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Project management types: 10 methodologies and free bullet journal

Project management is useful for every business owner. Whether you’re a new business or running multiple projects, it can be overwhelming. You can benefit from project management if you want to keep your product, service, or client projects on time. 

Project management apps and methods make planning timelines and organizing staff easier. However, there are many project management methodologies to choose from, which can make picking the best project management type for you time-consuming. 

Let’s look at the top 10 project management types and how to choose the best one for you: 

  1. Agile
  2. Lean
  3. Scrum
  4. Waterfall
  5. PRINCE2
  6. Critical path method 
  7. PMI’s PMBOK
  8. Hybrid
  9. Kanban
  10. Six Sigma

Project management is useful for every business, big and small. It allows teams across various industries to work with defined objectives, saving your business time and money while improving the customer experience.

An illustration of the benefits of project management, including improving productivity, lowering cost, and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Picking the right project management type for your business also helps your business: 

  • Improve productivity: With better product and time management, your team’s productivity can improve. This is because project management ultimately helps streamline workflows, decreasing bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
  • Reduce extra costs: You can also eliminate inefficient business processes that waste time and resources to help boost your bottom line.
  • Satisfy customer needs: By improving your team’s productivity with project management, you can provide products or services faster without sacrificing quality.

Project management helps define the roles of each team member, ensuring everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing. If you need help keeping you and your team on track, a business bullet journal can help.

1. Agile

Agile is a project management type from the Agile Alliance that takes a different approach from linear project management. With the agile method, you place tasks in a backlog until you start the next cycle. 

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 and scrum. 

Agile methods are quick, allow frequent testing, and can handle data-driven changes. However, they’re usually not a good fit if your project has extensive documentation. The agile project management methods may also be a good fit if you need a fast turnover, even if that means an imperfect result.

Good for: Software development or marketing campaign projects with uncertain requirements. Works well for projects that need flexibility due to input from end-users or stakeholders at each stage of production.

2. Lean

The Lean project management methodology got its start in the manufacturing industry at Toyota as the Toyota Production System. Various industries now use the project management process to find ways to minimize physical waste while maximizing value. 

The methodology targets wasteful practices known as the 3Ms: 

  • Muda: Wastefulness
  • Mura: Unevenness
  • Muri: Overburden

The Lean method can reduce wasteful practices that hinder the efficiency of workflows and make production costly. However, despite its key benefit of making production less expensive, the system is costly to implement.

Good for: Manufacturing, construction, or education industries where you need to cut costs and optimize product development workflows.

3. Scrum

The scrum methodology is similar to the agile method in that it backlogs projects. The scrum project management process takes place in sprints: 

  1. Teams work on backlogged items in one or two-week cycles known as sprints. 
  2. During these sprints, teams meet for daily stand-ups and review the work so far. 
  3. Scrum leaders evaluate performance at sprint retrospectives.
  4. Leaders then implement changes before moving on to the next sprint.

The scrum methodology makes it easier to complete projects quickly and efficiently without compromising resources, money, time, or quality. However, for the scrum approach to work well, you’ll want to maximize employee productivity and help ensure your team’s drive remains high.

Good for: Software and product development, but also works well for projects requiring flexibility, such as retail logistics or event planning.

4. Waterfall

The project management type is one of the traditional project management methodologies. This method follows a sequential flow to deliver projects, meaning you do projects in the order you got them. Before starting a new task, you must complete the previous project

The waterfall methodology includes six steps:

  1. Requirements: Define project goals and objections, then create the project plan with timelines and milestones. 
  2. Design: Create specifications and define the development tools and technologies you’ll use. 
  3. Implementation: Develop the system or software according to specifications, as well as integrate necessary components. 
  4. Testing: Find and fix bugs and defects, as well as test the system against requirements. 
  5. Delivery: Deploy the final system to users or customers. 
  6. Maintenance: Provide ongoing support for the system, including fixing bugs and addressing new requirements.

Documentation, like a procedures manual, for the waterfall approach, makes it easier for new members to familiarize themselves with the project before starting. However, 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: Large projects with set end goals that are unlikely to change. The detailed project tracking and schedules make it useful for industries like construction as well.


PRINCE2 stands for Projects In Controlled Environments. It’s both a methodology and a certification for project managers. PRINCE2 got its start in the UK as a system to help the government manage information technology projects. 

