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Risk Intelligence for the Project Management Practitioner

In humans, irrational behaviour is perceived to arise from autonomously elicited emotional reactions in the face of challenging and stressful circumstances. Project management practitioners are often required to make difficult decisions in such circumstancesand are subject to internal and external emotional turmoil on a frequent basis. It must be realized that, while irrational is not a synonym for emotional, they are often, in language and culture, these two words, in fact, have very different meanings. Irrational is something that is not logical or reasonable while emotion is a natural instinctive state of the mind that derives from moods, circumstances, and relationships. Emotional intelligence, in layman’s terms, means the ability to acquire knowledge of self and others’ emotions, and to apply this knowledge for self- and situational improvement, which includes improved decision making. At its core, emotional intelligence is emotional enlightenment. Being emotionally “intelligent,” in the same vein, refers to the ability to vary one’s emotional state and subsequent actions in response to varying situations, varying requirements, and experience. Classically, emotional intelligence is defined by Goleman (2004) as the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in both ourselves and others. Emotional intelligence, as opposed to inflexible rationalism, can be a tool for leveraging and regulating the automatic emotional upheaval in the face of a challenge for an effective decision-making process, and thereby effective leadership. A purely rational decision, theoretically, is supposed to consider only the hard facts, discounting all emotion. Does this mean 100% rational, fact-based decision making? Is such a thing possible? In many cases, one does not have—or cannot procure—all the relevant facts, and yet, an impactful decision is expected in the face of uncertainty. An emotionally intelligent decision considers the available facts with evidence first, and elements of emotional reactions second, to arrive at a decision. In such a decision, the emotional reactions of one’s self and other stakeholders are evaluated and investigated in situational context before the decision is made. Evolution has bequeathed human brains with pathways that force us, mostly subconsciously, to evaluate facts in a “personal subjective reality,” which is informed by previously accumulated personal experiences in similar situations. We always attempt to look at a new uncertainty through our lens of previous experiences—this, by itself, inherently “colours” us with some element of a preconceived notion. Whether it is right or wrong for the issue at hand depends on our understanding of the context. Thus, per the above theory, we humans carry a lot of assumptions about a lot of situations and uncertainties in our minds. The roots of these subconscious assumptions can be divided into two main categories—heuristics and emotional tags. Heuristics are subconscious mental connections that allow people to make fast, short-term judgments. Psychologist Herbert Simon propounded the theory of “bounded rationality,” which postulates that during decision making, human rationality is limited. The theory states that a fully rational decision cannot be made due to inherent limitations of cognition, problem tractability, and time. Instead, the human mind, more than often, makes a satisfactory decision rather than an optimal one. This is known as “satisficing.” Heuristics enable this process of satisficing by making a fast, but at times, less than optimal decision. Systematic errors in decision making that result from heuristics are known as cognitive biases. The mental processing of new evidence is not a simple step of input of information, objective logical processing, and rational output. Instead, the new information or evidence is passed through the heuristic lens and undergoes subjective processing based on the individual’s own experiences and interactions. Bias is a certain bent of decision due to heuristics. A biased decision, more often than not, is an incorrect decision. The process by which emotional information attaches itself to thoughts and experiences stored in our memories is known as emotional tagging (Campbell, Whitehead, & Finkelstein, 2009). This, along with assumptions based on experience(s) that are stored in the memory as heuristic patterns, in large part, govern the action to be contemplated in the face of uncertainty. The interplay between the two also, by reflex, happens instantaneously. Heuristics and emotional tags together form the foundation of “bias.” For a project management practitioner, on whom it is incumbent to regularly make decisions in challenging situations, the knowledge of these biases and their fallacies can be of great importance, not only to check self-biases, but also to understand stakeholder behaviours and inclinations. On a personal level, the project professional must overcome distorting attachments, self-interest, and misleading memories (Campbell, Whitehead, & Finkelstein, 2009). Despite personal inclinations, the project leader must consider team perspectives and deal with a set of group constraints to ensure success. The key is to take a step back in the face of a challenging circumstance and survey for objectivity, perceived objectivity, and subjectivity of the situation (for one’s self and stakeholders). The act of stopping to think is governed in the background, and sometimes in the foreground, by risk attitude. Risk attitude is defined as the state of mind or chosen response to uncertainty influenced by perception (Hillson, & Murray-Webster, 2006). Risk attitudes differ from domain to domain, and do not exclusively derive themselves from the specific traits of the person (Weber, Blais, & Betz, 2002). The situational context, past experiences, risk appetite, and personality together contribute in varying degrees to a risk-based decision, and the difference in risk attitude is in part due to perception of situational risk, which in turn may be informed by heuristics. It is incumbent on the project leader to consider multiple risk factors before making any critical decision. The accuracy and effectiveness of such a risk-based decision, in many ways, depends on the level of emotional maturity of the decision maker. Emotional literacy baselines and/or autocorrects the risk perception, thereby allowing the leader to take a well-rounded and balanced decision. Subconscious bias, in the form of emotional tags and heuristic patterns, automatically contributes to risk perception and is a major part of the immediate perception of uncertainty (Campbell, Whitehead, & Finkelstein, 2009). Instead of giving in to instinct, an emotionally enlightened project manager practices a certain level of self-management, self-regulation, and empathic behaviour to preclude a rash decision (see sidebar). Enterprise risk attitudes are macro-organizational outlooks in the face of uncertainty, which are only one of the many feeders into the project manager’s own risk response and situational decision-making process. The attitude or perceived attitude of superiors for the challenge at hand, along with the distilled perception of risk, decides the stance taken by the decision maker in the face of uncertainty. Individualized flow of risk-based decision makingconsiders the rational and emotionally intelligent decision-making approaches in the context of risk and its perception. Project managers are frequently exposed to situations where mistakes in risk-benefit decision making could have severe consequences. Many times, the easiest path is to be risk averse, but often options exist to take a mature, risk-neutral decision to maximize the opportunity of the situation. Risk-based thinking integrated with emotional intelligence provides a structure to help analyse judgment in such scenarios. Successful project leadership relies on the manager’s ability to take emotionally intelligent decisions by weighing in on the situational risk and aligning risk perceptions. A large part of this includes self-awareness, self-management, and self-regulation of perspectives through open-loop feedback. The interaction of emotional intelligence, decision making, and risk management is a complicated subject, but it is one that has significant potential to contribute to enhancing project leadership effectiveness. Emotionally intelligent transformational leaders have greater resistance to subconscious-bias-based decisions and unmanaged emotional risk attitudes. By practicing self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy, one can recognize and understand gaps in the decision-making process and enable oneself to take balanced, risk-based decisions. The key to risk-based, emotionally intelligent behaviour is to engender awareness of thought, choice, and mental and material consequences.
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Risk Intelligence for the Project Management Practitioner

