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Top Project Management Methodology plus the next best six in 2021

Top Project Management Methodology plus the next best six in 2021

Want to find out the top project management methodology plus the next best six in 2021? 

This is the very question that we will answer here.

Getting your project management right is the best way to ensure a great product. Great products make money and improve the lives of the people that use them. Here’re a few amazing case studies of companies who hired DevTeam.Space to build their software products:

  1. DentaMatch – Healthcare Android and iOS App
  2. Mejorate – Healthcare Android and iOS Application
  3. Airsign– Flight Mobile App and Web Application

Contents

What is Project Management Methodology?
Why is Project Management Important?
What is Scope Creep?
Trends Shaping the Project Management Industry
Agile is Here to Stay
Emotional Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence
The Internet of Things
Digital Tools
Kanban Boards
Hybrid Project Management Methodologies

What is Project Management Methodology?

Project management involves overseeing groups of people in order that they achieve specific project objectives. To complete any project, you need effective teamwork. Simply put, it’s about making sure that you achieve the project goals.

“Project Management processes fall into five groups:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing

Project management knowledge draws on ten areas:

  • Integration
  • Scope
  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Procurement
  • Human resources
  • Communications
  • Risk management
  • Stakeholder management”

Find out more in “What is Project Management?”

Let’s take a hypothetical example. Let’s Imagine that I am tasked with the responsibility of successfully managing different digital marketing campaigns.

This will involve the entire campaign journey right from planning to ‘Go live’ and continue further with optimization. If I need to manage this for a specific geography, the scale and complexity would be much different from managing this for different geographies.

So, my objectives would remain the same but the scope changes.

What are my objectives and how do I define those?

  • Outputs (successful campaign launch);
  • Defined outcomes (high registration rates; high click-through-rates; higher conversion rates);
  • Strategic objectives (increased revenue).

Why is Project Management Important?

pm

We often come across questions like, “Do we really need a Project Manager, or Wouldn’t this increase our budget?” However, you can’t underestimate the value of a project manager.

They are the glue that binds the project team and different stakeholders. A project manager’s responsibility is to remain on top of all the tasks, identify potential roadblocks, and to steer the right course.

Running projects without a project manager is a recipe for disaster.

Let’s consider the Golden Triangle – cost, quality, and scope, and how crucial it is, therefore, for the project manager to keep the project on time, on course, and on budget.

Read “10 Reasons why Project Management matters” to learn more.

What is Scope Creep?

Project managers must understand the scope extremely well and ensure that the executive sponsors, project team, and different stakeholders reach an agreement.

I have seen numerous times clients giving a brief that lacks important details. Despite this, they simply expect the team to get started with key bits of information missing.

This is an indicator that the project is at a higher risk of failure. When requirements are not defined clearly, this leads to scope creep.  Know the “Top five causes of scope creep … and what to do about them.”

If I go back to my earlier example of managing digital marketing campaigns, obvious reasons for scope creep would entail the following:

  • Improper briefing by clients
  • Random and undocumented communication between the client and the Project Team.
  • Clients changing campaign objectives midway
  • Change in the nature of deliverables by clients

Trends Shaping the Project Management Industry

With four more months gone in, let’s look at how cutting-edge technology-driven project management methods have transformed over the years and how they are no longer only confined to the software industry.

“According to a 2017 Project Management Institute report, companies that have a well planned Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) report that 38% more projects meet their original goals and business intentions, and 33% fewer projects fail.” Read more about this in “Project Management Trends to watch out for in 2018!”

While there are types of project management methodologies in the industry, we need to be mindful of the ones that work best for specific types of projects. Organizations need to be intelligent enough to draw up a comparison between the latest tools and technologies that will allow them to deliver the desired outcome within a fixed budget.

This is the era of digital transformation. Digital tools have proved to be extremely beneficial in managing projects successfully. While there is no “one-size fits all” approach, a Project Manager needs to be extremely meticulous and careful in choosing the right digital tool depending on the teams and workflow.

