02 Apr 2020

Top Project Management Methodologies and How to Choose

Top Project Management Methodologies and How to Choose

The list of project management methodologies keeps on getting longer - so where to start? And how do you choose which one is right for your project or organisation?

If you are just getting started here’s a quick review of some of the emerging trends, the more popular methodologies and how to choose.

 

TRENDS IN METHODOLOGIES

 

NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Technology and a more digital approach to project management is a big consideration these days. But, to date, most of the technological improvement has been in automating simple functions like task management, scheduling and data gathering.
 
As machine learning and artificial intelligence make their way into project management technology - expect to see more advanced features such as “lessons learned” documents that contain data for both failed and successful projects.
 
This is then analysed via machine learning to automatically classify projects and predict negative consequences. Or with the development of AI, you can use findings and data to establish culture and ensure alignment with your company’s principles within the project framework.

 

USING THE HYBRID APPROACH

A more established trend is the rise of the hybrid approach to project management methodology implementation. This means if you find more than one of the methodologies (listed below) works for you and your team, you can have a mix of methodologies. More and more project managers are looking for methodology flexibility, as they face fast changing environments and technological disruption.
 
In PMI’s 2019 Pulse of the Profession survey, 89% of project managers implemented hybrid project management practices. So there would seem to be value in project managers familiarising themselves with a range of project management methods as they evolve.

 

5 OF THE MOST COMMON METHODOLOGIES

  1. Agile is a flexible, iterative design and build process characterised by a series of tasks that are conceived, executed and adapted as the situation demands, rather than a pre-planned process. It’s more a set of principles than a methodology. Agile, as an approach encompasses methodologies such as Scrum, eXtreme Programming, Kanban, and Scrumban. 

  2. Waterfall is essentially making a good plan and sticking to it. It focuses on planning with requirements fully defined at the beginning, before the project commences. Work cascades, much like a waterfall through phases of the project - with one needing to be completed before the next one can begin. In comparison Agile uses a more incremental and iterative delivery approach.

  3. PRINCE2 is a methodology that includes principles, themes and processes. PRINCE stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It is a process-oriented methodology that splits a project into multiple stages, each with their own plans and processes defining inputs and outputs for every stage. It’s a very detailed approach and works well in large, predictable environments.

  4. Critical Path Method is used for modelling and scheduling project activities in industries like construction, software development, and engineering. Like PRINCE2, you determine the activities needed to complete a project, the time that each will take, the dependencies between them, and their deliverables or milestones. From there you figure out the longest and shortest paths to completion and how different activities can be delayed without affecting key milestones.

  5. Earned Value Management focuses on measuring project performance. It’s a systematic project management process used to highlight differences in work performed and work planned. EVM is very useful for cost and schedule control and project forecasting. The project baseline is very important as it serves as a point of reference for all project related activities. 


HOW TO DECIDE

The 5 methodologies and approaches provide just a sample of the different philosophies and ways of managing a project. This list barely scratches the surface. So you need to do your homework to find the best method or methods for your needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making the choice:

  1. Know your project goals. 

  2. Determine the variables, dependencies and activities that are crucial for your project and the impact they have on achieving your goals.

  3. Identify the metrics and success factors the chosen methodology will impact the most.

  4. Compare your shortlist of project management methodologies with one another based on how closely their features and approaches align with your goals, variables and impact points.

  5. Engage your team in the decision-making process. Consult with them on their familiarity and experience with different methodologies.

  6. Apply the selected methodology - and stick to it! But make sure to measure its performance. 

Take the time to find the best method or methods for your project, team and organisation. Once you start down a path - changing course will be difficult. Try not to get too comfortable - keep an eye on your methodology’s performance, adaptability and continued relevance - as there will be new and better approaches emerging all the time.


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