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Risk Intelligence for the Project Management Practitioner

In humans, irrational behaviour is perceived to arise from autonomously elicited emotional reactions in the face of challenging and stressful circumstances. Project management practitioners are often required to make difficult decisions in such circumstancesand are subject to internal and external emotional turmoil on a frequent basis. It must be realized that, while irrational is not a synonym for emotional, they are often, in language and culture, these two words, in fact, have very different meanings. Irrational is something that is not logical or reasonable while emotion is a natural instinctive state of the mind that derives from moods, circumstances, and relationships. 

Emotional intelligence, in layman’s terms, means the ability to acquire knowledge of self and others’ emotions, and to apply this knowledge for self- and situational improvement, which includes improved decision making. At its core, emotional intelligence is emotional enlightenment. 

Being emotionally “intelligent,” in the same vein, refers to the ability to vary one’s emotional state and subsequent actions in response to varying situations, varying requirements, and experience. 

Classically, emotional intelligence is defined by Goleman (2004) as the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in both ourselves and others. Emotional intelligence, as opposed to inflexible rationalism, can be a tool for leveraging and regulating the automatic emotional upheaval in the face of a challenge for an effective decision-making process, and thereby effective leadership. 

A purely rational decision, theoretically, is supposed to consider only the hard facts, discounting all emotion. Does this mean 100% rational, fact-based decision making? Is such a thing possible? In many cases, one does not have—or cannot procure—all the relevant facts, and yet, an impactful decision is expected in the face of uncertainty. 

