile teams estimate time and cost and evaluate project outcomes using metrics that are more specific and relevant than those offered by traditional approaches. In order to assess team performance, discover bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions to address them, agile generates important metrics, including lead time, process time, and efficiency.

Cohesive Teams

Agile teams have more decision-making and autonomous skills since they are self-organizing and self-managing. The teams' cross-functional structure facilitates the team members' professional growth and learning of new project management techniques. Agile offers a setting where teams can have dynamic team structures and are close-knit due to the small team sizes.

Enhanced Collaboration

Agile teams place significant value on direct interaction and constant contact. Managers usually hold daily meetings to ensure everyone is in alignment and working toward the same goals. By interacting with one another on a regular basis, they reduce any uncertainty, allowing them to reach their goals.

Limitations of Agile Project Management

Agile project management might be one of the most used project management approaches, but it poses certain limitations when used for different projects. Here are some of the constraints that are caused by the agile project management approach.

  • Agile methodology emphasizes short delivery cycles over long-term goals and management. As a result, the management team finds it challenging to estimate when the final product will be set up for application in production.
  • Documentation is commonly seen as a low-need in agile methodology, which is iterative in nature and emphasizes producing functional products. However, the absence of documentation can be a cause for concern in the long term, particularly for new team members who join in the middle of a project.
  • Scope creep is quite common in agile development methods due to vaguely stated software specifications and high-level project execution timelines.
  • The customer journey is uneven because the overall layout is divided, and the products lack cohesiveness. Short cycles do not provide adequate time for the design thinking processes.

What Is Traditional Project Management?

Traditional project management, also known as the Waterfall approach, involves an organized and linear methodology for project management. It is a well-established approach in which projects are completed linearly: initiation, preparation, implementation, monitoring, and conclusion. According to the traditional method, the budget and time frame are variable, while demands are constant, which leads to budget and timeline challenges.

This method works best for large-scale projects that demand thorough planning and where adhering to precise guidelines is not a drawback but rather a major benefit. Their systematic approach ensures that projects are completed on time and under budget.

The traditional project management approach works on four major principles:

  • Thorough record-keeping is necessary for the project
  • Improved responsibility among each of those involved
  • The idea of complete control over the project
  • Clearly stated and defined goals 

Traditional project management follows organized procedures and places a strong emphasis on thorough planning in order to guarantee project success and deliver outstanding results. 

Benefits of Traditional Project Management

While modern approaches boast of a range of benefits, here we list some perks of traditional project management:

Easy Communication

Communication and geographical distance become major challenges for more complicated and refined projects. Traditional projects are usually simpler and smaller, making them ideal for remote work. Since fewer people may work on these projects and less communication is needed to overcome challenges, they can be built by smaller teams.

Linear Sequence Cycle

It features sequential patterns, making it simple to adhere to traditional methods. Sequential projects do not require significant change during implementation. When you adhere to the development plan, you are likely to complete the project on time and meet all other requirements. Additionally, the framework facilitates growth and management.

Flexible Project Management

It's an adaptable option since traditional project management doesn't require any prior expertise or training to get started. The defined deliverables and reports help manage and create it even when the structure gets rigid.

Streamlined Team Management

In traditional project management, the manager usually ensures that everyone on the team can achieve their objectives and that the project is completed on time and within the allocated budget. 

Comprehensive Documentation

In a traditional approach, any procedure that begins with planning needs concise, easy-to-understand documentation. This ensures that all stakeholders have easy access to the project's documentation, which serves as a manual. The documentation does a fine job of updating executives and other parties involved in recent events.

Limitations of Traditional Project Management

Certain limitations are often posed by the traditional project management approach. Here are some of the constraints faced by organizations.

  • The customer's input isn't given significant weight in every development phase. Clients are not engaged in the full development process until the final product is delivered, which leads to extra work if the client is not satisfied with the delivered product.
  • Traditional project management does not allow much space for creativity and innovation since every step of the process is predetermined.
  • Traditional project management comprises organized teams that follow a leadership chain and report to a manager or supervisor. As a result, team members lack ownership, adaptability, and participation.
  • The linear, systematic methodology and lengthy project stages make it challenging to implement adaptations, and anything different from the original plan is regarded as a failure. 

Similarities between Traditional and Agile Project Management

When discussing agile vs traditional project management, we should also look at their similarities. Here are some of the similarities between these project management approaches.

  • A project manager is required for both approaches for the supervision of the job
  • Risk management is necessary for both Agile and Traditional project management techniques 
  • Quality control is essential to both agile and traditional project management techniques 
  • Change management is necessary for both traditional and agile project management techniques. 
  • The ultimate goal of both approaches is to complete the project on schedule and under budget
  • Both strive to complete the project to the complete satisfaction of all stakeholders
  • Whether using an Agile or Traditional strategy, both make use of resources, methods, and processes exclusive to that methodology

Top differences between Agile and Traditional Project Management

Now that we have a detailed overview of agile vs traditional project management. Here is a comparison of traditional project management vs agile methodology.

