5 Different Project Management Methodologies & How to Choose the Right One

If there is one thing that we are all quite familiar with, it is the infamous notion, an unequivocal statement, the unambiguous one we all hear every day; Time is money. 

Whether big or small, whatever kind of tasks we find ourselves involved, time is of the essence. Yes, and what if we fail to fulfill the tasks in the said amount of time, we are eventually tagged as employees/managers/businesses who are deemed unworthy. 

Most small and medium-sized businesses have realized that spending less amount of time on unimportant tasks eventually leads the management to focus on more important tasks. By focusing on the important, businesses are eventually able to make more profits. 

So how should one categorize which tasks are important and which are not? How should they know where to pay the most attention and where to pay the least? Lastly, how should they streamline their operations and become more efficient at what they do in business? 

Such are the questions that trouble the mind of a modern-day working-class individual. 

What Is Your Ultimate Goal? 

Whether you work for a multinational corporation or an SMB, your ultimate goal is a two-edged sword. You have to keep your clients happy and at the same ensure that the company is making good enough profit. With a limited budget and a handful of employees, how far can you push your luck as a project manager or a business owner in the corporate? 

Thanks to project management methodologies that provide you the ultimate framework. 

Today, I am going to discuss the five most important project management methodologies. Each differs from one in its own way, but the article will give you plenty of options to choose from. We will discuss each for what it is, what are its benefits and when to use them. 

Here are the Top 5 Project Management Methodologies

  • Agile Project Management
  • Scrum Methodology
  • Kanban Project Management
  • Lean Project Management
  • Waterfall Project Management

1) Agile Project Management

The inception of Agile Project Management dates back to 2001 and was initially created by the Agile Manifesto. It was a project management system developed to supersede the then-existing Waterfall method. The waterfall method was a more linear and sequential approach and was only limited to the world of software engineering. It emphasized the logical progression of the steps involved in creating software. It had a single path to follow. 

Whereas, Agile methodology is not dependent on a specific process to be followed. Instead, it takes a much broader perspective on project management and addresses key points to assist teams to adapt to a working situation. It works as an umbrella that helps other project management methodologies such as Kanban, Lean, and Scrum. 

What are the Pros of Agile Methodology? 

In an agile methodology, 

  • Individuals can interact with associated tools and processes.
  • Every software has comprehensive documentation for learning. 
  • Customer collaboration becomes easier over contract negotiation. 
  • Quick response to changes that may occur during a program. 
  • It has a strong emphasis on the adaptability of changing processes. 
  • Businesses can acquire quick feedback from the end-users. 
  • Plenty of opportunities for employees to deploy effective collaboration. 

When is the Best Time to Use Agile Methodology?

The best time for the agile methodology to work for businesses is, 

  • When team members and employees want to collaborate with each other. 
  • When clients and stakeholders want a strong involvement in the operations. 
  • When requirements and deliverables are not correctly defined by the clients.
  • When work-flow processes require frequent changes within the workflow. 
  • When a minor system failure will not risk the integrity of the entire system.

2) SCRUM Methodology

Falling under the umbrella of Agile methodology, SCRUM is a widely favored project management methodology that solely focuses on improving the communication and speed of project development. It is an interesting methodology for fast-pace businesses as it allows the employee to complete tasks and achieve goals/objectives in short bursts of time. 

SCRUM Management mostly focuses on achieving goals through sprint and marathons. 

How does a SCRUM methodology work? Here are six important steps which are involved. 

1) Sprint Planning

2) Sprint Commencement

3) Daily SCRUM meetings

4) Sprint Review

5) Sprint Retrospective

6) Product Backlog

What are the Pros of SCRUM methodology? 

In SCRUM methodology, 

  • Employees can emphasize flexibility to complete tasks.
  • Employees can get regular feedback from their clients.
  • Clients/customers can keep frequent quality checks. 

When is the Best Time to Use SCRUM methodology?

The best time for the SCRUM methodology to work for businesses is, 

  • If you want to complete a project in less than a month’s time.
  • When project requirements are not quite clearly defined. 
  • When team members are working remotely from separate locations. 
  • If your team size is limited and only contains 10 or fewer members. 

According to research, it was found that SCRUM is a successful methodology that ignites and favors team motivation and creates perfect satisfaction among employees. 

3) Kanban Project Management

Just as much as SCRUM is a part of the project management umbrella, so is the Kanban project management methodology. However, where SCRUM only focuses on achieving tasks in time, Kanban takes an overview of the whole organization and focuses on projects. The agenda of implementing a Kanban project management methodology is to accomplish maximum output with relatively lower production time. This methodology is one of the oldest on the block as it dates back to the 1940s. It was created by the Japanese company Toyota in order to compete with the leading American car manufacturers in the market. 

The Kanban method works through a six-step formula. 

