In project management, each project is peculiar in nature. With specific requirements, the approach towards the project differs from project to project. This is where the project management methodologies chip in the extra features and specifics required for that particular project. But, how do you decide which project management methodology would suit your agenda the most? In this article, we will go through some of the top project management methodologies in the market.
What is A Methodology in Project Management?
A methodology in project management is nothing but a few standards and guidelines that will yield the most efficient results for your project. Think of a project as a cricket match, Now a cricket match would follow certain rules and regulations so that the game can be played in the most efficient way. Those rules and guidelines will make sure that there is no wastage of time at any point. And for every format of cricket, the rules and regulations keep changing.
When it comes to project management, the methodology will be different for every project. No two projects can be the same, they will have different sets of goals, there might be multiple teams or multiple resources required, the budget for the project may vary, and innumerable other requirements.
Since each project has its very own requirements and specific goals. We must choose the project management methodology on the basis of some factors. let’s take a look at how we can approach the project management methodology for the most efficient results for any project.
How to Choose a Project Management Methodology for your Project?
There can be several factors that will decide whether you will go for that methodology or not. Here we have narrowed it down to a few factors that particularly plays a very crucial role in choosing the correct methodology.
Size of the Team
The size of your team is a very important factor in deciding which methodology you are going to for your project. The kind of communication that would be required from the members of your team decides the fate of your project. The dependency of team members on each other will play a crucial role in how the project plan will be laid out.
Budget For the project
The budget allocation for the project also plays a very crucial role in deciding the methodology for the project. You have to be certain that no unprecedented expenses would be added to the budget at the end of the project. Any unsolicited expenses can really hamper the overall performance of the project, so budget is another important factor for choosing the project management methodology.
If there are any changes in the project after the initial phase of the project management lifecycle begins, it may cause a lot of damage to the project delivery. So, while choosing the project management methodology, we have to make sure that there is a scope of flexibility during the project or even if there is no scope for changes, we have to be aware of it beforehand and choose the methodology accordingly.
A much more important aspect is when do you want your project to end?
what kind of commitment is required from the team based on the deadline?
It is crucial in order to decide which methodology will ensure the project delivery in the specified time. The project timeline automatically adds a lot of relevance to which project management methodology will be chosen for the project.
Another aspect is the kind of collaboration that is required between the various stakeholders, team members, etc. According to the project, each project will have its requirements where they need specific stakeholder collaboration and sometimes it is not required at all. Therefore, while choosing a methodology for any project collaboration becomes a deciding factor as well.
The risk associated with the project is one of the driving forces while deciding the methodology for the project. The methodology will have to be efficient enough to manage the risk associated with the project without hampering the overall efficiency of the project.
It is crucial to make sure that the resources that are linked to the project are available during the project. To ensure how they would be managed for the overall efficiency of the project, the methodology that you choose must have processes or tools in place. There is a direct impact on the performance of the projects if the project resource management is flawed in any way.
One more factor is the scalability of the project. The methodology chosen for the project should align with the scalability of the project and provide the maximum support for it.
Resistance to Change
In various situations, the resistance to change can be really exhausting. So while choosing the methodology for the project, one must make sure they will be able to manage any resistance to change during the project and maintain full efficiency throughout the project duration.
After making sure that these factors check out for any given methodology, you can go for the one having the most number of these factors satisfied along with the fact that they align with the project goal.
There can be a number of project management methodologies that you will find for your projects. Even though each project has its own requirements, we have listed down a few methodologies that can help you with your projects.
Project Management Methodologies
On the basis of common features and how they can help your project we have listed down ten widely used project management methodologies.
The agile methodology came into existence with the constant backlash that the waterfall methodology was facing. The waterfall methodology was slower and the teams had to wait for one task to be finished in order to start with the next task. The agile methodology also gave rise to other methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, etc.
The agile methodology is a continuous process in which collaboration plays a key role. The iterative process can now shift focus on the other tasks while the previous task is in progress. The teams can continuously work on all the tasks and processes while constantly improving the quality of the project deliverables. Collaboration with various stakeholders during the project makes sure that the integrity and efficiency of the project are intact.
And, the iterative process takes care of the timely delivery of the project.
Agile Methodology Example
Let’s try to understand this with a simple example. Suppose a project requires a team of 10 people to build a product. The team will begin their work by dividing it into stages if they are following a conventional project management approach in the following order.
- They will get the requirements
- Analyze and plan the product requirements
- Execute the plan to build the product
- Test the product
- Deploy the product
The problem in the conventional setting is that the software will have to wait for each stage to be finished before they can start working on the next stage. But, with agile methodology, they will further divide the stages into smaller modules and start working on them simultaneously.