2018 has seen some significant shifts in Project Management, starting with the Project Management Institute (PMI) releasing the sixth edition of “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®).” Going by the latest trends, the latest edition of PMBOK® Guide touches upon how to implement Project Management techniques in an agile environment. You can read more in “What’s New in the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition?”

There has been a paradigm shift in the ways organizations manage projects now. As mentioned earlier, since Project Management is no longer limited to the IT industry alone, there are role changes, changes in resource management and the entire process is more data-driven, client-centric, and outcome-focused.

Let’s look at a project management methodologies list relevant in 2018:

  1. Agile is here to stay
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Artificial Intelligence
  4. The Internet of Things
  5. Digital Tools
  6. Kanban Boards
  7. Hybrid Project Management Methodologies

Learn more about this in this article: “Top 12 PM Trends for 2018.”

Agile is Here to Stay

An infographic illustrating Agile methodology

Being agile is the need of the hour. Imagine managing a geographically dispersed team. Can we think of managing such a team using the traditional project management Waterfall method? That’s the reason smart organizations are turning to agile.

Agile rises above and beyond traditional software project management methodology. You can apply agile anywhere; be it content marketing or visual design, product development, or construction management.

With each passing year, projects are becoming more complex and the need for flexibility has risen multiple folds. What has changed is that project managers are able to close complex projects successfully with predictable results.

In the past, project managers relied on daily face-to-face meetings with the team. With the emergence of sophisticated collaboration tools, face-to-face meetings have given way to online meetings.

With teams becoming more distributed, project managers need to constantly brush up their interpersonal skills. They need to have in-depth knowledge about using the right collaboration tools and understand the nuances of communication spanning various cultures and geographies. They need deep expertise and knowledge in time management, cross-cultural hiring, resource management, and coaching skills.

Read “Agile project management: A comprehensive guide” to learn more about how agile methodology can increase the efficiency of your projects.

There’s no way that we talk about agile without mentioning the importance of a scrum master’s role. There is a very thin line between the project manager and a scrum master. On a broader level, the roles might look very similar, but they do differ, and each has its reason for existence.

The minute we visualize the traits of a project manager, we attach attributes like the planner, leader, decision-maker, motivator, risk-taker, and time-agnostic. He is responsible for the successful completion of any project.

The scrum master’s role varies slightly in the fact that he has assumed the role of a coach and facilitator. They are not directly responsible for managing the project team. Their key objectives include coaching the team about Scrum processes and ensuring that the team abides by all Scrum processes.

Emotional Intelligence

As a project manager, my team is my biggest asset. It is my prime responsibility to manage the emotions of my team skillfully. We underrate it at times, but we must nurture a healthy emotional environment always on any project team.

Productivity and efficiency get affected when as project managers, we overlook the emotional quotient. You can achieve great results only when you back yourself with the power of emotions. Emotions are an integral part of us and we need to respect that at any cost.

So, I would say that it is crucial for all project managers to gauge, acknowledge, manage, and use the information gained from emotional intelligence in the right capacity. You can use it to hone your coaching and motivational skills. You can also use it to influence your team in a positive way.

Didn’t we speak about data-driven outcomes earlier? Use the data given to you by your emotions to make the right decision. If you suppress it, you are only preventing yourself from helping others to reach their maximum potential. A good emotional intelligence quotient boosts us up and helps us stay competitive while applying the right reasoning skills.

Do you want to learn more about “Using emotional intelligence to improve project performance?

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – powered solutions have taken the world by storm and organizations can’t ignore the tremendous effects AI and machine learning have on streamlining business processes. If organizations want to stay ahead of the competition, they must embrace AI for enhanced productivity and efficiency.

AI-powered solutions help in controlling costs, assessing risks, and tracking time. These automated tools and processes help with managing workflows, promote team collaboration, and provide deep insights into your plans to accelerate efficiency.

Most project management tools are well equipped to collect a plethora of information while safeguarding critical historical operational data. It depends on the project managers how they would want to utilize this goldmine of information. When such a wealth of information is at my disposal, I would use that data to produce actionable outcomes.

