Pick the right project management methodology for success

By: Amber Jones

Date: 17 May 2018

Pick the right project management methodology for successFor any project lead or business owner, choosing the right project management methodology (PMM) is the key to successful projects and, in the end, a successful business. But with such cryptic names - from Scrum to Kanban - you may need help understanding which method is right for you.

There's no "right" or "wrong" method. It all depends on what works for you and your specific project. It may not be even one method that suits, but a hybrid or a combination of a few.

To start off, look at how other businesses in your industry manage their projects. This obviously won't be helpful if you have a truly innovative business - in this case, consulting a PM or specialist should be helpful.

But as hiring an expert is not always a viable option, see our tips below to help you make the right choice.

Understanding your team and your needs

To decide which PMM is right for you, ask yourself the following:

  • How big is your project or team? There are methodologies that are more suitable for smaller teams, and less so for large ones.
  • What industry do you work in? Some methodologies were developed for specific business types.
  • How is your company structured?
  • Do internal infrastructure and technologies support the methodology?
  • Is it a product you will be creating or an experience?
  • What are the goals of the project?
  • How do the project team members like to work? Maybe they have prior experience with one specific method.

Smaller teams

Scrum

Scrum is the simplest of the agile project management methods, which have become commonplace in software, design and product development. The approach is based on building a minimum viable project (MVP), listening to customer feedback, iteration, collaboration and flexibility.

Agile methodologies are popular because they're well suited for what happens in real life. Businesses move quickly, things change all the time, and teams need to be able to adapt.

Anyone who works in a fast-paced and dynamic environment can benefit from working in a flexible and iterative way. And because customer feedback is so crucial to the project's success, managing it with the right CRM tool will help avoid many pitfalls.

Scrum is best suited to projects that can adapt to changes and support relatively painless reworking. If you're working on software projects with frequently shifting requirements and continuous user feedback, Extreme Programming (XP) might be right for you.

Lean

If you're a bootstrapped start-up, this might be for you. This method focuses on achieving more with less, as the name suggests: remove unnecessary steps, deliverables, resources and budget, and deliver a workable product in a more economical way.

Originally from the Japanese manufacturing industry, Lean works towards a state where waste is eliminated and quality improves while production time and cost are reduced.

Kanban

If you are in manufacturing or engineering, Kanban may suit your business. Developed by Toyota in 1953, the visual method uses cards to represent separate tasks, which are moved around a board as they pass from one stage to another or are completed.

Kanban is suitable for projects with smaller teams, who need a flexible approach to delivering a product or service. Today many agile software dev teams use Kanban boards too, as the visual management board allows teams to quickly determine obstacles and collaborate on ways to resolve them.

Larger teams

Waterfall

Some projects - or even industries - require projects to be run sequentially. If you need to complete a set sequence of tasks to deliver a finished product by a certain date and within a certain budget, you might be interested in this method.

Waterfall project management is suitable for projects that can't accommodate frequent reworking - for example, construction projects, where a change of plans would mean tearing down or destroying what's already been built. In such projects initial planning of each step of the project from start to finish is crucial.

The waterfall approach is less suited to software development projects because of the lack of customer feedback during the development process, and a delayed testing period. In these cases a more agile approach is appropriate.

Six Sigma

This is a traditional manufacturing industry methodology, focusing on removing the risk of defects as much as possible. Under this methodology, 99.99966% of production is statistically expected to be free of defects. It's best suited to larger companies and organizations that want to improve quality and efficiency through a data-driven methodology.

If you're on a budget you may want to look into a lean version of it, aptly called Lean Six Sigma (LSS).

Critical Path Method

Critical Path Method (CPM) is another methodology to consider. It can be used for many types of projects, including construction, research and engineering, but less often so for product and software development.

Other methodologies

There are other methodologies that focus on risk management and planning how to take back control in possible derailment scenarios. Consider Event Chain Methodology (ECM), Extreme Project Management (XPM) and Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods (PRISM).

Conclusion

While it's important to have a solid understanding of the many different ways to operate a project, you don't have to feel as though you're tethered to a single way of working. In fact, it's important to remember that you have to do what works for your team, your clients and the project itself.

The next logical step is to pair your PMM of choice up with a smart team work solution.

Copyright © 2018 Article was made possible by site supporter Amber Jones