Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

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Last updated on
11th Mar, 2021
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22nd Apr, 2020
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Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

Foresighted managers and leaders don’t necessarily follow just one project management methodology. They learn all of them so that they have the awareness to deploy the right methodology for the right project. According to industry experts, project management methodologies are vital to project success. A recent study by PMI confirmed that about 89% of the project professionals believed that their organizations implemented some project management practice or the other.

What is project methodology? 

It’s a blueprint that shows how tasks and projects can be planned, managed, and executed, right from start to finish. It includes a combination of practices, techniques, and procedures followed by project managers.

Why choose a project management methodology? 

A recent survey published by the Harvard Business Review revealed that the lack of time was the major hindrance to collaboration within project teams. Since projects are fast-paced and must adhere to deadlines, collaboration is quintessential. This is where adopting a project management methodology comes to play.

Projects are incredibly fast-paced with competing deadlines; hence collaboration is the best way to keep the team engaged, heighten productivity, and save time in the long run. Practicing a methodology is a great way to boost collaboration as well as deliver project success. 

Top 7 project management methodologies 

Below are the top 7 methodologies in the project management landscape today: 

1. Agile 

According to a KPMG survey, 81% of enterprises have adopted Agile in the past 3 years. The most favorite methodology, Agile is primarily a set of principles involved in software development.  However, it is hailed as a project management methodology for its flexibility and capability to build processes. Agile projects have a series of tasks that are initiated, executed, and adapted based on ad hoc demands, rather than a pre-planned process. Hence, Agile is apt for dynamic environments where the unpredictability factor is quite high.

2. Scrum 

Scrum is the project management methodology that enables a small, cross-functional, self-managing team to deliver results quickly.  It helps boost communication, teamwork, and speed of the processes. Terms like sprints, scrums, backlogs, and burndowns are commonly used in scrum methodology.

Scrum is ideal for environments that handle complex products.

It advocates the use of small, cross-functional teams of up to 9 people who work on items in a backlog that have been clearly defined and prioritized by a Product Owner. Work is categorized into “sprints”, a development cycle of usually 2-4 weeks. During these sprints daily “Scrums” take place where the teams report on their daily progress and impediments. At the end of each sprint, work is then reviewed in a sprint review meeting to determine together with the Product Owner if it clears the Definition of Done (DoD). Scrum is further facilitated by a Scrum Master who leads the sprints, demos, reviews, and ensures that the team is continually optimizing and improving.

3. Lean

Lean project management is the methodology that emphasizes the dictum of maximizing value while minimizing waste. In project management, it aims at creating the most value with a minimum amount of resources, labor, and space.

There are 3 ‘M’s in Lean: Muda refers to wasteful activities that consume resources without value generation, Muri refers to overutilization of equipment or employees and Mura which corresponds to operational inefficiency. Lean project management methodologies when practiced are capable of reducing these 3 Ms within the project process. 

4. Kanban 

Kanban is a project management methodology that is focused on Lean principles. Its primary focus is to increase efficiency. It’s an evolved version of Scrum. It’s flexible and not focused on roles. It keeps the team focused on what matters. It’s ideal for environments where priorities are changed frequently. The online tool Trello is based on Kanban. It gives an accurate visual depiction of the progress of work for the team and other stakeholders. It’s ideal in organizations that demand a consistent output.

5eXtreme Programming methodology (XP)  

eXtreme Programming (XP) is also a software development project management methodology that focuses solely on development while ensuring quality. It lays down the processes needed to improve software quality as well as meet customer requirements.  It is quite similar to Scrum but differs in certain prescriptive processes. These processes include making compulsory user stories, Test Driven Development (TDD), Pair programming, and Continuous integration. 

6. Waterfall  

Waterfall methodology, also known as the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) values solid planning and doing everything in one shot, unlike Agile. Planning and resource allocation is done in the beginning, work is executed in cascades. Like a waterfall. However, Waterfall is rigid as it offers no scope to make changes to the plan unless necessary. Because of this approach, upon reaching the testing stage, it’s very difficult to go back and rectify mistakes. That could end up being quite risky. The many shortcomings of the Waterfall approach are the reasons why Agile methodologies gained acceptance worldwide. 

7. PRINCE2   

Created by the UK govt in 1996 for IT projects, PRINCE2 methodology is controlled project management practice which divides projects into various stages with their own set of plans and processes to follow. It’s an excellent framework that can be applied mostly in large projects. It lays down the need for the project, identifies the target audience, and whether the project is feasible. A PRINCE2 Practitioner often oversees the team in these projects and ensures that the team has the right resources and guidelines to conduct the project as well as mitigate risks effectively.

Ultimately, choosing the right project management methodology is based on the project and business environment. When chosen appropriately, these methodologies can play a major role in project success. Learn more about project management methodologies like these from our series of immersive workshops.

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