Project Management Methodologies

Are you planning to become a project manager? The first thing you should consider learning when starting a career in this field is the suitable methodology. There are over 8,000 project management methodologies. So, which one should you choose? Whether you are starting from scratch or have experience and certifications in project management, your success depends on how well you implement the selected methodology.

Each option has a set of rules, principles, and lists that you must comply with at every stage of management. In this post, we are going to discuss the most popular, helpful, and easy-to-apply project management methodologies that an aspiring manager should consider.

What is Project Management Methodology?

A project management methodology is a set of unique principles and rules guiding you to accomplish all projects efficiently. It helps you organize these projects, regardless of their complexity level. As mentioned above, each method is unique in terms of the principles applied. The workflow and the way you manage your project are different in each methodology.

You might wonder why dozens of methodologies are followed for project management. Each project differs depending on the industry, the type of work involved, the teams, and the expected outcome. It’s obvious that one strategy can’t be effective for every project. Besides, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to managing various projects. Only a few methodologies were developed initially for proper and effective project management, but as people’s needs diversified, they started adapting to these methods by tweaking them. Let’s check out the most popular models.

Waterfall Methodology

As the name suggests, a waterfall methodology is straightforward and has a linear structure. The managers are supposed to finish the task at hand before moving on to the next step. To keep the process clear and manageable, people adopt the waterfall methodology. They outline the list of tasks to be completed within the given timeframe and follow this pre-determined sequence to achieve the best results. This method allows clear communication at each stage of the project.

The method is perfect for large projects where you work with multiple clients, stakeholders, and business associates to achieve a long-term objective. Since each stage has concise and detailed steps, it’s easier to follow the process.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodology was developed to overcome the challenges teams experienced in the traditional linear approach. The waterfall methodology might be effective for large projects but isn’t flexible. Once you have planned the project management, there’s little you can do to tweak the process.

Agile methodology divides your project into several small stages that can be reviewed, updated, and amended as and when required. You don’t have to wait until the project is completed to make changes or resolve errors. Simply put, this method allows data-driven changes. It’s a quick, collaborative, and flexible approach. The method is perfect for projects that need to be finished quickly and when you aren’t certain what the outcome will look like.

Scrum Methodology

This is derived from the agile methodology. Scrum methodology is a framework in which the projects are classified into several short cycles called sprints. You can set a timeline for each sprint. It is usually between 1-4 weeks. Once you have finished the sprint, you can move on to the next part of the process. The work is reviewed after finishing each sprint, and the changes are made right there before starting the next part. Scrum methodology is perfect for small or large projects where multiple members work together to finish each step successfully.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma isn’t exactly a project management methodology, but the concept is applied to different types of projects to achieve the best output. Six Sigma was developed by Motorola to minimize defects in their product by following these stages of management — Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

You can become a certified Six Sigma specialist by achieving various belts at different levels. The main goal of Six Sigma is to improve processes, make the workflow flexible and simple, and reduce defects. Eliminating defects at each stage makes management simpler and reduces waste. It’s perfect for large companies that have multiple departments working on one project.

Kanban Methodology

In Kanban methodology, the managers use visual elements on a Kanban board to visualize workflows, processes, outcomes, and different steps of management. The methodology is quite effective in managing complex projects. It helps eliminate bottlenecks, helping you achieve your goals efficiently. There’s no standard format or set of procedures in Kanban.

You can implement this method however you like and with just about any visual elements. The methodology works perfectly well for all sizes of teams and all types of projects, especially remote teams. The visualized workflows enable the team to stay on track regardless of geographical boundaries.

Scrumban Methodology

This is a blend of the Scrum and Kanban methodologies. It involves the best features of each. This hybrid project management approach combines the planning and management of Scrum with Kanban’s flexibility to deliver efficient results. The method consists of the sprints (like in Scrum) and visualization (from Kanban) to help teams work on projects flawlessly. Simply put, if you are looking for a method that allows you the flexibility to break a large project into several small steps while keeping the plan simple with visual elements, Scrumban methodology is your best bet.

Critical Path Method

A critical path method is used to analyze and schedule various tasks within the project and figure out the dependency between them. It starts with identifying the list of tasks you need to finish in order to accomplish your project, setting a deadline for each task, and starting another after finishing the task at hand, using this information to come up with a detailed path for achieving these tasks. The methodology isn’t designed to handle large and complex projects.

As you may have noticed, each project management methodology has different steps and a unique workflow. You must consider your organizational goals, type of project, its complexity, and your industry before selecting the most suitable approach.