Are you interested to understand how you can apply AI to your processes? Read “The Rise of AI-Powered Machines in the World of Project Management.”

The Internet of Things

What is the Internet of Things (IoT) and how does it blend with project management methodologies? The IoT is the global network of devices communicating with each other as well as the end-users via the Internet.

According to Gartner, “8.4 Billion Connected ‘Things’ Will Be in Use in 2017, Up 31 Percent From 2016.” As project managers, are we ready for a connected workplace? The IoT is present at every bend of the project management journey right from breaking silos to enhanced team collaboration to maintaining a data repository and real-time reporting.

As historical data archival happens without any manual labor and data collection happens effortlessly and continuously, Project managers can use deep-dive diagnostics to make better and more informed decisions. This will aid in the successful monitoring and control of projects.

Don’t fall back in the game. Use IoT to minimize risks, reduce errors, and complete projects ahead of time. Read “How IoT will Change Project Management?” for further insights.

Digital Tools

Day-to-day project management activities would be very time-consuming and cumbersome without digital tools. Let’s embrace the smart way of working. With projects increasing in scale and complexity and a shift in the mindset of today’s workforce, we have no choice, but to be a part of the digital journey.

However, a project manager must have the knowledge and expertise to evaluate different digital tools before deciding on the one that is best suited for his team’s needs. He needs to understand the processes, workflows, and team dynamics before zeroing in on any digital tool.

So, this is the hardest part. Once we are successful in identifying the right tool, we will be able to iron out problems and make our day-to-day activities more productive and efficient. Since a lot of tasks would be automated, the project would surely turn out to be profitable in the future.

Kanban Boards

Toyota Company was the first to use Kanban Boards to improve its manufacturing processes. But, now Kanban Boards are seeing deeper integration with PM methodologies.

Kanban Boards are excellent tools for daily stand-up meetings with the project team. It is a lean scheduling technique and aims at identifying blockers and fosters collaborative problem-solving. It is a visual board that consists of grids and uses Kanban cards for workflow management.

The Kanban Board has five grids:

  • Backlog
  • To-do
  • In progress
  • Review
  • Done

You push Kanban cards from one grid to the other as and when the task gets completed. This visualization helps to quickly identify roadblocks and sets the right tone for tasks, which are in progress for a long time. As teams get together during daily stand-ups, there is a free flow of information and better engagement.

This works extremely well in an agile environment where projects are more dynamic in nature. Kanban Board limits work-in-progress tasks and helps Project Managers have better control of the situation.

Use Kanban Boards to visualize, control, and optimize workflow and collaborate effectively with the team. Learn more about Kanban Boards and how these help in maximizing project efficiencies.

Hybrid Project Management Methodologies

Hybrid Project Management methodologies combine the best of Agile and traditional Waterfall method. This is a new project management concept that is gaining popularity. Since the nature of projects is radically different, there are chances that teams don’t get to adjust to either the Agile way or waterfall approach.

Hybrid Project Management comes to the rescue when the Waterfall approach seems too restrictive and the dynamic nature of Agile projects raises doubts about costs and completion.

So, why don’t we take the best of both worlds? Project teams can plan with the Work Breakdown Structure, while implementation and delivery follow the agile way.

Keeping in mind the dynamic nature of the market, the project team can be more proactive in responding to market changes. The hybrid approach also helps in better project planning and estimation. Read “Hybrid: A new project management approach” to understand where you can use this for faster project delivery.

Considerations when applying popular project management methodologies

How do you choose a project management method and apply it? You need to keep the following considerations in mind:

1. Key aspects to consider when using PRINCE2

You have likely considered whether to use PRINCE2 (Projects in controlled environments) in your project. This powerful methodology offers many advantages, however, keep the following factors in mind:

  • You need to regularly assess whether your software development project remains viable.
  • Prepare to plan and control the project by various stages.
  • Plan the project roles according to the recommendations of PRINCE2. You should have roles at program management, project board, project management, and the level of team members.
  • Focus on learning lessons from earlier projects in your organization and elsewhere. At the same time, document lessons that you learned in your project. You need to institutionalize this learning process.

