Project Management Methodologies
Business leaders are always on the lookout for the most effective project management methodologies. And, this makes sense when one considers the immense competition in today's business environment. The correct methodology can transform a struggling or upstart enterprise into a thriving behemoth in record time. But implementing the wrong methodology will have detrimental effects even on an enterprise that's already successful.
5 Most Popular Project Management Methodologies
So how should you choose a methodology that helps achieve the goals and aspirations of your company? Firstly, it's best to focus on proven methodologies that remain relevant today. There's no point in seeking outdated alternatives as these will yield unsatisfactory results. Secondly, pare down the list of applicable methodologies to those most suitable for your company. Finally, consider hybrid project management practices if these will help bring about the desired outcome.
5 Most Popular Project Management Methodologies
Below, we've compiled a handy list of the five most popular project management methodologies to keep your company on the right track.
Agile Project Management
Project managers have taken to Agile due to its iterative and quick approach. It gained traction in the software development community since they needed to complete and ship applications timeously. Due to most software projects' complexity, it was necessary to break these down into bite-sized chunks that development teams could handle. Moreover, they avoided big launches and instead focused on incremental releases with a regular update cycle.
But what makes Agile so powerful is that it allows companies to respond quickly to customer demands and changes in the marketplace. There's no longer a strict top-down managerial process that hinders teams from making changes when necessary. It's somewhat of a democratic process since teams can self-organize and decide how work gets done without a team leader's approval.
Agile is best suited in dynamic work environments such as creative agencies, game development studios, and IT operations.
While Agile does deliver results, this doesn't mean that it isn't without flaws. It's often difficult to keep teams collaborating and iterating at a steady pace while retaining their focus on the end goal. And this causes team leaders to ask a question: How can we complete our projects faster without burning out? Without a doubt, an important question since burnout and employee churn has become commonplace in Agile work environments.
That's why we have to look at other project management methodologies that complement existing ones, such as Scrum. What Scrum brings to the table are several important principles, such as transparency, inspection, and adaptation. These principles encourage teams to comprehend all known issues of a project beforehand, frequently inspect their work processes, and make revisions whenever necessary.
A common practice of Scrum is known as Sprint. During Sprint, a small-sized team will complete a shippable product or an increment within four weeks or less. To keep the momentum going, another Sprint will commence after the conclusion of the current one.
There's no better way to know if a methodology has been truly battle-tested than if it originates from the largest automaker in the world, namely, Toyota. This pioneering company has not only brought us reliable sedans, but also lean manufacturing principles, just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing, and Kanban.
We'll focus on Kanban since it shares similarities to Scrum but with a greater emphasis on efficiency, speed, and the final product quality. All this is achieved by visualizing the workflow, limiting unnecessary work, assessing lead times, establishing explicit work procedures, and constantly improving existing processes. Moreover, a team leader will have to keep tabs on lead times and the team's workflow for satisfactory results.
Without a doubt, Kanban is a great option for manufacturers, maintenance, and support companies. But even creative agencies that find Scrum too limiting can implement Kanban to improve their output.
Know the differences - Kanban vs. Scrum vs. Agile
Even though Agile is currently one of the most popular projects management methodologies, it doesn't make it suitable for all projects or enterprises. Many software developers still use the Waterfall methodology, which requires that a project be done once and done right. Furthermore, there's no incremental release cycle but a set deadline that the team is expected to meet.
Overall, Waterfall is much simpler than Agile since the team has to follow a pre-planned sequence of tasks and requirements. Team members don't have to concern themselves with the finer details of a project like they would in an Agile environment. Also, the linear nature of the different phases encompassing a Waterfall project makes it easier to predict the workflow and outcome.
Waterfall may seem archaic in some circles, especially upstart enterprises that can't risk working on larger projects or where they can't implement changes. But it's worthwhile for any company that has the expertise to handle these projects and understands its clients intimately.
Read in detail The Beginners Guide to Waterfall Project Management.
Lean is pretty much the granddaddy of Agile. Similar to Kanban, it emerged from Toyota thanks to the efforts of its industrial engineer, Shigeo Shingo. What makes Lean so special is its focus on eliminating waste, which is essential for sustainability. Companies will look at their assets, technologies, and customer service departments holistically and optimize them as much as possible.
It consists of a five-step process that entails identifying value, mapping the value stream, creating flow, establishing pull, and seeking perfection. But this process may not be suitable for most enterprises, especially upstarts. Instead, they should focus on the Lean Startup cycle that consists of build, measure, and learn. The quicker a company completes this three-step loop, the better it performs.
Manufacturers and upstarts benefit from Lean, but it's also suitable for any company that needs to maximize value and reduce overhead. As concerns about the environment mount, more companies will have to find ways to minimize waste.
The Bottom Line
Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Waterfall, and Lean are five of the most popular project management methodologies in use today. It's important to determine which of these are the most suitable for your enterprise to achieve the best results. Contact us today to learn how Techno-PM's tools and templates can enhance your project management processes.