Can agility work with a waterfall project management process in a research administration setting
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Can Agility Work With a Waterfall Project Management Process in a Research Administration Setting?. Romerl Elizes, DPS, MBA May 8, 2009. Agenda. Introduction Limitations Background Problems Framework Literature Review Relevance Current Work Future Work References

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Can Agility Work With a Waterfall Project Management Process in a Research Administration Setting?

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Can agility work with a waterfall project management process in a research administration setting

Can Agility Work Witha Waterfall Project Management Processin a Research Administration Setting?

Romerl Elizes, DPS, MBA

May 8, 2009



  • Introduction

  • Limitations

  • Background

  • Problems

  • Framework

  • Literature Review

  • Relevance

  • Current Work

  • Future Work

  • References

  • Questions and Answers



  • Presentation goals:

    • introduce the concept of an Agile-based Waterfall Project Management Framework

    • will explore its applicability in a limited staff engagement within a research administration setting at a major medical university



  • The proposed framework is a work in progress

    • The framework will change

    • The framework was completed successfully using one major project only – the rest of the projects will be completed within the year

    • The framework is focused only on research administration only



  • Research Administration Systems (RAS) – conduit between Research and Information Technology departments of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)

  • RAS has used agile methodologies to complete projects successfully:

    • Feature-driven development

    • Frequent delivery

    • Test-driven development

    • Self-organization



  • UMDNJ IT created a Project Management Office (PMO)

    • Oversee proper planning and execution of IT projects

    • Concern over projects that are subject to regulatory auditing by federal and state agencies

    • Create a unified Project Management Methodology (PMM) - Waterfall in nature!!!

Project management methodology pmm

Project Initiation

Stakeholders develop request

Project Sponsor obtained

Creation of High Level Achievements (HLA)

Kickoff Meeting expedited

Assessment of Risks

Development of Requirements

Project Planning

Develop project plan

Creation of Implementation Team

Assignment of Roles

Initiate mandatory team meetings

Document all processes

Development of Test Plan

Project Execution

Complete project items leading up to completion of HLAs

Conduct mandatory team meetings

Document processes

Test completed items according to developed Test Plan

Project Resolution

Mandatory meeting to determine project completeness

Creation of Lessons Learned documentation

Project completion signoffs

Project Management Methodology (PMM)



  • Fractured relationship between Research and IT

  • RAS staff limitation

  • Budget limitations

  • Research resistance to outside control

  • Regulatory auditing

Agile based waterfall project management framework

Agile Way

A1. Constant Engagement with Stakeholder

A2. Going the Extra Mile

A3. Periodic Changing of Top 10 Stories

A4. Shorter Iterations

A5. Engaging Stakeholder in Testing Process

A6. Keeping the Stakeholder in the Straight Path

Waterfall Way

W1. Constant Engagement with PMO

W2. Make PMM less Waterfall

W3. Documenting Agile Practices

W4. Strategic Division of Projects

Agile-based Waterfall Project Management Framework

Literature review

Literature Review

  • Academic literature reveals comparisons between agile practices and waterfall project management methodologies:

    • Molokken-Ostvold showed that projects following flexible methodologies had less overruns than projects following traditional project management methodologies [MOL].

    • Maurer showed how agile methods promoting individuals and interactions have been successful over processes and tools of waterfall development [MAU].

    • Indiana University demonstrated how it converted from an older online learning application to a newer one for enterprise-wide use using rapid prototyping and agile approaches over waterfall development [PAV].

Literature review1

Literature Review


  • No literature showed that Waterfall methodologies are better than Agile.

  • No literature showed how Agile practices can be inserted into current Waterfall methodologies.

  • No literature showed how Agile practices can be utilized in auditable environments.



  • The work involves a large medical institution with diverse stakeholders that stand to benefit from this framework.

  • The work proposes a solution based on a limited funding model that is common in other educational institutions.

  • The work proposes how a traditional Waterfall project management model can benefit with some agile practices while adhering to regulatory requirements.

  • The work furthers the field of research administration informatics.

Current work

Current Work

  • Success with Coeus implementation - proposal development, proposal submissions to, and reports development.

    • Driven entirely by project champion (me).

    • Divided project into smaller autonomous projects (W4).

    • Used iterative development on an almost daily basis (A1).

    • Encouraged the stakeholders to test the reports for viability (A5).

    • Some of the stakeholders requested for additional functionality and the author negotiated with the stakeholders on a constant basis to determine which features could be delayed (A3) for a future release.

    • Make the Waterfall process transparent to the stakeholders (W2) by establishing and resolving tactical meetings on an as needed basis during project bottlenecks.

    • Required stakeholders to document their changes via a shared project group email so that other stakeholders were aware of the potential impact of project changes (W2).

Future work

Future Work

  • Current/Future Research Administration projects which will include this framework:

    • Implementation of ClickCommerce enterprise-wide application for the Internal Review Board (IRB) stakeholders.

    • Implementation of Rutgers enterprise-wide application for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) stakeholders.

    • Data integration project between Coeus and Sungard Banner applications for the Finance Department.

    • Clinical Trials website/database upgrade project that includes data integration between Coeus and IRB applications for the Office of Research.

    • Implementation Negotiations module in Coeus application to support Legal and Regulatory documents for the Legal Department.

Future work1

Future Work

  • Conference/Academic literature possibilities:

    • Submitted a presentation to NJEDGE.Net Conference 2009 under the topic: “Technology Management”

    • Preparing a paper for submission to Society of Research Administrative Professionals or National Council of University Research Administrators on “Data Integration of Divergent Research Applications”



  • L. Anderson, G. Alleman, K. Beck, J. Blotner, W. Cunningham, M. Poppendieck, R. Wirfs-Brock. “Agile management – an oxymoron?: who needs managers anyway?” In Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Object-Oriented Programming. pp. 275-277. Anahiem, CA. 2004

  • B. Boehm, R. Turner. “Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed.” Addison-Wesley, Pearson Education Publishing. Boston, MA. 2005.

  • “Coeus Consortium.” Web site. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2007. Link:

  • F. Keenan, S. Powell, G. Coleman, K. McDaid. “Learning project planning the agile way.” In Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education. pp. 324-324. Bologna, Italy, 2006.

  • Luqi , Lin Zhang, Valdis Berzins, Ying Qiao, "Documentation Driven Development for Complex Real-Time Systems," In IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 936-952. Dec. 2004.

  • F. Maurer, G. Melnick. “Agile methods: moving towards the mainstream of the software industry.” In Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth International Conference on Software Engineering (2006), pp. 1057-1058. Shanghai, China, 2006.

  • K. Molokken-Ostvold, M. Jorgensen. “A Comparison of Software Overruns – Flexible versus Sequential Development Models.” In IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, Vol. 31, No. 9, pp. 754-766, September 2005.

  • R. Pavolka, V. Mount, A. Neymeyr, C. Rhodes. “From waterfall to rapid prototyping: supporting enterprise-wide adoption of the oncourse collaboration and learning (CL) environment at Indiana University.” In Proceedings of the Thirty-third Annual SIGUCCS Conference on User Services. pp. 312-319. Monterey, CA. 2005.

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