2. Where should you use “Adaptive Project Management” (APM)?

Do you have a highly fluid business environment? Are you noticing the organizational needs changing frequently? Do new technologies, processes, methods, and tools have the potential to drastically alter your business environment?

You could use the “Adaptive Project Management” (APM) methodology, however, keep the following in mind:

  • While the PM will apply the “Adaptive Project Framework” (APF), the framework isn’t prescriptive. The PM has the authority to adapt to situations.
  • You need to focus on what the client needs since that’s more important than mechanically following processes.
  • Proactively remove non-value-added work from the development process.
  • Review the project continuously and objectively throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC).

3. The key consideration when using the “Critical Chain Project Management” (CCPM) methodology

If you plan to use CCPM in your project, then you need to understand the constraints of your project first. You can’t apply CCPM mechanically without understanding them. We consider this as the most important factor before applying this methodology.

There can be different constraints, e.g.:

  • The estimation for the “solution design” phase may be more than what a realistic estimate should be. Successful projects need realistic estimates, therefore, you need to review the estimate.
  • You need to get developers onboarded to start the development phase on time. You have key dependencies on the hiring process.

You need a robust understanding of the constraints by monitoring the project thoroughly.

4. When should you use the “Critical Path Method” (CPM)?

We use the acronym “CPM” to denote the popular project management methodology called the “Critical Path Method” (CPM). It can definitely help a project team, however, you should know when to use it.

You need to do the following when using CPM:

  • List all project tasks including arranging them in sequential order when applicable;
  • Estimate the duration of each task;
  • Analyze the dependencies between tasks;
  • Determine the project milestones.

While you would probably use project management software for this, it’s a rather complex project management process. It suits complex projects, however, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Use it only for complex projects.

5. Considerations for using Lean Six Sigma in your organization

The origin of Lean lies in the manufacturing process adopted by Toyota. On the other hand, a project team in Motorola first used the term “Six Sigma”. In the modern era, “Lean Six Sigma” is a popular project management methodology.

This methodology uses several effective concepts like “Muda”, “Mura”, “Muri”, etc. to identify wasteful process steps in work processes. Organizations using this methodology removes these wasteful steps and achieve higher productivity.

While it can deliver significant benefits, there are limitations too. Implementing Lean Six Sigma in one part of the organization can only offer limited benefits. For best results, you need to implement it in your entire organization. Assess whether you are ready for such a cultural transformation.

6. Managing a “Waterfall project”: Key considerations for using the “Waterfall” methodology

Among traditional project management methodologies, the “Waterfall method” is a very prominent one. Historically, different project teams in many key projects have used it. The “Waterfall model” fits projects where the overall scope will not have fluidity.

Take the example of a “Supply Chain Management” (SCM) development project. We all know that SCM software must deliver specific functionalities. While there can be minor variations between two different SCM software products, the scope remains the same.

The “Waterfall model” works very well for such projects. You take sufficient time to define your business requirements, and you carefully define your non-functional requirements (NFRs). You finalize these requirements.

Subsequently, you design a technical solution. You proceed with development, testing, deployment, warranty, and maintenance. You will have a detailed review after each phase, which tells you about the health of the project. While it’s a long process, all stakeholders get clarity.

This methodology won’t work if there’s no clarity about the requirements though. If the main requirements change frequently, then the “Waterfall model” isn’t the best choice. Analyze your business context carefully before adopting it.

7. When to use the Agile methodology

The above discussion about fluid requirements brings us to the topic of iterative development. Modern software development projects often need to use iterations. Teams first launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP), and then they get feedback from the market.

Depending on the feedback, a “Product Owner” works with the project team to determine which features should be added to the software application. The “Product owner” also helps to determine the priorities of these features.

The “Agile” framework focuses on adding tangible business value to customers. In fact, the “Agile Manifesto” pays a lot of attention to this.

