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5 Project Management Methodologies That Work

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Project management is important in all lines of work. It serves to organize small or big teams of people, so they can effectively work together on delivering projects of different sizes and complications. Of course, different project management methodologies are used for distinct purposes. 

So, let’s take a look at each of these methodologies and understand what principles they are based on.

Waterfall Methodology

This is one variation of traditional methodologies that are used on a wide-range of industries. Basically, the project is taken apart and it is prepared as a list of tasks that need to be done or completed. This is a straightforward and easy way of organizing and managing a project.

However, its application is more effective when the client provides detailed instructions. It is under these conditions that the chain of tasks can be created. If there are not enough details provided, changes might be requested during the project. When and if this occurs, the waterfall methodology loses its purpose as it takes a lot of time to adapt the task chain for a new set of instructions.

Therefore, rely on this method only if you have all the necessary instructions for a particular project.

Critical Path Methodology

This is another methodology that is considered to be traditional. What makes it different from the waterfall one? Well, during the creation of a task chain, more emphasis is put on causalities. There are tasks that cannot be completed before others are finished.

With this methodology, it is best to organize projects that have a lot of dependent tasks. Therefore, the role of the project managers is to dedicate enough time to organize task structure, so the team always keep on moving forward. Also, a critical path has to be identified. As it will allow the managers to delay the less important tasks to prevent bottlenecks in the workflow.

When a team has to deal with many different projects, a pause often occurs, because not enough time was given to a significantly important task. With a critical path methodology, these situations can be avoided, as managers know what their critical path is and which tasks have higher priority.

By knowing the critical parts of the project, project managers and their teams can resolve projects in a better way irrespective of how complex they are. The methodology is especially effective when bigger teams are working together on a complex project.

Agile Project Management Methodology

As different types of companies started relying on traditional project management methodologies, more problems came to light. There are plenty of situations in which waterfall or critical path methodology are not the most optimal solutions for organizing and running a project correctly.

For example, industries that involve the coding need to approach their projects differently, which will give birth to agile project management. The notion was born in 2001, and ever since it has grown and developed into other agile methodologies.

However, all of the agile project management methodologies have one thing in common – the project stakeholder i.e. the client is involved in the whole process of project development. There are several cycles that should be completed before a project is finished.

It all comes down the following phases:

  • Instructions. The client provides instructions for the project.
  • Organization and Work. The project is organized and a team starts working on it.
  • Evaluation. Upon completion of the first milestone, the client takes a look and evaluates progress.
  • New Instructions. If there are any changes to be made, then client notifies the project manager and team work about the same so the workflow remains consistent.
  • Repeat. The process is repeated until the final product is complete.

With this approach, projects are tailored specifically to the client’s needs and the responsibility of its success is equally shared. For more info on this topic, you can read our related article on what is agile in project management

Adaptive Project Framework

This methodology belongs to the agile family, but unlike SCRUM and Kanban, this methodology is perfect for programming projects. The main emphasis is to be put on the RMS (requirements breakdown structure). It makes necessary for the client to provide as many details as possible. But at the same time, it puts the project manager in a different situation, one in which they have to find a solution to a particular problem on their own.

As Robert K. Wysocki puts it, the role of the project manager is that of a chef and not that of a cook. He is not to blindly follow the instructions provided, but add his own flavor to the project being developed. This goes a long way in developing the long term strategy, as the team working on a particular project has more freedom to perform tasks and add their own functionality to the project.

An increasing number of software companies are adopting the adaptive project framework, as it enables teams to do more by circumventing any problems along the way.

Change-management Methodology

This methodology is more focused on predicting possible problems that might occur as the project progresses. There are two approaches that project managers can pick:

  • Event Chain Methodology. With event chain methodology, the focus of the project manager is to analyze the project in detail and focus on finding any possible issues that might occur as the project advances.
    Managing all of the possible risks enables the manager to create backup plans that will allow the team to move on without losing any productivity and time. This helps to maintain the project schedule and delivery it on the promised deadline.
  • Extreme Project Management. XMP is completely different from the waterfall methodology. This approach is focused on allowing the team to make big changes while they are working on a project. The project manager needs to create a plan in which he can make massive changes to the project without affecting the productivity of the team.

 With these two methodologies, project managers can create flexible plans that allow changes to be made on one go.

These five project management methodologies are perfect for managing teams working across different industries. The project management world is continuously changing and we yet have to see which new project management methodologies are going to shape the future of businesses worldwide. Companies are always looking for new methods of being more productive, and the above mentioned methods are currently applied in each and every serious company.

A quality project management software solution can help you to effectively implement the methodologies outlined in this article. Read our in-depth reviews of the leading platforms in this category to select the best one for your requirements.

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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