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How do you coordinate work between agile and traditional project management teams?

Bridging the Gap Between Agile and Traditional Project Management Teams?

How do you coordinate work between Agile and traditional project management teams?

This is a popular topic that resonates in the Agile world; I must say this is a journey, not a destination.

Coordinating between Agile and Traditional Project Management teams can be like mixing oil and water – but it’s something we need to tackle.

Let’s break down what can often be a ‘messy’ dance and how you can create harmony in this hybrid environment. 🛠️

The Challenge of Mixed Methodologies

There can be no doubt that incorporating the mixed methodologies of Agile and traditional project management can be a complicated dance of hybrid project management.

So, the question then is how can this challenge be overcome.

With a great deal of difficulty is my honest answer, but you’ll need to do it.

Many organisations, maybe yours included, run this “horrible hybrid thing”, which is a blend of one team using a traditional waterfall approach and the other using something focused on fast feedback, like Scrum or similar Agile methods.

This combination presents its unique challenges. 🤔

The Role of Project Managers in this Dance

In this mixed arena of methodologies, I’ve seen project managers shine.

Why? Project Managers are not merely there to dictate but to bridge gaps.

Project Managers can be incredibly useful as they can “straddle that boundary quite well.”

Here are a few ways that they manage to accomplish this:

  1. Understanding Both Worlds: They can mentor Agile teams and bridge the communication gap with Traditional teams without interfering. They serve as mentors and not just managers.
  2. Communication Masters: Their “communication of negotiation of focus” skillset is unparalleled. Ensuring all are aligned and aware of dependencies, slippages, or impediments. They can do a great job because “they understand one half of it incredibly well.
  3. Negotiation Skills: Project managers’ skills in communication and negotiation become essential in such a hybrid environment.

Navigating the Traditional Waterfall Approach: Challenges and Solutions

There are definitely challenges and solutions, and keeping up with the flow, so to speak, when it comes to the traditional waterfall approach. 🤔

The waterfall approach requires constant checking and adapting. You need to be aware of changes and adapt accordingly. It’s crucial to check in regularly.

Here are some strategies to be prepared:

  • Open Communication Pathways: Ensuring the teams on either side of the fence talk to each other regularly, keeping them aligned. It’s essential to communicate regularly as decisions are made and updated.
  • Anticipate More Overhead: Stay Agile. You’ll spend more time coordinating as the teams’ thinking and requirements change constantly.

Do You Need a Manager or a Communicator?

Be careful with this question.

Do you need a manager full of communication, or are they there to patch over the lack of communication and be more of a facilitator?

It’s important in either role to provide a Coaching Role and help the teams understand that they’re in it together and need to work together. 🚀

It’s about creating an environment for open communication and not gatekeeping conversations but providing a space where they can communicate.

Embrace the Hybrid Challenge

At the end of the day, coordinating work between Agile and traditional project management teams is a hard reality, but it’s critical to understand and know the possible solutions.

Embrace the hybrid challenge.

It’s going to be hard. Working in a hybrid environment means they’re going to trip each other up at times. But here’s a nugget of wisdom, ‘sometimes, all you may need at that point in time is a good project manager. 💪

Want to explore this complex subject in more depth?

Join my Agile and Scrum courses and let’s navigate this challenging management hybrid landscape together. 🎯

If you are interested in becoming an agile coach and value mentored, coach-driven skills development in your journey to mastery, visit our Growing Agile Coaches page.

If you are inspired by the idea of an online apprenticeship for a scrum master, visit

If you like the idea of becoming a scrum master and want to achieve internationally recognised and certified accreditation as a scrum master, visit our Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course page.

If you are already a scrum master and want to upskill to a more advanced level of knowledge and agile coaching capability, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) course page.

If you have several years’ experience as a scrum master and want to validate and certify your professional skills, visit our Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master (CSP-SM) course page.

For more information on John McFadyen, visit or connect with John on LinkedIn at

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John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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