Top Project Management Methodologies
Businesses always attempt to optimize their operational efficiencies by improving their project management to focus on driving growth and profits. Business leaders work on various strategies to reduce costs by improving manufacturing processes, inventory management, HR practices & systems, and project management.
Project management refers to the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value. It was used in the engineering and construction sectors but is now being increasingly implemented in Information Technology and health care industries. It involves planning and organizing a company's resources to accomplish a task, event, or duty. Different project management methodologies have been practiced across various industries, including the Traditional, Waterfall, Agile and Lean methodologies.
A project's success is heavily dependent on project management professionals who play a critical role in it. Project managers must possess relevant skills and experiences to deliver planned outcomes and are, therefore, highly sought after by businesses to achieve their goals.
Project Management and Project Management Methodologies
Project Management involves applying specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to manage projects and provide value to stakeholders.
In other words, project management is leading a team to accomplish results or deliverables within a set timeframe. It involves project documentation, planning, monitoring/tracking, and communication to deliver work successfully within time, scope, and budget constraints.
Project Management Methodology (PMM) is a framework of principles, techniques, and procedures used by Project Managers to manage complex projects efficiently. PMM vary in how they're organized structurally and in the usage of different deliverables, workflows, and project management software development.
There are several PMMs in practice. Project Managers need to be aware of them to decide on the methodology best suited for the organization and crystallize on the most appropriate Project Management Professional (PMP) training, especially online PMP certification. Let us consider the best project management methodologies and their unique features and application suitability.
1) Waterfall Methodology
As the name suggests, the Waterfall methodology is a framework wherein the project phases flow downward. In this methodology, a particular phase must be completed before progressing to the next project phase, ensuring substantial control is possible at each stage. Using a planning process, the methodology enhances the possibility of recording all project deliverables while reducing the loss of any essential data in the initial stages. This methodology uses Gantt charts for planning and scheduling.
Though widely perceived to be a traditional methodology, it has been a leading project management methodology used for several years across many industrial sectors, especially in the construction sector.
A drawback of the Waterfall methodology is that it doesn't provide flexibility if a project's scope changes midway.
The Waterfall approach is considered suitable for manufacturing and construction sectors, which are very structured in their operations.
2) Agile Methodology
Agile methodology was developed for projects requiring substantial speed and flexibility while allowing continual improvements for delivering quality solutions. It achieves this by using brief stints of delivery called "Sprints." Agile PPM is very interactive, permitting quick changes during a project. It is widely used in software development projects as it facilitates quick identification of issues and modifications at the beginning of the development.
Agile methodology reduces complexity and risk, permits repeatable processes and immediate feedback, and enables faster turnarounds. It potentially needs less documentation than Waterfall, and agile requires a substantial time commitment from everyone involved in the project when going through each iterative version. Agile methodology can be ideal for projects requiring less control and provides much more real-time communication within self-motivated team settings.
3) Critical Path Method (CPM)
CPM methodology involves several steps and is typically used in projects with interconnected activities. CPM methodology comprises:
- Identifying the critical tasks required to meet the project goal.
- Estimating the time needed to complete the tasks.
- Based on the above, schedule a critical path that helps achieve the project goal in the shortest period possible.
The teams have to reach milestones in the process of moving from one task to another. A key aspect of the methodology is that it reveals critical as well as noncritical processes by showing tasks that require the longest and shortest time, respectively. This analysis helps crystallize critical activities and those that are not. However, CPM's drawback is that teams in larger and complex projects might not identify the critical actions all the time. CPM is mostly used in small or mid-sized projects.
4) Scrum Methodology
One of the online PMP certifications, the Scrum methodology’s name originates from the formation of rugby. It is an interactive component of the Agile framework. The Scrum sessions are utilized to mark the tasks that are high on priority. The process of project management is assessed by a Scrum master instead of a project manager. A group of teams work independently on assigned projects. This is followed by a meeting with the Scrum master in which evaluation of results and prioritization of backlogged tasks takes place.