The other aspect that the “Agile” approach prioritizes is the value of teamwork. As we have explained in our guide to “Scrum” teams, Agile teams focus on fostering collaboration.

You build small teams that are self-organizing teams. Typically, you create cross-functional teams where developers and testers work together.

“Scrum” teams plan “Sprints”, i.e., iterations in the “Scrum” parlance. These teams conduct “stand-up” meetings to resolve bottlenecks that adversely impact the project. At the end of a “Sprint”, they conduct “Sprint retrospective” meetings to learn lessons.

Analyze whether you can bring this level of customer-centricity and teamwork to your organization. The success of “Agile” projects depends on this.

8. Considerations while using other techniques like “Extreme programming”, “Scrumban”, etc. in your project

You can also choose to use other techniques and methodologies, e.g.:

  • Extreme Programming” (XP): XP is an “Agile” software development framework that’s useful in a project where requirements often change. Remember that you should use it only if you have a small development team that’s co-located.
  • “Scrumban”: This project management framework combines the structure of “Scrum” and the flexibility of “Kanban”. Does it sound too tempting to you? Remember that you should use it only after carefully considering your requirements. “Scrumban” works well for software maintenance projects, and it can help when you need to give more flexibility to your team.

In some cases, you have already chosen a suitable methodology. You just need a bit of help in integrating the work done by your project team. In such cases, user-friendly templates from other successful project teams can help. E.g., the UK government provides a useful repository of project and program management resources. You can find easy-to-use templates here.

Considerations when applying popular project management methodologies

How do you choose a project management method and apply it? You need to keep the following considerations in mind:

1. Key aspects to consider when using PRINCE2

You have likely considered whether to use PRINCE2 (Projects in controlled environments) in your project. This powerful methodology offers many advantages, however, keep the following factors in mind:

  • You need to regularly assess whether your software development project remains viable.
  • Prepare to plan and control the project by various stages.
  • Plan the project roles according to the recommendations of PRINCE2. You should have roles at program management, project board, project management, and the level of team members.
  • Focus on learning lessons from earlier projects in your organization and elsewhere. At the same time, document lessons that you learned in your project. You need to institutionalize this learning process.

2. Where should you use “Adaptive Project Management” (APM)?

Do you have a highly fluid business environment? Are you noticing the organizational needs changing frequently? Do new technologies, processes, methods, and tools have the potential to drastically alter your business environment?

You could use the “Adaptive Project Management” (APM) methodology, however, keep the following in mind:

  • While the PM will apply the “Adaptive Project Framework” (APF), the framework isn’t prescriptive. The PM has the authority to adapt to situations.
  • You need to focus on what the client needs since that’s more important than mechanically following processes.
  • Proactively remove non-value-added work from the development process.
  • Review the project continuously and objectively throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC).

3. The key consideration when using the “Critical Chain Project Management” (CCPM) methodology

If you plan to use CCPM in your project, then you need to understand the constraints of your project first. You can’t apply CCPM mechanically without understanding them. We consider this as the most important factor before applying this methodology.

There can be different constraints, e.g.:

  • The estimation for the “solution design” phase may be more than what a realistic estimate should be. Successful projects need realistic estimates, therefore, you need to review the estimate.
  • You need to get developers onboarded to start the development phase on time. You have key dependencies on the hiring process.

You need a robust understanding of the constraints by monitoring the project thoroughly.

4. When should you use the “Critical Path Method” (CPM)?

We use the acronym “CPM” to denote the popular project management methodology called the “Critical Path Method” (CPM). It can definitely help a project team, however, you should know when to use it.

You need to do the following when using CPM:

  • List all project tasks including arranging them in sequential order when applicable;
  • Estimate the duration of each task;
  • Analyze the dependencies between tasks;
  • Determine the project milestones.

While you would probably use project management software for this, it’s a rather complex project management process. It suits complex projects, however, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Use it only for complex projects.

5. Considerations for using Lean Six Sigma in your organization

The origin of Lean lies in the manufacturing process adopted by Toyota. On the other hand, a project team in Motorola first used the term “Six Sigma”. In the modern era, “Lean Six Sigma” is a popular project management methodology.

