How Freelancers Can Actually Get Work Done: Waterfall vs. Agile Workflow

How To Actually Get Work Done: Waterfall vs. Agile Workflow

Recent Life Hacks: I finally stumbled upon a method, other than my sticky notes, that will help with project management. I work with and talk to, a lot of freelancers, and it has come to my attention that a lot of us use different project management systems to manage our workload. Personally, I have used the square method, and it works most of the time. However, I stumbled upon two even better methods to help people who work in demanding jobs or run a freelance business and are managing client workflow on the ‘feast-side‘ of the coin. Using one of the methods below can be helpful, and if you’re looking to start creating right away, Trello.com provides an online drag and drop creator’s studio to make your workflow.

The two methods are Waterfall and Agile project management systems. I would recommend researching the models in more depth on your own, but here are the quick meeting minutes for those of us who are on a tight schedule to get projects pushed through.

The Waterfall Method

Freelance career website, Upwork.com, describes the late 80’s/90’s project management system as the “traditional approach” to developing a product from idea to retail-ready.  In this method, the project is broken up into steps that are to be completed in a sequence. In this workflow, each stage must be completed before starting the next. For those of us who are visual, the steps are aligned to look like a waterfall, where backtracking is not an option. You must ‘go with the flow‘.

Photo Via: code95.com, Waterfall Project Management

The Agile Method

The same freelance website, Upwork.com, also describes the Agile method as one of the newer project management systems. The Agile way is more flexible and less costly than the waterfall method, especially when you need to backtrack and make edits, additions, or omissions. Instead of upfront planning altogether, the Agile method focuses on the ability to build and react to change in times of uncertainty and turbulence. This method is packed with an open backlog that you can continuously add to and is positioned in the model to kept to keep track of features and requirements that the clients want. From the backlog, one part of the project is selected and you work on it until completion. It is a way to select a priority and complete it while touching base with peers and making adjustments in a tight window.  After one is complete, then you select the next priority item from the backlog and repeat the cycle through to completion. You get projects completed, one piece at a time with room for edits and revisions. I believe this model is more flexible and reasonable for all those with heavy workloads and a sharp deadline. The website, Agilealliance.org notes that the agile method places an ’emphasis on teamwork, constant user feedback, continuous improvement, and the ability to adapt to changing requirements.’

Photo Via: www.agilealliance.org, Agile Project Management

Both methods are helpful to move projects from start to finish. Challenge yourself to try one or both on your workload, and see how they compare. Work hard today, so you can play harder tomorrow.

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Write your comments below on what works best for you, we love to hear feedback. 
-Danielle

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