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There are different kinds of project management methodologies because there are different kinds of teams and various projects. In this two-part series, we will explore ten different project management methodologies.  A project management methodology is a system of guided procedures for managing a project. 

 

  1. Agile 

Agile project management allows team members to break projects into small pieces and review each one before moving forward to the next. 

This methodology is excellent for complex and large-scale projects because it gives team members a chance to respond to issues as they arise. By making changes simultaneously and by saving resources, teams can feel more confident that projects will fit within the allocated budget. 

Advantages: 

  • Changes can be made quickly and with less risk 
  • Communication between team members is encouraged 
  • Increased productivity 

Challenges: 

  • Deadlines need to be flexible – as unexpected changes can extend different increment times 
  • Team members must work closely together and wear many hats 

 

2. Waterfall 

The Waterfall methodology is a linear, sequential approach to project management. The team must complete each step of the project before moving onto the next, and progress flows downwards – like a waterfall. 

It sounds similar to Agile, but they differ in that Waterfall does not facilitate changes at each increment. Instead, the steps and deadlines for Waterfall projects must be clear from the outset, and then the team involved must work together to meet those deadlines. 

Advantages: 

  • Expectations are clear from the outset 
  • The documentation gives everyone a better understanding of the project 
  • Progress is easy to measure 

Challenges: 

  • Lack of flexibility 
  • Requirements need to be determined before the project starts 

 

3. Kanban 

Kanban is a visual project management framework. It originated from the Toyota production line, hence the Japanese name (roughly translated it means ‘visual sign’). 

Kanban is a valuable methodology for any teams that want to visualise their tasks and gain a better understanding of their workflow. It’s also known as the ‘just in time’ methodology because tasks are completed only as and when they are required.  

Visually, tasks are laid out in columns labelled with a variation on:  

  • ‘To Do’,  
  • ‘Doing’, and  
  • ‘Done’.  

Advantages: 

  • Improved flow and flexibility 
  • Bottlenecks are reduced 
  • No time is ever wasted on unnecessary work that may need to be redone 

Challenges: 

  • Focus is more on the visualization and less on the actual timing of deadlines 
  • Team members must remember to update their Kanban view to avoid confusion 

 

4. Scrum 

Scrum is not a fully-fledged methodology, instead it’s a facet of the Agile methodology. The name ‘scrum’ is borrowed from the name given to the huddles that rugby players form on the pitch to discuss tactical decisions. So it should come as no surprise that Scrum project management revolves around teamwork. 

Like Agile, projects are broken down into small increments. These are called ‘Sprints’ and typically last for around two weeks. During each sprint, teams are encouraged to be creative and self-organised. 

At the end of the sprint, there is a debrief meeting with stakeholders. Here, everything is reassessed, and the next steps are planned. 

Advantages: 

  • Creativity is encouraged 
  • Teamwork is encouraged 
  • Changes are easy to implement 

Challenges: 

  • Lack of a clear deadline 
  • A lot is expected of team members 

 

5. Hybrid 

If you have looked at Agile and Waterfall and thought, “I like both of those. Why can’t I take qualities from each and make a new methodology?” 

You can. And it’s called Hybrid. 

Hybrid takes the in-depth analysis and documentation of Waterfall and combines it with the flexibility of Agile to create a methodology that will suit most businesses. 

So we benefit from the precise planning and structure of Waterfall, with the increased flexibility of Agile. The only difference between this and Agile is that the planning stage is structured and thought-out first – leaving less room for changes and errors at later stages. 

Advantages: 

  • Increased flexibility 
  • More structured 
  • The best of both worlds 

Challenges: 

  • There is no clear structure 
  • The compromise means the team will be between two sets of rules 

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Jane Ferrier