An emotionally intelligent decision considers the available facts with evidence first, and elements of emotional reactions second, to arrive at a decision. In such a decision, the emotional reactions of one’s self and other stakeholders are evaluated and investigated in situational context before the decision is made. 

Evolution has bequeathed human brains with pathways that force us, mostly subconsciously, to evaluate facts in a “personal subjective reality,” which is informed by previously accumulated personal experiences in similar situations. We always attempt to look at a new uncertainty through our lens of previous experiences—this, by itself, inherently “colours” us with some element of a preconceived notion. Whether it is right or wrong for the issue at hand depends on our understanding of the context. 

Thus, per the above theory, we humans carry a lot of assumptions about a lot of situations and uncertainties in our minds. The roots of these subconscious assumptions can be divided into two main categories—heuristics and emotional tags. 

Heuristics are subconscious mental connections that allow people to make fast, short-term judgments. Psychologist Herbert Simon propounded the theory of “bounded rationality,” which postulates that during decision making, human rationality is limited. The theory states that a fully rational decision cannot be made due to inherent limitations of cognition, problem tractability, and time. Instead, the human mind, more than often, makes a satisfactory decision rather than an optimal one. This is known as “satisficing.” Heuristics enable this process of satisficing by making a fast, but at times, less than optimal decision. 

Systematic errors in decision making that result from heuristics are known as cognitive biases. The mental processing of new evidence is not a simple step of input of information, objective logical processing, and rational output. Instead, the new information or evidence is passed through the heuristic lens and undergoes subjective processing based on the individual’s own experiences and interactions. Bias is a certain bent of decision due to heuristics. A biased decision, more often than not, is an incorrect decision. 

The process by which emotional information attaches itself to thoughts and experiences stored in our memories is known as emotional tagging (Campbell, Whitehead, & Finkelstein, 2009). This, along with assumptions based on experience(s) that are stored in the memory as heuristic patterns, in large part, govern the action to be contemplated in the face of uncertainty. The interplay between the two also, by reflex, happens instantaneously. Heuristics and emotional tags together form the foundation of “bias.” 

For a project management practitioner, on whom it is incumbent to regularly make decisions in challenging situations, the knowledge of these biases and their fallacies can be of great importance, not only to check self-biases, but also to understand stakeholder behaviours and inclinations. On a personal level, the project professional must overcome distorting attachments, self-interest, and misleading memories (Campbell, Whitehead, & Finkelstein, 2009). Despite personal inclinations, the project leader must consider team perspectives and deal with a set of group constraints to ensure success. The key is to take a step back in the face of a challenging circumstance and survey for objectivity, perceived objectivity, and subjectivity of the situation (for one’s self and stakeholders). 

The act of stopping to think is governed in the background, and sometimes in the foreground, by risk attitude. Risk attitude is defined as the state of mind or chosen response to uncertainty influenced by perception (Hillson, & Murray-Webster, 2006). Risk attitudes differ from domain to domain, and do not exclusively derive themselves from the specific traits of the person (Weber, Blais, & Betz, 2002). The situational context, past experiences, risk appetite, and personality together contribute in varying degrees to a risk-based decision, and the difference in risk attitude is in part due to perception of situational risk, which in turn may be informed by heuristics. 

It is incumbent on the project leader to consider multiple risk factors before making any critical decision. The accuracy and effectiveness of such a risk-based decision, in many ways, depends on the level of emotional maturity of the decision maker. Emotional literacy baselines and/or autocorrects the risk perception, thereby allowing the leader to take a well-rounded and balanced decision. Subconscious bias, in the form of emotional tags and heuristic patterns, automatically contributes to risk perception and is a major part of the immediate perception of uncertainty (Campbell, Whitehead, & Finkelstein, 2009). Instead of giving in to instinct, an emotionally enlightened project manager practices a certain level of self-management, self-regulation, and empathic behaviour to preclude a rash decision (see sidebar). 

