Charlotte Davis

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Most Popular Project Management Methodologies

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Project management is a critical skill for any business to have, and understanding project management methodologies is essential for success. Knowing what project management methods are available, how to choose the right one, and the most popular ones used today can help project managers effectively manage their projects.

In this article, we will explore what project management methodologies are, the types of project management methodologies, how to choose the most suitable one for your needs, and the most popular project management methodologies used today.

What Are Project Management Methodologies?

Traditional project management methodologies are the processes and systems used to control and manage projects. These methodologies, which are often referred to as project management processes, are designed to ensure projects are completed on time, within budget, and with the desired results. The project management methodologies used depend on the type of project and the goals of the organization.

Different project management methodologies help organizations establish a process to guide the project from start to finish. These methodologies often include techniques such as planning, scheduling, and resource management. They help project managers track progress, identify and address risks, and ensure that the project is completed successfully.

Project management methodologies can also help organizations optimize separate technologies, such as software development, hardware engineering, and customer service. With the right project management methodology, organizations can ensure that the project runs smoothly and is completed on time and on budget.

Types Of Project Management Methodologies

There are many types of project management methodologies that can be used to manage projects. These include critical chain project management (CCPM), critical path methodology (CPM), extreme programming (XP), scrum methodology, software development life cycle (SDLC), kanban project management, and the Toyota Production System (TPS). Each of these methodologies has its own advantages and disadvantages, and organizations must choose the one that best suits their needs.

Critical chain project management (CCPM) focuses on the critical path of the project and uses statistical tools to identify risks and opportunities for improvement. This method is often used in large projects where tasks must be completed in a certain order.

Critical path methodology (CPM) is a project management methodology that focuses on the timeline of the project and uses diagrams to visualize the progress of the project. Critical path analysis is often used in software development projects and can help identify areas for improvement.

Extreme programming (XP) focuses on continuous improvement and customer collaboration. This methodology is often used in software development projects and can help teams identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

The Scrum methodology focuses on iterative development and team collaboration. This method is often used in software development projects and can help teams identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

The software development life cycle (SDLC) focuses on the entire process of developing software. This method can help teams identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

Kanban project management focuses on visualizing tasks and using feedback loops to improve the process. This method is often used in software development projects and can help teams identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

The Toyota Production System (TPS) focuses on optimizing production processes and improving efficiency. This method is often used in manufacturing projects and can help teams identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

Six Sigma focuses on process improvement and reducing defects. This method is often used in manufacturing projects and can help teams identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

The Agile Framework focuses on iterative development and team collaboration. This method is often used in software development projects and can help teams identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction.

Most Popular Project Management Methodologies

Below, I’ve discussed some of the most well-liked project management approaches in this area. 

Instead of following a predetermined method, agile projects are made up of a sequence of tasks that are created, carried out, and modified as necessary. Agile teams use incremental, iterative work procedures to adapt to volatility.

Agile project management needs project teams to cycle through a process of planning, executing, and assessing, much like a competent cook tasting the meal as they cook it and adding missing ingredients as they go.

Agile approach techniques place a strong emphasis on the project team’s capacity to adapt to changing circumstances as well as their ability to communicate effectively and frequently with the client. Agile approaches work well in dynamic contexts when there is a chance for estimations to change and adapt. Software delivery and game development are two examples.

Scrum framework is one of the most well-known and straightforward frameworks for applying agile ideas in software development. Scrum is more of a lightweight structure for creating and managing complicated products than it is a project management methodology.

Fundamentally, Scrum is about equipping a self-managing team with the tools they need to boost collaboration, communication, and development cycle speed.

Scrum outlines a straightforward set of responsibilities, gatherings referred to as Scrum events, and tools to effectively, gradually, and iteratively produce important shippable functionality.

A small, cross-functional team of up to nine individuals working on items in a backlog is specifically what Scrum encourages (a collection of user stories or requirements.) These requirements are defined and prioritized by a “product owner.”

