IT projects have become more complex as technologies rapidly change and end-users demand greater ease-of-use and flexibility. Following project management approaches and best practices (even for small engagements) are imperative to achieve a successful outcome within the constraints of scope, time, risk, quality, resources, budget and organization’s own goals. The experience shows that projects where project management is loose usually fail.
The waterfall approach is traditionally used for Networking infrastructure projects. This is because these types of projects usually have well-defined requirements, and consists of finite phases, where the previous phase must be reviewed and verified before moving on to the next one. The methodology provides a rigid model where every phase ends with a quality deliverable, which is then meticulously reviewed.
Proper project management improves the chances of success
Well-documented requirements, functional specification, technical specification and a technical architecture are considered as some of the best practices in waterfall methodology.
That means, expending time to work on detailed requirements’ document, High level strategy, High and low level design (HLD, LLD), Implementation plan, Migration plan, Testing Plan, etc. are critical.
Other approaches like Agile, Scrum, etc, that are normally used for software development can be used for specific tasks within the project, particularly when it involves coding because of the adaptability and frequent changes requirements. That could be the case when implementing new technologies like SDN, where you have a large SW component. In this case, a hybrid approach, (waterfall-agile) could work because it combines the strengths of both waterfall and agile into one approach.
At the end, the key is to follow a project management approach that helps to manage the project effectively and improves the chances of achieving the desired results (enables to resolve problems more quickly, reduce the probability of wasting time and money, and getting poor performance). In addition, complex projects with rapidly changing requirements, like the ones we see today, can benefit from combining the best practices of different methodologies and incorporate the right hybrid techniques.