Enterprise risk attitudes are macro-organizational outlooks in the face of uncertainty, which are only one of the many feeders into the project manager’s own risk response and situational decision-making process. The attitude or perceived attitude of superiors for the challenge at hand, along with the distilled perception of risk, decides the stance taken by the decision maker in the face of uncertainty. Individualized flow of risk-based decision makingconsiders the rational and emotionally intelligent decision-making approaches in the context of risk and its perception. 

Project managers are frequently exposed to situations where mistakes in risk-benefit decision making could have severe consequences. Many times, the easiest path is to be risk averse, but often options exist to take a mature, risk-neutral decision to maximize the opportunity of the situation. 

Risk-based thinking integrated with emotional intelligence provides a structure to help analyse judgment in such scenarios. Successful project leadership relies on the manager’s ability to take emotionally intelligent decisions by weighing in on the situational risk and aligning risk perceptions. A large part of this includes self-awareness, self-management, and self-regulation of perspectives through open-loop feedback. 

The interaction of emotional intelligence, decision making, and risk management is a complicated subject, but it is one that has significant potential to contribute to enhancing project leadership effectiveness. Emotionally intelligent transformational leaders have greater resistance to subconscious-bias-based decisions and unmanaged emotional risk attitudes. By practicing self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy, one can recognize and understand gaps in the decision-making process and enable oneself to take balanced, risk-based decisions. The key to risk-based, emotionally intelligent behaviour is to engender awareness of thought, choice, and mental and material consequences.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
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Top 10 Certifications in Project Management