Agile Project Management

Traditional Project Management

The agile approach is more focused on people.

The traditional approach is more focused on the process.

Iterative testing and regular code drives.  

Testing is performed at the end of the development cycle.

The approach works best with smaller and medium-sized teams.

The approach works best with large teams.

The approach works towards constant improvement of the product delivered. 

The approach works towards delivering the project objectives.

The team members have daily meetings.

The team members have quarterly, monthly or yearly meetings.

Timelines are only set for product releases and product versioning.

Timelines are scheduled for a number of events during a project.

An efficient and working software is necessary, while documentation is less important.

Comprehensive documentation is important in a traditional approach.

Agile has an informal structure of management.

The traditional approach has more of a formal structure of management.

The customer involvement in the project is constant, and customer feedback is thoroughly considered.

Customer involvement in the project is very low, and customer feedback is taken after the project is completed. 

Team roles and responsibilities are adaptable and might change during the project.

Team roles and responsibilities are fixed and are not changed during the project.

Which Is Better, Agile vs Traditional Project Management?

There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach that can be applied to any given project or organization. The decision between agile and traditional project management is influenced by a number of variables, including the project's size, intricacy, customer needs, and resource requirements.

Here are some factors you can look into before choosing a project management approach in the traditional vs agile project management scenario.

  • Team Expertise and Size: The decision you make between agile vs traditional project management could be influenced by the size of your project team. Agile generally works effectively with smaller, multi-functional teams since the approach promotes agility and cooperation. Traditional approaches may be more suitable for bigger teams with specific responsibilities, particularly for projects with intricate relations and significant documentation needs.
  • Technology Usage: Take into account the technology used in the project. If no new tools or technologies are used, the traditional approach to project management will prove more suitable. Agile approaches are more adaptable and give more scope for experimenting with the latest technologies.
  • Complexity of the Project: Consider the agile methodology if the project demands are not well defined or are subject to constant changes. Furthermore, the traditional approach works best when the parameters are well-defined and easily comprehended.
  • Budget Constraints: Consider available resources and budget limitations. Traditional approaches could prove effective in projects that require rigid fund management and resource allocation. 
  • Customer Interaction: Assess how much consumer interaction and collaboration are required. Agile is perfect for projects where clients need to be actively involved from start to finish because it emphasizes constant customer interaction.
  • Project Timeline: Agile is often best suited for small—to mid-sized projects with more restrictive deadlines. Traditional methods may be a better fit for large-scale, long-term projects.
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Agile project management is most effective for projects with a significant degree of uncertainty or dynamic needs. Approaches such as Kanban, Scrum, and Lean enable teams to adapt to changes. 

However, traditional project management best suits projects with well-defined and consistent requirements. Approaches like Waterfall, PRINCE2, and the PMBOK framework are more ideally suited to such projects. 

Project teams may use a hybrid method in certain cases to strike the right balance between certainty and adaptability. This technique incorporates characteristics of both Agile and traditional project management.


There is no obvious winner in the debate of agile project management vs traditional project management. The strategy you choose may depend on the scope of the project or organization. The objectives of your project must be taken into account while deciding between agile and traditional project management. 

If you are willing to become an agile professional, Simplilearn’s PMI-ACP Certification training course makes you capable of running successful projects in any organization. To further advance your knowledge regarding Scrum practices, you can sign up for Simplilearn’s Certified ScrumMaster Certification Training.


1. Can Agile and Traditional methodologies be combined?

The combination of Agile and Traditional methodologies will allow for regular feedback, resulting in more effective results. The Agile concepts of constant feedback, continuous improvement, and adaptability can be incorporated into a high-level plan that follows a waterfall (traditional) methodology's stages of development. 

2. How do I decide which methodology to use for my project?

When selecting a methodology, consider the industry and the type of project. Different sectors may have distinct approaches that are widely used and have been proven effective. Assess your project's requirements and establish which factors are most essential to its successful completion.

3. Is Agile suitable for non-software projects?

The Agile framework has been gaining adoption due to its multiple advantages for non-software teams. This method is ideally suited to non-software projects, which usually involve significant uncertainty and require adaptation to respond to evolving client demands.

Our Project Management Courses Duration And Fees

Project Management Courses typically range from a few weeks to several months, with fees varying based on program and institution.

Program NameDurationFees
Post Graduate Program in Project Management

Cohort Starts: 31 May, 2024

6 Months$ 3,000
PMP® Plus36 Months$ 1,849