Which Project Management Methodologies Should You Use?

Which Project Management Methodologies Should You Use?

There are several Agile project management methodologies that you need to be familiar with. Luckily, this guide has you covered.

You can spot certain trends emerging in project management. For example, Agile is becoming a popular methodology of late.

You've probably seen the terminology used in job ads. According to the latest research, eight out of ten companies have used Agile at least once to deliver a project. 

But is Agile always the right approach? Not necessarily. There are plenty of different project management methodologies, and it's worth knowing a little about them before making your mind up. Read on to learn more. 

Types of Project Management

Let's begin by examining the most popular project management methodologies. Here are the ones you need to know before managing a project:

Waterfall

The waterfall is the traditional linear approach to project management. It assumes projects have a definitive start and end point, with a sequence of activities happening one after the other.

It always starts with planning, and a project manager must have all their tasks outlined and scheduled before any work begins. 

Agile

Agile is an umbrella term that encompasses some other methods on this list. Agile is the opposite of a waterfall approach. Projects aren't linear; they are iterative. 

With an Agile project, the scope of a project can and does change, and much emphasis is placed on early, incremental delivery (such as a beta product). 

Kanban

Kanban prioritises visual planning. You work with a kanban board, moving tasks from one column to another. It's a way to improve efficiency in a team and monitor the progress of work done vs work still to do. 

Kanban projects tend to focus on collaborative working and completing tasks, with minor improvements along the way. 

Scrum

Scrum is a style of Agile project management that offers a complete framework for running a project.

A leader who runs Scrum projects is called a Scrum Master. This person is responsible for motivating and guiding the team, but the order and detail of work and tasks is a collaborative affair between developers.

Change happens regularly on a scrum project, and the product is built incrementally and released in stages known as sprints. 

Critical Path

Critical path refers to those tasks in your project plan that you must complete on time to hit your final deadline. And critical path methodology is there to identify those aspects of the project that need laser-focus to help you meet that end goal.

This methodology focused heavily on estimating timescales and resource management. 

Lean

Lean project management follows in the footsteps of the famous lean production methodology used by Japanese firms like Toyota.

This method reduces waste and friction, creates a highly optimised environment, and relies on robust processes to get things done.

Project teams will break big tasks into more manageable smaller ones and work collaboratively with third parties, including customers and suppliers. 

PRINCE2 

PRINCE2 is an abbreviation of Projects In a Controlled Environment, and it was initially developed to manage government projects.

The PRINCE2 framework is based around processes, and you'll need to tick off each process to adhere to the PRINCE2 way of working. Change control and risk management are two good examples. 

Extreme

Extreme project management is another Agile-based framework. It emphasises teamwork and collaboration, including involvement from third parties like stakeholders.

It's heavily data-driven, so the team will look at their data and reporting to help shape the project's future direction when something isn't going well. 

Types of Project Management

What Methodology is Right for Your Project? 

Each of these eight methodologies has something positive to offer to a project.

However, there is no one correct answer regarding which option is the best for you. The right way to make a choice is to examine your project management strategy in more detail. 

What Are Your Project Goals

Do you want a fast-paced project to help get a product into the market before your competitors? Or do you have a high-risk government project that needs close control and monitoring?

These questions need answering before you choose a methodology. Some projects will require the flexibility of a more Agile framework, whereas others will demand a more traditional, process-driven style. 

Team Size

Smaller teams may need a lighter touch project style like Kanban or Extreme. If the group is highly effective and has experience working together, that may be enough to push your project along at pace.

For larger projects with multiple teams, third parties, and numerous stakeholders, you may need a more substantial framework that offers more control, such as PRINCE2 or Scrum. 

Speed

If you have tricky timescales, you'll need an Agile framework. These frameworks embrace change and flexibility, so you won't need to wait on seniors for critical decisions that could hold up your timescales.

A critical path style is also helpful on a project with a challenging deadline, as it will help you concentrate on the essential tasks to get your project out the door on time. 

Company Culture

Some businesses operate with strict processes and may not take well to a project methodology with a strong agile element like Extreme.

Conversely, small, fast-paced company cultures will find the detail and the procedures in PRINCE2 too cumbersome to operate.

You must always consider your company culture and how teams currently work together to find a methodology that's a good fit. 

Budget

What you're willing to spend on a project will shape your decision on the correct methodology.

If you get halfway through a project and change the scope dramatically, can you afford the budget hit? It's certainly the style of more Agile approaches like Scrum.

But if you go down the route of waterfall or PRINCE2, do you have the project resources to plan and document all the work before you start completing any tasks? 

Which of These Project Management Methodologies Is Right for You?

There is no one size fits all approach to project management. When choosing project management methodologies, consider your project, team and company before making your final decision. 

Why not get ready for your next project by fine-tuning your project management skills? Browse our latest courses to find the perfect one for you. 


 Marcin Chmielewski - Blog Author 
He has extensive IT knowledge combined with enthusiasm for digital marketing.
His experience and knowledge come from many years of working for large corporations. Associated with Information Technology since the beginning of his career, he has qualifications in the fields of team management, Enterprise Architecture, IT Service Management, databases, application servers, and operating systems.
His hobbies include traveling, skiing, and hiking.

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