Whether it is the IT or non-IT industry, a successful project always depends on a highly competent project manager. An adept and proactive project manager helps the teams in becoming consistently productive and accountable for their tasks and responsibilities. Nowadays project management is a highly pursued job title. Any professional aspiring to be a project manager can greatly benefit from working in this role. This is not only because of the lucrative salary but also because a lot of skills can be acquired after being certified as a project manager, like knowing how to plan, schedule, budget, execute, deliver and then report on the business projects. Here are some of the top certifications in project management that companies are looking for, presently:1. PMP®: Project Management Professional Project Management Professional (PMP)® is one of the top-level project management certifications and is globally recognized as the gold standard in project management. By being PMP® certified, you can work in any industry with any methodology irrespective of the situation. This certification includes all the top necessities required to test your knowledge and skills in managing the project "triple constraints", that is time, cost, and scope.Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria:Eligibility RequirementFour-year degree or global equivalentA secondary degree or global equivalentYears of Project Management Experience3 Years (36 months)5 Years (60 months)Hours Leading & Directing Projects4,500 Hours7,500 HoursHours of Project Management Education35 Hours35 Hours2. CAPM®: Certified Associate in Project Management Another certification governed and accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® lays the foundation stone for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. CAPM® is perfect for professionals who want to move steadily into the project management field. Individuals who do not possess a college degree or have no/minimal experience in the field can also apply for this certification. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria:A minimum of 23 hours of project management education before the examination. The minimum educational criterion to go for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification is a high school diploma certificate or any global equivalent form of education.3. CSM®: Certified Scrum MasterEver since agile methodologies have become the standard in most industries, especially the IT sector, Certified Scrum Masters have been in high demand. Despite various Scrum master certifications being available in the market, the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)® from the Scrum Alliance is a great way for aspiring project managers to start as Scrum practitioners. Scrum Alliance® offers this CSM® credential and is a non-profit organization that promotes the concept of adopting Scrum and agile practices. The organization globally has 450,000 plus certified practitioners. Accreditation body: Scrum Alliance® Eligibility criteria: There is no set of eligibility requirements to attend this Scrum Master Certification course and it can be taken by freshers or professionals who want to:Extend their careers in project management.Strengthen their grasp of Scrum.4. PMI-RMP®: Project Management Institute-Risk Management ProfessionalNowadays it is normal for any undergoing project to face risks at every stage, thus affecting its execution, success rate, and the final result. This requires planning the project by detecting potential risks, both threats, and opportunities, taking actions to reduce threats, and increasing opportunities.  The Project Management Institute-Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® credential affirms that Risk Managers know the best way to identify project risks and lessen threats while making the best of available opportunities. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either Secondary degree (high school diploma, an associate degree, or the global equivalent) 4,500 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 40 hours of project risk management education Or Four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent) 3,000 hours of project risk management experience within the last 5 consecutive years 30 hours of project risk management education5. CompTIA Project+ certificationTraining in the CompTIA Project+ certification will enable professionals to learn and implement common project management principles and important soft skills such as team building, conflict resolution, communication, negotiation, setting, and managing expectations. CompTIA's Project+ serves as a primary-level project management credential.Accreditation body: CompTIAEligibility criteria:There are no strict prerequisites, however, according to CompTIA, a candidate should have at least one year of experience managing, directing, or participating in small- to medium-scale projects.6. PRINCE2® Foundation/PRINCE2 PractitionerAccredited by Axelos, PRINCE2® is a de facto standard that describes project management standards and assists in forming consistency among projects. It began in the UK and then applied it to its government entities. Famous across Europe and now countries in the middle and far east, many industries have adopted these standards and gained impressive results. As a result, PRINCE2® Practitioners are sought-after for their knowledge of applying this framework on projects. There are two key certifications: PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner Certifications. The Foundation certification is an entry-level credential, testing basic project management terminology and methodology. On the other hand, the Practitioner certification tests advanced project managers who have already achieved the PRINCE2® Foundation.Accreditation body: Axelos Eligibility criteria: PRINCE2® Foundation Certification: There are no eligibility criteria for the PRINCE2® Foundation Certification Exam. However, it is recommended to possess basic project management knowledge.PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification: To get certified with PRINCE2® Practitioner Certification, applicants must have one of the below-mentioned certifications:PRINCE2® Foundation Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director) IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager) IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager) IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate)7. PgMP®: Program Management Professional (PgMP)® Certification Training This certification is created and administered by the PMI® and is the next step, after achieving the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification. PgMP® is for professionals who coordinate and manage multiple projects aligned with strategic objectives. This includes directing and managing complicated activities that may extend over functions, organizations, cultures, and geographies.With the PgMP® certification, professionals will strengthen their grasp in the six prime focus areas of program management such as Governance, Prioritization, Escalation, Resource Management, Benefits Realization, and Stakeholder Management. Thus, certified PgMP® professionals will be able to encourage teams to integrate and coordinate multiple projects in a better way. Accreditation body: Project Management Institute (PMI)® Eligibility criteria: Either:A four-year degree (Bachelor's or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and four years of Program Management experience.OrA secondary diploma (High school or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and seven years of Program Management experience. Candidates not meeting the above criteria can also consider the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. 8. APM™: Associate in Project ManagementThe Associate in Project Management (APM)™ certificate is an entry-level certification in Project Management and is a globally recognized credential. Governed by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®, the exam covers 50 Multiple Choice Questions out of which the candidate requires to get 70% (35 out of 50 correct) to pass the 60-minute exam. Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:No formal education or experience required. 9. MPM®: Master Project Manager The Master Project Manager certification is issued by the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)® and is ideal for both project managers and professionals with business and technical responsibilities. Accreditation body: American Academy of Project Management (AAPM)®Eligibility criteria: Three years of project management experience and training. 10. PPM™: Professional in Project ManagementProfessional in Project Management (PPM)™ course is organized by the Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)®. This is a mid-level certification that consists of project management components showing how to plan, execute, control, and complete projects as well as training to perform better.  Accreditation body: Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM)® Eligibility criteria:Completion of a mandatory E-Course Candidates should have a certain project management experience. ConclusionAlong with the abovementioned project management certifications, it is recommended that professionals apply principles in their current professions, be on the lookout for newer methodologies and upskill regularly.
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10 Project Management Challenges in 2020