The team then breaks the task up into “sprints,” which are 2-4 week development cycles. Daily “scrums” are held, during which the team reports on project advancement and roadblocks. The team does a sprint retrospective at the conclusion of each sprint to assess whether the work completed meets the definition of done in collaboration with the product owner.

Scrum masters oversee the team’s continuous optimization and improvement by leading the Scrums, sprint planning meetings, sprints, demos, and retrospectives.

As Scrum was initially developed for the software industry, it does not easily fit into the world of the normally more strategic and creative agencies, even though there are agile artifacts from Scrum that can be employed.

Kanban is a project management method that emphasizes lean concepts and productivity growth.

It’s comparable to Scrum in many aspects because it emphasizes early and frequent releases with a cooperative and self-managing team. Kanban, however, is less prescriptive than Scrum and provides an easier entry into the agile environment.

The Kanban methodology lacks predetermined roles and is short on processes. Its main goal is to increase throughput by concentrating the team’s efforts on what matters. Visualizing the workflow, minimizing work-in-progress, making the process explicit, and continuously assessing chances for improvement are among the key concepts of Kanban.

Kanban aims to consistently release work more quickly and effectively. It works well in contexts involving operations or maintenance when priorities can change regularly. Lead time, or how long it takes to deliver after being briefed, is how Kanban gauges success.

Project managers display the team’s process while implementing Kanban on a Kanban board (this can be sticky notes on a whiteboard or digital cards using an online tool like Trello). To-do, “Doing,” and “Done” categories are used on the board to help you visualize your goals.

When you measure and optimize the average time to finish things, the objective is to reduce work in progress (WIP) in order to increase the flow of work. The Kanban board also enables the team to know what is upcoming, allowing them to prioritize, identify process issues, and stop new activities from getting stuck. They can also examine how potential changes to existing duties may affect them.

A blended Scrum and Kanban approach to project management makes up the Scrumban methodology, a relatively recent hybrid project management technique. It combines part of Scrum’s structure with some of Kanban’s flexibility to develop a new approach to project management.

The backlog is filled using the planning-on-demand philosophy in Scrumban rather than working in potentially constricting, time-boxed sprints. Similar to Kanban, the team pulls in and assigns tasks as they can, keeping the amount of work in progress to a minimum. As a result, the development team doesn’t stress about meeting their sprint commitments; instead, they remain focused on the task at hand.

Scrumban, in contrast to Kanban, maintains the daily Scrum but only holds reviews and retrospectives when necessary. In order to perhaps save time, the team also plans on an as-needed basis rather than in advance of a sprint.

In summary, by eliminating sprints and providing an adaptive approach to planning, Scrumban gives Scrum some additional flexibility. Scrumban can also be seen as Kanban, with additional meetings added to promote cooperation and further process optimization.

Scrumban is helpful in product development when the vision is unclear, the needs are changing, or there isn’t a clear roadmap. When a process involves support and maintenance labor, it is also helpful.

This project management approach focuses on efficiency or getting more done with fewer resources. It determines the value and then works to maximize it through waste reduction and ongoing development.

Instead of being a methodology that specifies process steps, Lean project management is a philosophy with guiding principles. By addressing the three dysfunctions that cause waste— Muda, Mura, and Muri (also referred to as the 3Ms)—you can supposedly accomplish more with less.

Muda aims to eliminate waste by getting rid of anything that isn’t ultimately bringing the client more value. In the digital age, this can mean doing away with revision iterations. 

Mura is about getting rid of variations—getting rid of the extra work that deviations from the norm cause. Standardizing briefs and approval procedures may be necessary for this. 

Muri is about eliminating overload; a team should operate at 60 to 70% of its maximum capability. Anything more causes everything to be sluggish. This can entail reducing the volume of projects that an organization manages.

Lean aims to transform how we work so that it is totally focused on providing value. It involves moving the emphasis from maximizing individual technologies, assets, and vertical departments to maximizing the flow of projects through comprehensive value streams that traverse all technologies, assets, and vertical departments on their way to customers. 

As you examine your project delivery process, having a Lean perspective can be beneficial. You’ll be thinking Lean if you consider how you can pare down your project process to the bare minimum of steps that add value and eliminate any unnecessary steps or traditions.

