What are the Types of Project Management Methodologies?
With thousands of project management methodologies to choose from, the process of going through them can get a bit overwhelming. While we can’t cover all of them, here are eight of the most popular options along with their advantages and disadvantages:
This iterative methodology was introduced in the Agile Manifesto as more and more people became unsatisfied with linear project management methodologies. With the agile method, tasks are placed in a backlog system until new iterations or cycles are available. Then, project managers or product owners will prioritize these tasks, ensuring staff can focus on the most important ones first. Variations of the agile methodology include Kanban, extreme programming, and scrumban.
- Advantages: This method promotes collaboration among your team, is quick, allows for frequent testing, and can handle data-driven changes.
- Disadvantages: This method may not meet your project needs if extensive documentation is required or if it’s necessary to know the result from day one. Agile methodology is based on multiple iterations and adjustments as you go along.
- Good for: Projects that require more flexibility due to input from stakeholders or end-users at every stage of production. The agile project management method may also be a good fit if you need a fast turnover, even if that means an imperfect result.
This project management methodology was first used in the manufacturing industry and known as the Toyota Production System. It provided a way to minimize physical waste while maximizing value. Now it’s practised across various industries and applied to the project management process. The lean approach in product management references wasteful practices known as the 3Ms: Muda, Mura, and Muri. The 3Ms are wastefulness, unevenness, and overburden.
- Advantages: This method can reduce wasteful practices that hinder the efficiency of workflows and make production costly.
- Disadvantages: Despite one of the main benefits of making production less expensive, the system is costly to implement.
- Good for: Project managers who want to cut down on costs and optimize product development workflows while providing an end-product that brings value to clients.
The scrum methodology is similar to the agile method in that projects are backlogged. Teams will work on backlogged items in one- or two-week cycles known as sprints. During these sprints, they’ll meet for daily stand-ups and review the work completed so far. Scrum masters will then evaluate performance at a sprint retrospective and implement changes before moving on to the next sprint.
- Advantages: The scrum methodology can make it easier to complete projects quickly and efficiently without compromising resources, money, time, or quality.
- Disadvantages: For the scrum approach to work, teams must be fully committed. This may be difficult to accomplish if your team is lacking the drive.
- Good for: Project managers who wish to consistently improve their team’s skills and need flexibility to deliver a product or service.
The waterfall method is one of the most traditional project management methodologies. This method follows a sequential flow to deliver projects, meaning projects are completed in the order in which they are received. To start a new task, the project before can’t be a work in progress. The waterfall methodology is guided by six steps: requirements, analysis, design, coding, testing, and installation and maintenance.
- Advantages: The thorough documentation the waterfall approach requires makes it easier for new members to familiarize themselves with the project before starting.
- Disadvantages: There’s more room for error with the waterfall model if a project is likely to change without having the requirements before starting.
- Good for: The waterfall project management methodology can be good for large projects that have defined end goals and are unlikely to change. Projects in highly regulated industries, such as construction and manufacturing, may also find this approach beneficial, as it provides detailed project schedules and project tracking.
PRINCE2 is an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It’s both a methodology and certification for project managers that aims to provide you with the best practices and processes. PRINCE2 was published by the UK government in 1996, allowing IT projects to become more manageable. Learn more about PMP certification here.
- Advantages: A certification like PRINCE2 can help project managers get a leg up in the industry.
- Disadvantages: The principles that make up PRINCE2 may not be enough to adequately plan your projects.
- Good for: Project managers who want a certification that doesn’t require a specific number of prerequisites. It’s also good for project managers in the UK, where PRINCE2 is a standard qualification to have.
Critical path method
The critical path method (CPM), or critical path analysis, allows project managers to create an algorithm map based on certain pieces of information. This includes details that arise when identifying and scheduling significant tasks or dependencies in the development process. The work breakdown structure with the most critical tasks will become that path you take and will dictate the life cycle of the project.
- Advantages: CPM allows project managers to pinpoint which tasks are most important to ensure resources are adequately allocated.
- Disadvantages: This method is complex and requires project managers to know the steps necessary to reach project goals.
- Good for: Those managing large-scale projects that have various dependencies and need to follow a tight deadline. Project managers and development teams that need to map out projects using flow charts or Gantt charts before starting may also enjoy this method.
PMI’s PMBOK stands for the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge. While it isn’t exactly a project management methodology, it’s a certification similar to PRINCE2. The goal of the certification is to equip you with the best product management practices in the industry.
- Advantages: The PMBOK is updated regularly, allowing you to stay up to date with these practices as time goes on.
- Disadvantages: Remember, this isn’t a project management methodology, so it may not be suitable if you’re looking for a structured way to outline projects.
- Good for: Project managers who work in an industry where having this certification is the standard.
The hybrid approach allows you to combine methodologies, such as agile and waterfall or PRINCE2 and scrum, to meet the requirements of your project. You’re essentially taking the best of both worlds to create a new project management method.
- Advantages: A hybrid approach can provide you with a unique framework specifically tailored to your projects.
- Disadvantages: This approach can make it more challenging to track deliverables. Continuous administrative intervention may also increase as issues arise.
- Good for: Businesses in all industries that know the benefits of one or more methodologies but struggle to fully adopt them into their work. For example, some methodologies may be better suited for software development companies but have components that can benefit e-commerce businesses.