Out of the many tasks of a project manager to balance the aspects of a complex project, the crucial ones are time, money, scope, and people. To do this, an aspiring project manager needs to get trained in project management to manage unpredictable situations and obstacles that arise daily at work. The majority of the IT and non-IT organizations face several such challenging situations while working on a project to deliver an end-product. The key is to predict and overcome or avoid these common testing circumstances and simplify the production process this way. Even if a project manager heads a team or group of teams to run a project, it takes the combined effort of all the involved professionals to successfully begin and run a project. It is not a one-man show but a collaborative team effort. Considering the current year and remote working circumstances, here are the top 10 project management challenges that project managers are confronting while working on developing a product: 1. Setting deadlines Client-satisfaction is a major requirement, however, the deadlines set should be realistic to maintain both the quality and productivity of the project outcome, along with a focus on keeping the morale of the team members high. Also, no matter how hard people work, deadlines can sometimes not be met due to various unavoidable reasons. Managing those problems effectively by analyzing and finding alternate solutions can get the team out of such uncomfortable situations. 2. Proposing a budget planA project might face budget issues if the required amount to be invested is not analyzed and predicted. Effective project managers envision this by providing up-to-date information and inform the stakeholders of any challenges that a project might encounter if the required budget is not allocated. 3. Defining goalsA project will not be run and be executed properly without properly defined targets and expectations. A  visionary project manager always stays one step ahead by planning properly. This is achieved by communicating with the team and the relevant people in the company to chalk-out a clear project strategy and have the necessary tools and resources ready before the project is even initiated. 4. Project ScopeThis is by far one of the biggest project management obstacles that project managers face. Scope in project management is a general understanding among stakeholders about what is incorporated in a project and what elements make it successful. Anything that does not fall within the required functionalities and specifications to run the project is documented in the scope statement. The way out of this sticky situation is for the project manager to step in and make the team work according to the required functions and features to deliver a product with the desired results. 5. Competing prioritiesThere might be other conflicting projects that will tend to reduce the speed at which a project is running. The key is to determine how this might impact the delivery of the focused project, doing which will let the portfolio management or project sponsors decide which project should be prioritized. 6. CommunicationThe main part of the role of a project manager is to communicate clearly and effectively with the team and the relevant people at work. A capable and ambitious project manager always includes everyone involved ensuring that they are all in sync and step in the same direction to succeed in the project. The order of the day should be headed with daily and crisp updates. 7. Physically distributed teamsGone are the days when companies have teams working from the same location. Nowadays, teams of the same company are scattered across various cities and countries while working on the same project. This is quite normal in large organizations, so project managers need to coordinate with the various teams to efficiently manage tasks over different countries or time zones. 8. Numerous projects It is not up to a project manager to decide on working on a specific set of projects. In such cases where there are multiple projects to manage simultaneously, an efficient project manager who is well-organized and multitasking holds the key to finish all the assigned projects with equal importance. 9. FlexibilityIn large-scale projects, there might be a change in requirements, and elements that were originally not supposed to be a part of the project need to be included to fulfill the new criteria of the project. Plans change and this is also true while running a project. A project never runs with a constant set of instructions and strategies. Adapting to the changing requirements and acting accordingly by incorporating new changes is what a proactive project manager works on. 10. Risk ManagementAnother essential part of project management preparation is to learn to spot, analyze, and avoid risks while heading a project. Risk management is a general beneficial trait that is expected of project managers. The reason is working on projects is never a straight forward task. There will be challenges arising at the most unpredictable times and things may not always go according to how it is planned. Project managers collect input, develop trust, and see through the parts of a project that are most likely to fall off-track. The best way forwardThere will always be challenges while working on a project. So it is essential to possess multiple and effective project management skills to run the show. Aspiring project managers can achieve this by undergoing high-end project management training to assess their skills and work on the parts where it needs improvement. Continually upgrading and improving is what keeps project managers ahead in the game.
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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 a 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 had adopted Agile in the past 3 years. The most favorite methodology, Agile is actually a set of principles involved in software development. However, it’s 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 a small, cross-functional teams of upto 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 team 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. LeanLean project management is the methodology that emphasizes the dictum of maximizing value while minimizing waste. In project management, it aims at creating most value with a minimum amount of resources, labour, 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’s focused on Lean principles. Its primary focus is to increase efficiency. It’s an evolved version of Scrum. It’s flexible and not focussed on roles. It keeps the team focussed on what actually 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. 5. eXtreme 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 are done in the beginning, work is executed in cascades. Like a waterfall. However, Waterfall is pretty rigid as it offers no scope to make changes to the plan unless absolutely 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 Waterfall approach is the reason 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 the 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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Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

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