One of the drawbacks of the Scrum methodology is that bigger teams might find it challenging to adapt, leading to delayed progress and, ultimately, failure. To succeed, all the team members must be active participants. The software development industry largely uses the Scrum methodology.
5) Lean Methodology
Lean project management, as the name implies, involves doing more by using less. In other words, increasing value in the projects and manufacturing processes by eliminating non-optimal activities and processes focuses on optimizing verticals, technologies, and assets.
Henry Ford used flow production to automate the process of building cars. Toyota picked up on this idea and extended Lean project management beyond manufacturing to continuous improvement of the product development process. The Software development sector now uses lean processes to increase value by focusing on end-user feedback.
Lean methodology is widely adopted by the Construction and Manufacturing Industries and the Education sector, and startups and Software development firms are also following the Lean methodology. Project Managers should consider being equipped with online PMP certification and Lean methodology training to fuel their career growth.
6) Six Sigma Methodology
Motorola Engineers first introduced the methodology in the mid-1980s. Six Sigma methodology improves quality by identifying non-feasible or inefficient processes in the project. It applies quality management and empirical statistics, leveraging domain expertise.
As per the Six Sigma methodology, continual efforts in improving processes to achieve stable and expected results are most important to the project's success. Sustain quality in a project depends on the entire organization being devoted to it. Organizations require a Six Sigma certification to adopt and practice this methodology, and the six Sigma methodology works best in large organizations.
7) PRINCE2 Methodology
PRINCE2 stands for Projects in controlled environments. A structured and certified methodology, it was initially developed by the UK government for its Information Technology projects in 1989 and was called PRINCE. This led to the development of a general project management methodology in the year 1996, which was named PRINCE2.
PRINCE2 framework uses processes that are constant, stages that are controlled, resources that are appropriately allocated, assessing progress on a consistent basis, and alignment to organizational goals. The board manages the project allowing the project team to execute the plan separating the roles of Decision-makers and Doers.
PRINCE2 methodology is ideal for larger companies, requiring thorough documentation and process management. Project Managers should consider being equipped with Knowledge Hut's PRINCE2 training.
PRINCE2 is a popular project management methodology widely used by many UK governmental agencies, and it has since been adopted by the United Nations and several other countries.
8) Kanban Methodology
The Kanban methodology utilizes a visual approach to project management. Kanban in Japanese means Billboard. The methodology manages workflow by placing tasks on a Kanban Board - that displays workflow and progress for the benefit of all team members. The Kanban methodology utilizes a visual approach to reduce inefficiencies. It is an excellent project management tool for Lean Manufacturing and Agile projects.
Toyota applied the Kanban project management methodology in the late 1940s to control its vehicles' production rate as per the demand rate. Toyota used it in their lean manufacturing model, known as the Toyota production system.
Kanban was initially used in the manufacturing and software sectors and has since found extended usage in Human Resources, marketing, organizational strategy, and executive processes.
9) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)
PMBOK is the Project Management Institute's book of processes, important terms, and guidelines. The PMBOK prescribes definitions and guidelines for project planning, scheduling, executing, and controlling. PMBOK is in many ways the the bible for project management processes for any industry. PMBOK involves five significant steps: Initiate, Plan, Execute, Control, and Close. PMBOK is regularly updated with the latest techniques and best practices. PMBOK is helpful for all projects -big or small, as all projects go through the various stages outlined in the book.
10) Extreme Programming (XP)
Extreme Programming, popularly referred to as XP, is an Agile software development process that improves productivity. It involves brief cycles of development and multiple releases for the benefit of Users, and it actively seeks customer requirements that can change the course of the project.
Extreme Programming was developed by Kent Beck while working on the payroll project entitled "Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System." He wrote the book - "Extreme Programming Explained" in 1999. XP is considered the best PPM tool when project requirements change frequently, and it's also suitable for project scenarios when the customer doesn't have a clear idea of what they want.
Project management tools are essential for businesses to accomplish their goals and objectives. Several project management methodologies are available, and organizations follow a particular project management methodology (PMM) that is best suited for their business goal. Project Managers are critical to organizations driving their business growth plans and should know the various PPMs. Training in Project Management is very important for Project Managers to deliver business results.