Choosing the Best Project Management Methodology for Your Next Project

Apr 4, 2023

Do you know only 36% of projects are able to meet their requirements? There are many reasons behind this alarming number, such as a change in the organization’s priorities, project objectives, and task dependencies. However, the biggest reason remains a lack of clear direction. The easiest way to avoid these roadblocks is using various project management methodologies and frameworks.

Project management methodology is a collection of guiding concepts and procedures used to plan, manage, and carry out projects and lays out a clear project roadmap for the successful completion of projects.

We discuss seven popular project management methodologies, and as a project manager, you’ll need to choose which one is ideal for you based on your particular industry or project.

1. Waterfall

Waterfall methodology is a traditional approach to project management. Projects using this model follow a sequential flow, just like a waterfall. Work gets divided into phases, executed one after the other. Each project phase is dependent on the completion of the predecessor phase.

Inherited from the construction industry, Waterfall methodology relies heavily on proper planning, and the process is very streamlined, with each team member well aware of their roles and responsibilities.

Use if Your Project Has:

  • A clearly defined scope
  • An accurate work estimate and expectations
  • A few anticipated changes to the project plan
  • A picture of all the requirements before you start
  • Stakeholders whose expectations are clear

Don’t Use If:

  • The project is unpredictable and could be subject to change
  • You need to adapt to client feedback during the execution

2. Agile

The traditional approach to project management has its own set of drawbacks, it is inflexible and allows for little change, and that’s where Agile comes in. Agile, more a set of principles than a methodology, is a flexible and iterative approach to project management focused on collaboration, feedback, and responding to change instead of obsessing over planning.

Agile follows the values and principles defined in the Agile Manifesto. It reduces the complexity of a project by breaking down the project cycle into smaller pieces, allowing room for changes at later stages. To be agile, a project has to follow these core values.

Agile project management has sparked off several frameworks and methodologies, such as Scrum, Scrum-ban, Kanban, and Lean. All of these frameworks find collaboration, adaptability, and communication at their heart.

Use if:

  • The project involves a certain level of uncertainty
  • Project scope is susceptible to change
  • Client feedback has to be incorporated into the project
  • You don’t know what the end product point looks like at the outset
  • Quick progress is more important than perfect results

Don’t Use If:

  • The project needs a lot of documentation
  • You have strict deadlines
  • You need to know what the deliverables look like at the outset
  • Your team lacks self-motivation

3. Scrum

Scrum is a sub-framework of Agile, where work gets divided into short cycles of one to four weeks called sprints. Each sprint iteration takes work from the product backlog. A Scrum Master leads a small team of around ten people and is responsible for holding daily scrum meetings, where the team reports progress and talks about blockers.

At the end of each sprint, a sprint retrospective is held to determine if the work accomplished passes the definition of done. The Scrum Master leads the scrums, sprint planning, demos, and retrospectives to ensure the team improves.

Use If:

  • Requirements are not clearly defined
  • There is a need to test the solution
  • You’re striving for continuous improvement
  • Change is probable during the development
  • Your team can self-manage

Don’t Use If:

  • You don’t have the commitment from the team needed to make it work
  • The stakeholders won’t join the sprint reviews
  • When the requirements are not allowed to evolve

4. Kanban

Kanban, another Agile project management methodology, is a visual representation of the project workflow system. Work is pulled from the backlog and moved through the columns on the Kanban board, where each column represents a stage of the process.

Kanban is great for giving an immediate visual overview of where each piece of work stands at any given time and helps to see where bottlenecks are. If a task gets stuck in a column, you’ll know that’s the stage of your process that needs examination. Teams use Kanban differently; it strives to keep the structure simple while focusing on the most crucial project activities.

Use If:

  • You want a visual representation of progress
  • You have a remote team
  • You prefer to work on a continuous “pull” basis to keep the work in progress manageable

Don’t Use If:

  • The project is complex

5. Scrumban

Scrumban is a hybrid Agile project management approach that merges the best features of Kanban and Scrum. It combines the structure and predictable routines of Scrum with the flexibility of Kanban to make teams more agile, productive, and efficient.

The fundamental advantage of the Scrumban methodology is that it enables teams to continually “pull” from the product backlog according to their capacity instead of choosing an item from the backlog to work on at the beginning of each sprint as you would during “classic” Scrum.

Scrumban also enables you to maintain a continuous flow while including project planning, reviews, and retrospectives when necessary by employing work-in-progress restrictions during your sprint cycle.

Use If:

  • Your team finds Scrum too rigid to use
  • The team wants more flexibility

Don’t Use If:

  • You want more structure and control

6. Lean

Lean is a project management approach focused on increasing value and reducing waste. Lean has its roots in the industrial sector and was initially concerned with eliminating physical waste from the production process. However, it now refers to other wasteful practices in the project management process known as the 3Ms: Muda, Mura, and Muri.

  • Muda (wastefulness): Occurs from consuming resources but not adding any value
  • Mura (unevenness): Occurs through overproduction and leaves behind excess produce (waste)
  • Muri (overburden): Occurs when resources are overworked

Using Lean helps Project Managers to prevent the three Ms, so they can better execute projects and streamline processes.

Use If:

  • You are facing efficiency issues and are looking to optimize processes
  • You want to deliver value and cut out the fluff

Don’t Use If:

  • You don’t have enough inventory in stock and don’t want to run into a supply problem
  • The company is undergoing a change
  • A project or process is in transition
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are unclear

7. eXtreme Programming (XP)

Another Agile project management approach created for software development is the eXtreme Programming (XP) technique.
XP, like Scrum, emphasizes teamwork and collaboration between management, clients, stakeholders, and developers. Teams work toward regular, frequent releases of deliverables and should adhere to a clear set of guidelines based on its five core values: simplicity, communication, feedback, respect, and courage.

Use If:

  • You want to foster teamwork and collaboration
  • You have a small, co-located team

Don’t Use If:

  • You have a tough time following rules
  • You have a team spread across different places and time zones.

Choosing the right project management methodology is critical to the success of any project, and it depends on several factors, such as team, scope, and project type. Whether you need to prioritize speed or focus on process optimization, there is a project management methodology that can fit your specific needs. At iQuasar, we have experienced professionals who help you to choose the methodology that best suits your needs, ensure that your projects are efficiently managed, and achieve your project goals.

Also Read: How to Master the 8 Key Project Management Skills

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