Predictive vs Adaptive – Management


 The projects in every company follow a certain lifecycle approach. In recent years, high focus on adaptive project management over more predictive project management. Let’s have a quick view of how these differ.


Predictive Project Management

Predictive – the name suggests we can predict the complete workflow. In predictive management, the scope of work and requirements for the project are clear and justify the detailed upfront planning. Predictive Management is referred to as “traditional”, “conventional”, or “Waterfall” project management.


The waterfall is a linear-sequential life cycle model in my terms a risky method! because no working software is produced until late during the life cycle. In this methodology, developers feel as if they are sailing blind…something like Christopher Columbus wanted to discover a new route to India but ended up in the Americas.


Key Cons:

  • Not fit for dynamic and complex projects: Predictive management is not suitable for dynamic and complex projects that entail flexible requirements or uncertainty in the end product.
  • Delayed product delivery – Working software is produced at a later stage in predictive project management, which leads to delayed identification of bugs and vulnerabilities in the application.
  • Additional costs – Projects often have to bear additional costs of delayed applications when bugs are discovered in the testing phase of the project.


Adaptive Project Management

Adaptive – is a mix of incremental and iterative development. Also known as Agile of working, adaptive project management caters to focusing on adapting quickly to changing scope and project reality. This model provides way more flexibility in the path to the end goal, which accommodates changing requirements along the way.


When we start delivering increments of ready-to-use working software, we reduce risk significantly iteration after iteration.


The adaptive approach allows an opportunity to deliver value iteration after iteration and ensures the product is evolved incrementally.

Key Pros :

  • Accepts Changes: Changes can be done very easily and the needs of the project can be implemented throughout the process.
  • Fast Delivery:  Maintains the customer’s consideration and provides the fastest delivery and also considers the feedback.
  • Continuous feedback: Involvement of stakeholders is necessary for the successful delivery and progress of every project.


Key Cons :

  • Team of experts: As there is a small group of teams everyone should be expert in their own field.
  • Extensive client involvement: Demands for extensive client/user involvement throughout the Adaptive development.


Simple explanation using an analogy – Adaptive project managers can be considered as a chefs and predictive project managers as cooks. A cook usually follows the predefined recipes and finds themselves in trouble when there is some issue with the taste of an ingredient that goes missing. On the other hand, a chef adapts and works with what’s available to deliver the same tasty food…!

CategoriesAgile Leadership

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