Extreme programming (XP) outlines principles and procedures to raise the caliber of software and guarantee responsiveness to changing customer needs. The Scrum ideals of simplicity, communication, feedback, respect, and boldness are comparable to those of XP. 

Where XP differs from Scrum is in the establishment of regulations or prescribed procedures particular to development projects. User stories, test-driven development, pair programming, and continuous integration are just a few of these guidelines.

The waterfall methodology, commonly known as the software development life cycle (SDLC), is a project management technique with a straightforward sequential approach that emphasizes careful preparation so that everything is done once and correctly. 

The project manager in waterfall projects is typically powerful and in charge. To complete the project in a single (and typically lengthy) cycle, the team carefully schedules the work in advance and then executes it in precise order while sticking to the criteria.

Before any work is done, the team thoroughly defines the requirements at the top of the “waterfall” (for example, at the start of the project). If the project sponsor approves the plan, there isn’t much room for adjustment until it is really necessary, and when it is, change requests must be made.

Work then continues through following project phases like water cascading down a waterfall (design, implementation, testing, and maintenance.) Before moving on to the next phase, the team must finish the previous one. Usually, the results of one phase serve as the input for the following one.

In a waterfall project management methodology, there is minimal room for reflection, revision, and adaptation once something has been finished because of the single-cycle approach. For instance, it is challenging to change anything that was poorly conceived initially after you are in the testing stage.

The waterfall approach is seen with considerable scorn by agencies; they see it as an antiquated, ineffective method. Yet, if needs are fixed, well-documented and obvious, the technology is understood and mature, the project is small, and there is no additional value gained from “becoming agile,” waterfall can be a helpful and predictable technique. Budget, timeline, and scope outcomes may be more predictable with a waterfall method.

As a “whole stack” waterfall project management methodology for IT projects, the UK government developed the PRINCE2 methodology in 1996. Projects IN Controlled Environments is referred to as PRINCE2. 

A process-oriented technique called PRINCE2 separates projects into various stages, each with its own set of rules and procedures to follow. To ensure that nothing is left to chance, the technique specifies inputs and outcomes for each stage of a project.

This comprises managing six project-specific aspects, following seven high-level processes, and adhering to seven project management principles, the first of which requires a business case for the effort.

Moreover, PRINCE2 has a comprehensive governance framework. A project board controls the project, establishes team roles, and ensures its success. A project manager keeps an eye on how daily tasks are going.

In a waterfall project management methodology, there is minimal room for reflection, revision, and adaptation once something has been finished because of the single-cycle approach. For instance, it is challenging to change anything that was poorly conceived initially after you are in the testing stage.

PRINCE2 is a very detailed approach that works well for managing large, predictable enterprise projects.

It outlines roles and duties, promotes project viability, spells out what will be delivered, and supports management by exception (arguably an agile principle). On the other hand, PRINCE2 can be difficult and burdensome for small projects due to the degree of process.

The usage of PRINCE2 in an agency context is definitely out of the question due to its complexity, but its emphasis on creating a strong business case, outlining precise roles and duties, and managing change and risk are useful principles to apply to our own projects.

The PMBOK, published by the Project Management Institute, is a framework for project management standards, conventions, processes, best practices, terminologies, and guidelines rather than a true methodology.

The project cycle, also referred to as the five process groups of PMBOK, consists of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. Additionally, it lists 49 process management procedures, which it groups into 10 knowledge domains. 

Consider the PMBOK as a thorough reference manual. Its best practices serve as a good starting point, but in order to use it as a methodology, you must decide which processes you will use, when, by whom, and to what extent. To customize the PMBOK for your unique situation, you must also take into account the structure, governance, and workflows of your firm.

In an agency setting, PMBOK is not acceptable, but you can use its guidelines as a starting point to apply best practices to your own projects.

Other Project Management Methodologies

These are simply the most prevalent approaches in the world of agency project management; the list of project management methodologies above is by no means comprehensive. Other methods for project management include:

The Six Sigma technique uses statistical tools to locate the origin of errors, get rid of flaws, and lessen the likelihood of errors in the future. Flow charts, histograms, scatter plots, and cause-and-effect diagrams are a few examples of Six Sigma statistical tools.

