What You Need to Know About the Hybrid Agile Method

Hybrid Agile Method

Back in 2001, up in the Wasatch mountains in the state of Utah, a group of programmers conceptualized the principles of one of the most important movements in software development in the 21st century. They called it the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, an alternative to what they saw as a documentation-driven and inefficient model of software development that they all wished to rid the world of. And since then, a new and rising method of development has come to the forefront that is; the hybrid agile method.

Some of these terms may be familiar to you. You may have heard them before in passing or might have even applied them to a project, but have never completely explored what they truly represent.

Read on to get a better understanding of the agile method, its predecessor the waterfall method, and lastly, the hybrid agile method.

Waterfall Method

Before we can define what Agile is, let’s talk about its precursor. The first known use of the model in the context of software development was done by Herbert D. Benington at the Symposium on Advanced Programming Methods for Digital Computers back in June 1956.

The waterfall method is a linear process that follows a steady flow through distinct phases. This method is preferred by anyone who values control, as this method allows for easy management, with each phase having a specific deliverable. This makes the waterfall method best suited for more straightforward projects.

Agile Method

The neXt Curve details that organizations must be adaptable, agile, efficient, and innovative to be able to progress. This is why these four traits are what the agile method stands for as it is all about the rapid rollout of the desired output. The output will then be further developed based on how your intended market or audience interacts with it.

Given the pace of this method, many may find it difficult to implement. This is why many professionals must work towards their PMI-ACP certification to master agile models and methodologies, which can be a little hard to do on its own. Currently, over 4,000 people have taken and rated the bestselling PMI-ACP courses on Udemy, with 14,000 others currently enrolled. This is a testament to the fact that while difficult, this method does bear results and has remained an important part of software development over the past two decades. Indeed, the current state of the Agile Method reflects the first of the 12 principles listed in the Agile Manifesto, i.e., putting customer satisfaction above all else.

Hybrid Agile Method

So, what then is the hybrid agile method? As the name suggests, the hybrid method is a combination of the agile method and the waterfall method. It uses principles and steps from both the waterfall and the agile methods in different stages of a project.

More specifically, it follows the waterfall method for the planning and designing stage, as this is better suited for breaking a project into smaller parts. The agile method is then used for execution, testing, and rollout stages, as it is better suited for tasks that require a certain degree of flexibility and improvisation based on feedback from outside forces. Doing it this way provides organizations with the order afforded by the waterfall method’s sequential flow, along with the perpetual developments and flexibility that the agile method is known and celebrated for.

An example of the best use of the hybrid method would be a project that requires comprehensive planning that is then implemented via sprints or waves. The hybrid method also works well in cases wherein the project also calls for the development of hardware alongside the software. The result-driven methodology of the waterfall method is optimal for hardware development, as hardware can only be rolled out once it has met all the requirements of the planning phase and cannot be sent back to be further developed.

Lastly, the hybrid agile method works well with an organization that goes through regular compliance and requirement checks that demand not just creativity, but also adherence to specific parameters and rules, such as the documentation of every step of the project. This would be near impossible to do if an organization were only to use the agile method.


Michael is a New York-based freelance software developer with a background in education and adult learning. When he's not working, Michael enjoys film photography and rock climbing.

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