The continuous iterative process will save a lot of time for the team and also account for any changes in the requirements of the project. The collaboration with the stakeholders will take care of any sudden changes in the project goals while handling all the stages at once.
Choosing Agile Methodology
Whenever we are choosing the agile methodology, we have to make sure that there are a few pointers we have checked.
- The project goals can change at any time in the project.
- Collaboration is required for various stakeholders.
- The requirement for the project is not clear at the initial stage of the project.
- If the budget allocated for the project does not support any change in the project goals, then the agile methodology may not be a better option for your project.
- Strict deadlines also account for a lack of flexibility which will eventually delay the project in an agile setting.
One of the oldest project management methodologies is the waterfall methodology. The control flow moves in a linear manner where each task has been finished before the next task can even begin. The various stages in the waterfall methodology include the following
Waterfall Methodology Example
To understand the waterfall methodology let’s take a look at an example. In the example, we will discuss how we use the waterfall methodology for project planning.
Let’s consider a military project that involves missiles and weapons. So with each stage, it is evident that one of the requirements would be the safety of humans around the weapons. So keeping that as a requirement, the waterfall model will not move forward with the rest of the plan until or unless the basic requirements are met. Only after one stage is complete, the project will move towards other stages like design, implementation, and deployment stages.
Choosing Waterfall Methodology
Even when choosing a waterfall methodology, we have to keep certain factors in mind:
- What is the goal of the project? If the project has specific predefined objectives that will not change during the project duration, then it is a good idea to go for the waterfall methodology.
- When collaboration from stakeholders is not required during the project stages, then the waterfall model can be a really good choice.
- If the cost or the budget allocated for the project will remain constant, then waterfall methodology can efficiently deliver the project to its success.
All in all, the summary is that even the slightest changes in the processes, tasks, or deadlines in any of the stages can cause great damage to the efficiency of the project.
If your project has even a 1% chance of change in any of the requirements or goals or if you don’t already have all the necessary requirements at hand. Then, the waterfall methodology might not be a very good choice for your project.
Scrum is more of a framework than a methodology. In this agile framework, the total work is divided into smaller cycles known as sprints. Sprints are nothing but the time taken by a specific team to complete the assigned task. The end goal can be achieved during a usual sprint that lasts about 2 weeks. Or the project managers can go for sprints that last for a week or a month as well depending on the requirements or availability of resources.
The scrum framework follows the principle of continuous improvement where there are a few components like scrum cycle, sprint backlog, etc. The sprint cycle consists of scrum ceremonies such as sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review, and sprint retrospective. When the work is divided into smaller cycles and each sprint is managed by scrum masters who take care of their respective sprints.
The sprint planning is basically when the whole team sits down at a meeting and decides the word that needs to be done for each sprint.
After the planning, the next ceremony is a daily scrum meeting, which is basically how each and every update is given regarding the sprint so that a continuous improvement environment is always present. The goal of the daily scrum is to get the updates as in what kind of work was accomplished the day before and what sort of work is intended to be done on the current day. Moreover, the scrum meeting also identifies any obstacles that may hinder the progress of the sprint.
The sprint review, on the other hand, is the review of the final project or the final task finished during the sprint. Since the scrum framework follows a continuous improvement process, the review is the stage where they inspect any shortcomings from the project.
And script retrospective is when the team comes together to discuss the positive and negative of their actions during the sprints to identify the things that can benefit the upcoming projects as well.
For any project that requires continuous improvement, you can go for Scrum methodology.
Just like Scrum, Kanban is another project management methodology that runs on the agile principle. With a constant goal for continuous improvement, the Kanban methodology focuses on transparency and visual representation of the progress of the project. Kanban methodology follows the principle of pulling the work from the predefined backlog on a continuous basis. The work is then arranged on a Kanban board in different stages where everyone can see the progress of the project or a particular task.
With one of the advantages being a visual representation of the progress of each task, the other significant advantage of using Kanban methodology in project management is that they will give an exact representation of any shortcomings as well. The WIP limits or work in progress limits ensure the prevention of any potential bottlenecks where one can put a limit on a stage.
Let’s try to understand this with an example. In a conventional setting, an employee keeps getting 2 tasks a day and always ends up with more work in progress at the end of the week. No matter how hard the employee works, the work keeps piling up. the Kanban methodology takes care of this with a work in progress limit, where after a certain point, that employee won’t be able to move anymore work in the next stage unless he/she finishes other existing tasks.
This methodology usually works the best for the projects where the visibility of the progress is important. It also works the best where the work can be usually divided into specific stages. Although, Kanban would not work for projects where the complexity of the project is high.
Critical Path Method
In every project, there are certain tasks that may require more attention than the other ones due to dependencies. The critical path method is a project management methodology in which we are able to identify all the critical tasks so that they can be scheduled in the most efficient way possible.