A certification like PRINCE2 can help project managers get a leg up in the industry, but the principles may not be enough to adequately plan your projects.

Project managers who want a certification that doesn’t require a specific number of prerequisites. 

Good for: Larger projects with lots of risk compliance requirements, such as government and information technology infrastructure projects.

6. Critical path method

The critical path method (CPM), or critical path analysis, allows project managers to create an algorithm map using certain pieces of information. This includes details that arise when identifying and scheduling significant tasks or dependencies in the development process.

CPM lets you pinpoint which tasks are most important to help optimize resource allocation and workload distribution. However, the method is complex and can require many steps to reach project goals.

Good for: Those managing large-scale projects that need to follow a tight deadline, like engineering or construction projects. It’s good if you enjoy mapping out projects using flow charts or Gantt charts before starting.


PMI’s PMBOK stands for the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge. While it isn’t exactly a project management type, it’s a certification similar to PRINCE2. 

The PMBOK gets regular updates, allowing you to stay up to date with these practices as time goes on. However, since it isn’t a project management method, it may not be suitable for outlining projects.

Good for: Project managers who work in an industry where having this certification is the standard. But it also works for small or big projects that will go through various project life cycle stages.

8. Hybrid

A 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.

A hybrid approach can provide you with a unique framework you can apply to your projects. It works well if you have various requirements or uncertainty in a project. However, this approach can make it more challenging to track deliverables.

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 methods work well for software development companies but have components that can benefit e-commerce businesses.

9. Kanban

Kanban is a project management system taken from the Agile method, helping users visualize and organize their workflow. A Kanban board helps you visualize tasks and project progress in real-time. 

Using Kanban lets you break projects into smaller tasks, making it easier to focus on one task at a time. The board separates projects and tasks into stages, such as “to-do” or “in progress.” It works well for software development, lean manufacturing, or other agile projects.

Good for: Almost any project with dynamic requirements and evolving priorities like marketing, human resources, or accounts receivable management and accounts payable processes.

10. Six Sigma

Six Sigma is akin to Lean project management since it focuses on customer needs and eliminating waste. The method looks to find out what is or is not working with a project while considering time, cost, and quality as constraints. 

Despite the name, Six Sigma uses a five-phase approach known as DMAIC: 

  1. Define: Identify the problem or opportunity for improvement. Then, define the project scope, goals, and customer requirements.
  2. Measure: Collect data on the current process and identify your key performance indicators (KPIs) for tracking progress. 
  3. Analyze: Leverage statistical tools and assess data for patterns and trends to identify the causes of problems. 
  4. Improve: Develop, implement, and pilot-test solutions to address the root causes.
  5. Control: Monitor the process to ensure that the improvements continue. 

Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology for improving processes and reducing defects. However, it requires significant investment and training, can be slow to implement, and may not be suitable for creative or intangible projects.

Good for: Very large companies looking to improve process efficiency and reduce costs. It works well for achieving high-quality outputs in the financial, health care, and manufacturing industries.

How to pick the right project management type

As with any essential business tool, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Choosing the right methodology depends on a few factors, including the size, type, and industry of your business and the projects you’ll encounter.

An illustration of tips for picking the right project management methodology, including considering your timeline and factoring in client expectations.

Every project you start may be different, varying in scope and requirements. So, you’ll have to consider the needs of your business and project carefully before moving forward with a methodology. To help you, here are a few things to remember:

  • Timeline: Is your project timeline flexible? Some methodologies can serve flexible projects better than projects that are constantly changing.
  • Client expectations: When working on a project, will you involve the client? If you need to ask customers for feedback at every step, you may need a more adaptable methodology.
  • Total budget: A few product methodologies are more expensive to implement. If you run a small business, your budget may already be tight, so savings might be a priority. 
  • Team: You want a project management methodology your team is familiar with or one that is easy to learn. Certain methods may require more time and resources to learn. 

Regardless of the project management type, you can improve your management skills with a business bullet journal planner.

Run your business with confidence

Project management helps you keep projects running on time. While there are many project management types, the best one for you depends on the project's structure. Think carefully about your goals, budget, team, and project scope. 

You can further elevate your project management skills with time-tracking software like QuickBooks Time—helping you easily track project hours, manage team members, and create accurate estimates. You can also integrate it with your accounting software to make payroll and contractor payments easy.

Project management types FAQ

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