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In this episode, I talk to Adriana Leotta, an applications engineering manager at Farrat, about the importance of adopting a hybrid approach of Agile and Waterfall methodologies in projects that involve both software and hardware components and how engineers can effectively work in an Agile environment while producing effective Waterfall solutions. We also discuss the difference between the role of an engineering manager and a project manager, as well as the importance of defining accountabilities, empowering team members, and the importance of trust in your team.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Adriana:
- What is the importance of adopting a hybrid approach of Agile and Waterfall methodologies in projects that involve both software and hardware components, and can you share a case study of a company that has successfully implemented this approach?
- How long has your company been using the hybrid approach of Agile and Waterfall methodologies for projects involving software and hardware components, and how does it compare to previous methods?
- How can engineers effectively balance working in an Agile environment while also producing effective Waterfall solutions?
- What does a Waterfall sequence entail and what are the standards and practices implemented in executing a Waterfall sequence?
- How do the responsibilities of an engineering manager and a project manager differ, and what is the significance of defining clear accountabilities and empowering team members in the role of an engineering manager?
- How does building trust between engineering managers and their teams contribute to the sustainable delivery of projects?
- How can defining accountabilities and goals in a company’s culture help address bottlenecks when using a hybrid Agile-Waterfall approach?
- How can aspiring engineering managers effectively lead teams through methodology evolution and what tips or advice would you suggest to help them succeed?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Optimizing Engineering Project Success by Combining Agile and Waterfall Methodologies:
- For companies that provide technical solutions and manufacture final products involving both software and hardware components, it is crucial to find a balance between Agile and Waterfall methodologies. While the design process can be Agile and flexible, the production process requires a more structured Waterfall approach. Engineers must be skilled at integrating these two approaches to ensure quality and avoid compromising the final product.
- It is important for companies that provide technical solutions to be agile in meeting clients’ needs, especially in fields that involve new and developing materials. Providing solutions, not just products, creates trust and comfort for clients who may not know exactly what they want. Companies must be adaptable and knowledgeable to ensure client satisfaction.
- Teamwork and communication are crucial in ensuring the success of a project, as each decision and action can impact other team members. The entire process must be optimized from design to delivery, and while priorities may change in an Agile environment, the final product should still follow a Waterfall sequence.
- The Waterfall methodology involves a strict sequence of processes that must be followed to ensure the quality and success of the outcome. Deviating from the sequence can compromise the final product and add too much risk to the process.
- While the project manager’s focus is on delivering a final product according to client needs, the engineering manager’s role is to invest in and nurture the human capital of the company, creating an environment that empowers team members to take responsibility for their actions and be accountable and making the project manager’s job easier.
- Trust is crucial for the success of any team, and it is a two-way channel. Teams must trust their leader, and leaders must trust their team members. When there is trust, team members feel safe to be vulnerable, admit their mistakes, and ask for help when needed. Trust creates a positive environment where team members can focus on achieving their goals, and it leads to the sustainable delivery of projects.
- Clearly defined goals and accountabilities in a company culture based on trust are essential for solving bottlenecks in a hybrid Agile-Waterfall approach, where priorities of tasks may change quickly and new resources may be needed to meet deadlines. Effective communication and discussion among team members are also crucial for success in this approach.
- Soft skills are just as important as technical skills, and investing in developing soft skills within a team can lead to maximum outcomes. Technical sensibility, such as knowing when to ask for advice, can only be learned through experience and developing one’s soft skills.
More Details in This Episode…
About the Guest: Adriana Leotta
Adriana Leotta is a seasoned applications engineering manager at Farrat with a passion for finding the perfect balance between managing projects and leading a team of highly skilled individuals. With an MSc in Building Engineering and a background in technical discussions with clients and colleagues, Adriana is a curious thinker who values the engagement of her team and recognizes the unique skills and talents they bring to the table. Adriana views her colleagues as her first clients and is committed to ensuring the success of her projects through the successful engagement of her team. With a love for problem-solving and a can-do attitude, Adriana is a simple engineer project manager who consistently delivers successful solutions.
About the Host: Matthew Douglas
Matthew currently serves as the operations leader for the Engineering Management Institute. As a leader, Matthew’s goal is to ensure the efficacy and efficiency of the Learning and Development group. As a civil engineer by trade, Matthew has developed a passion for construction and stormwater management by way of maintenance and rehabilitation services. Matthew has also had experience working for private consulting firms and public agencies, and has even held a role of an educator. As such, he loves to lead, build, mentor, and help those in need.
Most recently, during his time working for the public sector, Matthew took on the role of a Public Works Operations Manager. There he led quite a few public infrastructure rehabilitation projects and implemented new asset management technologies at a very young age. It is here that the passion for “fixing what’s broken” developed. He now uses his talents to lead EMI’s Learning and Development – Operational procedures, train engineers, and co-host podcasts.
Books Mentioned in This Episode:
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Connect with Adriana Leotta on LinkedIn
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you can share on how you optimize your engineering projects by combining agile and waterfall methodologies.
Please leave your comments, feedback, or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Engineering Management Institute
Co-host of the Engineering Project Management Podcast