This methodology uses several effective concepts like “Muda”, “Mura”, “Muri”, etc. to identify wasteful process steps in work processes. Organizations using this methodology removes these wasteful steps and achieve higher productivity.

While it can deliver significant benefits, there are limitations too. Implementing Lean Six Sigma in one part of the organization can only offer limited benefits. For best results, you need to implement it in your entire organization. Assess whether you are ready for such a cultural transformation.

6. Managing a “Waterfall project”: Key considerations for using the “Waterfall” methodology

Among traditional project management methodologies, the “Waterfall method” is a very prominent one. Historically, different project teams in many key projects have used it. The “Waterfall model” fits projects where the overall scope will not have fluidity.

Take the example of a “Supply Chain Management” (SCM) development project. We all know that SCM software must deliver specific functionalities. While there can be minor variations between two different SCM software products, the scope remains the same.

The “Waterfall model” works very well for such projects. You take sufficient time to define your business requirements, and you carefully define your non-functional requirements (NFRs). You finalize these requirements.

Subsequently, you design a technical solution. You proceed with development, testing, deployment, warranty, and maintenance. You will have a detailed review after each phase, which tells you about the health of the project. While it’s a long process, all stakeholders get clarity.

This methodology won’t work if there’s no clarity about the requirements though. If the main requirements change frequently, then the “Waterfall model” isn’t the best choice. Analyze your business context carefully before adopting it.

7. When to use the Agile methodology

The above discussion about fluid requirements brings us to the topic of iterative development. Modern software development projects often need to use iterations. Teams first launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP), and then they get feedback from the market.

Depending on the feedback, a “Product Owner” works with the project team to determine which features should be added to the software application. The “Product owner” also helps to determine the priorities of these features.

The “Agile” framework focuses on adding tangible business value to customers. In fact, the “Agile Manifesto” pays a lot of attention to this.

The other aspect that the “Agile” approach prioritizes is the value of teamwork. As we have explained in our guide to “Scrum” teams, Agile teams focus on fostering collaboration.

You build small teams that are self-organizing teams. Typically, you create cross-functional teams where developers and testers work together.

“Scrum” teams plan “Sprints”, i.e., iterations in the “Scrum” parlance. These teams conduct “stand-up” meetings to resolve bottlenecks that adversely impact the project. At the end of a “Sprint”, they conduct “Sprint retrospective” meetings to learn lessons.

Analyze whether you can bring this level of customer-centricity and teamwork to your organization. The success of “Agile” projects depends on this.

8. Considerations while using other techniques like “Extreme programming”, “Scrumban”, etc. in your project

You can also choose to use other techniques and methodologies, e.g.:

  • Extreme Programming” (XP): XP is an “Agile” software development framework that’s useful in a project where requirements often change. Remember that you should use it only if you have a small development team that’s co-located.
  • “Scrumban”: This project management framework combines the structure of “Scrum” and the flexibility of “Kanban”. Does it sound too tempting to you? Remember that you should use it only after carefully considering your requirements. “Scrumban” works well for software maintenance projects, and it can help when you need to give more flexibility to your team.

In some cases, you have already chosen a suitable methodology. You just need a bit of help in integrating the work done by your project team. In such cases, user-friendly templates from other successful project teams can help. E.g., the UK government provides a useful repository of project and program management resources. You can find easy-to-use templates here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is project management methodology?

PMM is in essence the guiding principles that are followed for project development. There are quite a few project management methodologies and choosing the right one to fit your project is very important since each has its own pros and cons.

What are the different types of project management methodologies?

The six most common types of methodologies are:
Agile.
Scrum.
Kanban.
Lean.
Waterfall
Six Sigma

How do I choose a project management methodology?

You will need to closely examine your project and what are the most important development goals, i.e. speed, etc. You will then need to weight up your development team including time or human resources constraints. Once you have a good idea of these, you can then see which methodology best fits.

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