In Engineering Education, students ought to gain competences relevant for the requirements of the working life. The CDIO Initiative has defined general goals to engineering education. That is, the aim is to educate students who are able to: 1) Master a deep working knowledge of technical fundamentals, 2) Lead in the creation and operation of new products and systems, and 3) Understand the importance and strategic impact of research and technological development on society (CDIO, 2010). Both disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge are needed in order to succeed as a future professional. Interdisciplinary knowledge such as project management skills are important in working life regardless to the competence area.
Agile project management has been a rising trend for several years especially in fields connected to Information and Communications Technology. The aim of the agile project management is to reduce failures by concentrating on delivering the most valued parts of the project and making dynamic changes if needed. Several companies use different agile project management ways to manage their projects. Scrum is one of most used ones. In order for a student to gain competences relevant for the requirements of the working life, both traditional and agile project management frameworks should be a part of their studies – in theory and in practice.
This case study compares waterfall and agile project management methods utilized in a set of university-industry collaboration projects. The study focuses on “theFIRMA” that is a learning environment at Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland. The student-driven project office theFIRMA operates like a small company providing development projects to both university internal and external customers. TheFIRMA uses Scrum as an agile project management method. Typical customer projects are related to web development, graphical design, end-user trainings, user-testing, application implementations and Lego camps. In addition, theFIRMA participates in several externally funded R&D projects.