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This is a follow-up to this question from almost three years ago.

Scrum... probably isn't the best choice for my team for a number of reasons.

From a very high level, my team's work can be separated into three broad categories: Construct, Inspect, Analyze. A given work request/project may involve one, two, or all three of these categories. Usually, if more than one category is involved, the work proceeds in that order (Construct, then Inspect, then Analyze). That being said, rarely is it the case that a given product will finish up the work in one category (Construct, for example) and move on to the next category (Inspect, for example) and never return. In other words, a given product may go Construct > Inspect > Construct > Inspect > Analyze > Inspect > Analyze > Construct, etc.

For a given work request, my team usually knows the things that they need to do to complete the work request and deliver the deliverables, but how many times and how long each individual task takes to complete is often a complete mystery. It's like... the processes are more or less the same, but we almost never perform them in the same order or the same number of times from project to project.

I feel like Waterfall isn't a good choice because, while what needs to be done for a project may be fairly straightforward, knowing when a given "phase" will be done is somewhat nebulous. Scrum doesn't seem to make sense because what is wanted is fairly well-known at the beginning of the project. I recently read about Crystal, which seems interesting, but it's also heavily geared toward software development, which our team does not do.

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    Have you also read about Kanban? – Bogdan Apr 14 at 18:39
  • 'how many times and how long each individual task takes to complete is often a complete mystery'. Your schedule and costs are totally unpredictable. So, what exactly is the problem you are trying to solve? In other words, what are your KPIs? Choice of PM style would depend on that. – Ashok Ramachandran Apr 15 at 4:34
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Kanban or something based on it sounds like a reasonable fit with your requirements. A board where work can be easily referenced according to the stage / state it is in, with clearly visible workloads is what Kanban is good at.

I have run several pieces of work where we used a tabular form of tracking the status of each component, moving between different status levels according to what came out of the investigation and analysis. While they were not truly projects in a formal sense, we reported on them and used project disciplines for tracking risks, issues, and so on, In practice we couldn't use Waterfall as the work didn't fit a plan / design / develop / test / implement cycle. We couldn't use Scrum as the work didn't really fit such an approach, and we had multiple separate teams of 1 to 2 people working independently on different components of the work with little interaction between them. Kanban (or a variant of it) seemed to fit our requirement, and from your description, it would also fit yours.

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Here's an idea ... "pitch it to the team."

Basically – "I've been trying to think of ways that we could make all of our work better and more efficient, and it occurs to me that - - -" Talk about various strategies and why you think they might be advantageous. Also, talk about things that you think might be problems or contra-indications. Give them time to think about it. Listen very carefully to everything they say.

This is "one hundred fifty percent a human question ..."

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