- CPM basically requires the team to identify all the tasks in the first place.
- Then, you are required to calculate how much time each task would take. Also keeping in check the dependencies of one task to another.
- After this, you will calculate the time that can be divided among the tasks. And prioritize the most critical tasks to minimize the project delivery time.
All in all, the main focus of this methodology is to calculate the critical path in which the project will be executed so that the minimum time is taken to complete it.
Choosing Critical Path Method
The projects with a lot of dependencies and complexity can go for this project management methodology. Although, if you are unsure about deadlines and time durations, the critical path methodology may not be the right choice for your project.
Scrumban is a hybrid agile project management approach that follows a bit of both scrum and Kanban’s principles. The Scrumban uses the pulling work method from the Kanban methodology for getting the task from the backlog based on the capacity.
And the scrumban method also employs the WIP limits concept from the Kanban methodology. The project flow remains constant without creating any bottlenecks in sprints. The constant sprint planning, review, and retrospective take care of continuous improvement and visibility of progress across each stage. Scrumban methodology is the combination of both Kanban and Scrum methodology and uses the best of each of them.
If your project requires continuous improvement and full visibility of the progress of work, the Scrumban methodology is the best choice for your project. Unless you don’t want to experience both worlds at the same time. Then, the Scrumban may not be the suitable methodology for your project.
PRINCE2 or Projects in Controlled Environments is a project management methodology that is guided by seven principles. The seven principles best equip the project managers with best practices and skills to handle the projects in a PRINCE2 environment. The seven principles of PRINCE2 include:
- Continued business justification
- Learn from experience
- Define roles and responsibilities
- Manage by stages
- Manage by Exception
- Focus on products
- Tailor to the environment
The PRINCE2 certification is also a certification program that requires no major prerequisites. Making it easier and accessible for aspiring professionals to best equip themselves with project management skills and processes. The PRINCE2 methodology will be perfect for teams that follow PRINCE2 as the standard project management qualification. And the methodology may not be the best choice for your projects if the project does not conform to the seven principles of the PRINCE2 methodology.
PMI’s PMBOK® guide
The Project Management Institute(PMI)® publishes the project management body of knowledge every once in a while. And, it serves as a project management standard across the world. It contains the basic project management principles and best practices that can lead a project to its glory with more efficiency. Since, PMP® certification, which is one of the most sought out project management certifications is also based on the PMI’s PMBOK® guide, it is safe to say that it is one of the most sought-after methodologies for project management.
It is a set of principles and best practices. And, it would not be appropriate to categorize it as a methodology. But an ecosystem of more than 1 million PMP certified professionals makes it a standard across the world.
Choosing PMI’s PMBOK® guide
The PMI’s PMBOK® guide can be a suitable methodology for your projects if you are seeking a PMP certification. Or, already have one and are/is working in an organization where PMP certification is a standard qualification. Otherwise, if you are seeking a specific or more decisive project management methodology, then PMI’s PMBOK® guide may not be the right choice for your project.
Lean is another project management methodology that follows the lean principles to maximize the value and minimize production waste. The lean methodology is now used to reduce the wasteful practices from other project management practices as well.
The Three M’s
The three M principle includes Muda, Mura, and Muri. Muda refers to wastefulness that does not add any value to the customer. Mura refers to the overproduction that leads to wastefulness and uneven resource utilization. And Muri on the other hand refers to overburdening the resources. All in all, the lean methodology follows the lean principles that reduce the 3 M’s to the minimum while maintaining the exact value for the customer that is required.
Choosing Lean Methodology
You can go for the lean methodology if you have a project that may go towards wastefulness of resources or you want to cut down on any extra resources in your project. Although, the lean methodology may not be suitable for your project if you do not have any problem with the production waste or might not have enough funds to implement the lean methodology. For instance, the lean methodology does work on reducing the costs, it is equally expensive to implement for any project.
Critical Chain Project Management
There is an unrealistic approach with the critical path method. It does not consider the delay that may happen for the task to be completed for numerous reasons. The Critical chain project management methodology offers that relaxation where critical path management lacks. It considers the buffer time for the critical tasks without hindering the whole process. This buffer gives way for corrective actions that may have been caused due to any issues or delays.
Choosing Critical Chain Project Management
You can go for the critical chain project management methodology, if your project can follow the approach that the critical path method offers. Moreover, you also want to keep some buffer to correct any shortcomings on the way. Although, CCPM may not be the correct choice for your project if you do not require a buffer in the critical path method.
In conclusion, We have so many options available with numerous methodologies for project management to choose from. Each of the methodologies offers project-specific features, which makes it even more difficult to choose from. Also, it is the evidence of how effective project management methodologies are for your project. Be it on the grounds of team size, collaboration, budget, etc. Choosing the right methodology will get the best out of any project.