The critical path method (CPM) is a method for planning and scheduling project operations that is used in sectors like engineering, software development, and construction. 

With this approach, you establish the tasks required to finish a project, their durations, interdependencies, deliverables, and milestones. 

The longest and shortest paths to complete your project are then calculated using this information, which aids in your understanding of essential project activities, such as which activities can be postponed without having an impact on your milestones and which activities cannot.

Critical chain project management (CCPM), which is a method for modeling and scheduling project activities, is similar to CPM. The critical chain method and the critical path method are distinct in that CCPM takes resource availability into account when estimating the time required for project tasks. 

The critical chain methodology gives a project all of its resources. If a task is completed early, you can go on to the next one without encountering any bottlenecks.

The program evaluation review technique (PERT) is a strategy for planning, coordinating, and modeling project-related tasks. In PERT, project activities are shown as nodes on a network diagram, and the lines that connect the nodes have the durations indicated on them.

How To Choose The Right Project Management Methodology

Choosing the right project management methodology depends on the type of project, the goals of the organization, and the resources available. Organizations must consider the project life cycle, the project budget, and the scope of the project before deciding which project management methodology is the best fit.

While choosing a project management methodology to use for your project, keep the following factors in mind:

This comprises the project itself, the client, the resources on hand, and other project restrictions (such as the willingness to accept risk and change), the timetable, resources, and personnel. List each of these elements and indicate whether they are simple or complex.

An agile method can be beneficial for you if you work in a dynamic setting where there is a desire for development and change. You could be better off using a waterfall model or another conventional approach if you’re working within fixed requirements, timetables, and budgets. 

Together with this thought of your flexibility, evaluate your limitations and hazards. How can you put procedures in place that lessen your major risks and assist your teams in neatly fitting their tasks within your organizational constraints?

It is a good moment to consider if your company should continue to be as rigid or flexible as it is, regardless of whether you’re more flexible (ex. nimble design firm with a small team whose employees wear numerous hats) or more rigid (ex. in-house agency with lots of internal restrictions). 

With the warning that you should select methodologies that are realistic for your teams to apply right now, you can choose a methodology or hybrid methodology that pushes your business in the direction you want it to go.

Think about what benefits the client the most (or the stakeholder or the end-user). Create a list of their requirements and use it to guide your choice of the working method that best satisfies those requirements. 

For instance, an iterative technique with brief cycles would make the client feel like they are getting greater value if they frequently make continuing requests and anticipate updates and adjustments. You can give value to clients and sustain positive client relationships by using this practice.

To help you choose a project methodology, refer to the project goals or project objectives your team or organization has previously established. 

The ideal method is the one that leads you most directly toward your strategic objectives with the most gains and the least negative impact. It is obvious that your methods should be a means to achieving your goals.

Examine your values in great detail. Team members are in charge of putting your chosen methodology into practice; keep in mind that they are real people with real habits, beliefs, and values. 

Use the ways your stakeholders think, relate, and operate to develop a methodology that is a natural match rather than adopting a trendy approach and hoping it sticks. 

The ideals of your team and business can help build a truly sustainable technique that is more of a practical set of procedures that are simple to uphold over time rather than a theoretical norm (that you won’t fulfill).

Keep in mind that no single project management methodology is superior to another. A methodology’s effectiveness is determined by how well it supports corporate goals and values, the challenges the project team must overcome, the needs of stakeholders, risks, and by the scope, cost, and complexity. 

The Bottom Line

It can be challenging to choose the best project management methodology that will provide continuous improvements in the development process. It depends on a variety of factors, some of which are out of the project manager’s control. 

Remember that project management techniques are tools that assist us in delivering projects if you’re worried about what to do. You should be concentrating on the greater picture rather than debating over the specifics of an approach.

The best approach is one that evolves naturally over time, adjusting and raising the quality of its output. Moreover, flexibility necessitates a pragmatic approach to methodology rather than a dogmatic one.

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