1) Visualizing the flow of work 

2) Limiting tasks to achieve more

3) Management of the entire flow

4) Make the process rules clear

5) Introduce engaging feedback loops

6) Collaborate and experiment

What are the Pros of Kanban Project Methodology? 

In Kanban project management methodology, 

  • Kanban projects don’t adjust abrupt changes but favor gradual changes instead. 
  • There is a reduced cycle time for every project. 
  • Kanban can be applied to any project from any industry without disrupting current practices. 

Where can Kanban Project Methodology be used? 

The Kanban project management methodology is best used when, 

  • When you are unable to change any current processes. 
  • When you accomplish projects or priorities change often.
  • When projects are fairly huge and take at least a month to complete. 

The best example which I can quote here is that of Teradata. It is an analytics and consulting service company who found the SCRUM methodology a failed methodology to run their projects. Hence, they adopted and implemented the new Kanban method which allowed them to accomplish their goals and objectives in time and within their budget. 

4) Lean Project Management

It is a project management methodology that solely focuses on efficiency. The objective of such a type of agile project management methodology is to reduce the wastage and utilize fewer resources. The purpose of lean methodology is to create something of value for customers without much capital loss. 

There are five principles of lean project management and they are as follows: 

  • Define value to customers 
  • Create a value stream for them 
  • Create a flow free of interruptions
  • Understand consumer demand
  • Pursue perfection for customer satisfaction 

What are the Pros of Lean Project Management?

Some of the greatest benefits of lean project management are, 

  • It focuses on delivering high-quality to customers. 
  • It focuses on optimizing the efficiency of the process. 
  • It focuses on streamlining the content into a single space. 
  • It focuses on improving customer satisfaction. 

Where Can Lean Project Management Methodology Be Used? 

The best time to use the following methodology is, 

  • When you are working with projects which are relatively small. 
  • When projects are going over the budget and the project lifeline is low. 
  • When the project is relatively simple and easy to complete. 

This methodology works best for those organizations which mostly deal in the financial industry. The Boston Consulting Group found out that the banks see a relatively 15-25% of wait time reduction when it comes to serving their customers when they implemented the lean project methodology. 

In fact, one other bank was able to process transactions 30% efficiently because of lean methodology. 

5) The Waterfall Project Management

The waterfall project management methodology dates back to the 1970s. It is an approach which is accomplished in several distinct stages. It focuses on making a big plan and then execute that plan in a linear fashion. The expectations in this methodology is that there won’t be any changes in the plan.

There are six steps involved in the waterfall project management and they are, 

  • Requirement document
  • Model generation to build app
  • Technical Design (Programming/Coding)
  • Writing Source code for program
  • Beta testing of the code
  • Application deployment & maintenance

What are the Pros of Waterfall Project Management? 

The Waterfall project management focuses is great

  • When your project requires a well-structured order
  • When your project requires complete detailed organization
  • When your project should be mapped on a predictable process

Certain individuals have raised a concern that Waterfall Project Management methodology isn’t a great option for fast-paced environments such as software houses or digital marketing agencies. This further leads to the emergence of an Agile Project Management. But, in all honesty, Waterfall method is a stable project management methodology which enable employees to work effectively. 

Where Can Waterfall Project Management Methodology be Used? 

This particular methodology works best when, 

  • When the project meets strict and inflexible deadlines
  • The technological components are simple and easily understood
  • System failure will not damage or cripple the entire system
  • The teams which are involved are large and are rather subject to change
  • When the requirements collected for the project are clear 

However, failure usually occurs when the Waterfall method is merged with some other agile methodology of project management. The best example that we can quote here is from 2013 of October, the infamous debacle of which took place for their website. In just under 2 hours after launch, the website suffered a magnanimous blow leaving more than millions of Americans in the dark. They couldn’t access their health records and track their health coverage. 

What really happened? Project managers for the website tried to combine Agile with Waterfall principles and as a result, a fatal mistake occurred bringing data worth millions of users down in a go. 

As a result, many website users lost access to the website and were unable to register potentially life-saving health insurance. The cost of the website went from $1.7 billion to a staggering $93.7 million. 

How to Choose the Right Project Management Methodology for Your Business? 

While businesses around the world are different; some are dependent on teams, others on goals, others on culture and clients. However, all have their own way of contributing to the highly unique environments in which they function. So how should one choose which project management methodology is the best for their business? 

Here’s how. 

When you’re evaluating a business for a project management methodology, consider these factors: 

  • Strategic goals
  • Core values
  • Business drivers
  • Constraints
  • Stakeholders
  • Risks
  • Project complexity
  • Project size/scope

These factors are strongly significant as they play a massive role in the project management landscape. Once, you have successfully evaluated and documented them, it’s the time to test them. By addressing all of these factors and keeping them in attention, you can choose the perfect methodology that works best for your business.

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