Project Management Methodology: The 2021 Guide

Project Management Methodology

Many organizations face a difficult time choosing the best project management methodology. Choosing the best method from so many exclusive approaches can be very tricky.

A few project managers indulge themselves in a certification course to get used to the ways of managing a project. But only some learn the tools and techniques to take up a project and push it towards the finish line. 

In this article, you’ll get to learn about the most popular project management methodologies, tools for efficient project management, a suitable method for remote project management, and much more.

And we meticulously crafted a secret sauce for choosing the best project management methodology for your upcoming projects.

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What is Project Management Methodology?

The project management methodology is a practice or technique that guides you to manage and deliver your project successfully. It outlines how to take on a project and how to execute the step-by-step instructions of completing it. And to mention, it restricts the project life cycle to properly structured steps. 

Responsibilities of a Project Manager

Project managers have the responsibility of the planning, pitching, managing, executing, and monitoring a project’s life cycle and quality.

Responsibilities of a project manager include:

Phase 1: Initiation

  • Identifying the stakeholders that work around the project. (such as the clients, himself, the team that takes over the project, the managing director, etc.)
  • Formulating a project charter (that includes the objectives, the methodology, etc) 

Phase 2: Planning

  • Developing a project management plan for the team lead. 
  • Detailing the scope of the project, gathering the requirements of the project from the clients, creating a work breakdown structure (WBS).
  • Scheduling every activity of the project.
  • Determining the budget and filing an estimated cost of the project.
  • Discussing the quality requirements with the client and team. 
  • Identifying the suitable team for the project. 
  • Choosing the mode of communication and hierarchical structure of the team for the project. 
  • Conducting a risk analysis and informing the team & the clients. 
  • Participating in the procurement process of the project. 
  • Conducting an orientation session with the stakeholders and the project team. 

Phase 3:  Execution of the project

  • Communicating the changes from the clients to the team. 
  • Assisting the team to communicate the technical difficulties with the management. 
  • Assessing the performance of the team that handles the project. 
  • Managing the stakeholders’ expectations. 

Phase 4: Monitoring the functions of the project

  • Asking the team to make changes if necessary. 
  • Communicating the project update to the clients. 
  • Monitoring whether the steps of the project are moving chronologically and properly.  
  • Managing the costs and budget of each task.

Phase 5: Closing the project

  • Last-minute updates and getting clients’ approval on the project. 
  • Handing over the project to the clients.
  • Communicating the project’s success to the team. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Project Management Methodology

Most project managers overlook some core factors when choosing a project management methodology for a particular project. 

Lets have a look at these core factors.

  • Project timeline – The submission time quoted by your team must be on par with the client’s timeline. If not, it has to be communicated and sorted out in the initial stages.
  • Industry-based – It is essential to choose a project that is within your industry. Why do you ask? Because the expertise of the company that takes over the project is essential for the client’s company. 
  • Project budget – The project management company must meet the client’s budget. If not, it has to be discussed with the managing director of the company that takes over the project.
  • The complexity of the project – Take the projects only (ONLY) if your team can handle them. If not, hard pass.
  • Availability of resources – [Same as project complexity.] The project management company must have the means and resources to handle the project. If not, politely decline the offer.  
  • Communication – If the client doesn’t communicate the needs of their project vividly. Take it upon yourself to extract every detail possible and record it for future reference during the project.

Popular Project Management Methodologies Used by Businesses

virtual project management

When choosing the apt project methodologies for your business, you have to know what varieties exist and their benefits and drawbacks. 

1. Waterfall

Waterfall methodology is commonly known as the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) method for convenience. The formulation of the waterfall is simple yet effective.

It involves meticulous planning and execution – step-by-step. The project manager who leads the project has to be very strict with the money allocated, the time, the quality of the task, and carrying it forward to the next task. 

Advantages:

  • The budget, timeline, and other factors involved in the project are very estimable, predictable even. 
  • It has a proper visual chart when it comes to the steps and taking the project forward from one department to another. 

Disadvantages:

  • There is little scope for the project manager to fix the plan and correct the errors after execution. 
  • It is difficult for the testers to go back and find the apt place to change things to make it up and running smoothly.

2. Agile

Agile is a buzzword used in every technology-related business. It is foremostly not a methodology but a set of principles used to build software. 

It is not a preplanned set of tasks to execute but a series of steps that have to be completed as and when it is thrown to the team members.

There are 4 fundamental values when it comes to Agile methodology.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  4. Responding to change over following a plan.

Advantages:

  • It is best used for tracking the project’s vision statement, the project progress, project roadmaps, backlogs, etc. 
  • Adapting the agile method involves intense collaboration, open communication, and flexibility which ensures high-quality results.

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of communication can cause serious chaos within the project. 
  • There is no systematic plan, which might be difficult for the team to go through with the challenging tasks.

3. Scrum

This method is purely used for proper delivery purposes. The scrum-based project team has to have 5 core values;

  1. Commitment.
  2. Courage.
  3. Focus.
  4. Openness.
  5. Respect.

The people who work in the team have to be collaborative and be accountable for their ups and downs. These are scrum events that have to be taken into consideration while fixing this method for a project;

  • Sprint: The itinerary planned must be within the timeline and must achieve the goals discussed throughout the development process.
  • Sprint planning: This is where the scrum team will meet together at the very beginning of every sprint to discuss their plans according to the timeline. 
  • Daily Scrum: Sufficient time is taken to discuss the whereabouts, challenges, and other issues while facing the task. This could happen every day to enhance the process.
  • Sprint review: The stakeholders have to be informed about the ups and downs of the project. Therefore, this is an informal meeting held by the scrum team at the end of every sprint to present their feedback.
  • Sprint retrospective: This meeting is conducted to establish the improvements to be done after the sprint review with the stakeholders.

4. Lean

The lean method is all about customer satisfaction and avoiding as much waste as possible.

This method identifies three types of waste (time, money, and resources) that should be avoided at all costs when it comes to Lean methodology.

  • Muda

The waste must get rid of immediately – the intangible wastes such as time and the tangible wastes such as resources. This is the list of the 7 original wastes that can be avoided:

  1. Overproduction.
  2. Transportation. 
  3. Over-processing. 
  4. Transfer of machinery and people from one place to another. 
  5. Waiting for the process. 
  6. No proper inventory management.
  7. Defective goods and services. 
  • Mura:

The workflow process has to be scheduled and it must stick to the schedule. The operational process has to be even and smooth from one department to another. 

  • Muri:

Avoiding unnecessary stress to the employees (both skilled and unskilled). The main and common advice given to the businessmen and their managers is that the value stream mapping must be up and active.

5. Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

The CCPM is the newest form of project methodologies used by organizations. This method believes in working backward towards the goal. It is mostly used in small-scale or mid-scale projects or businesses to increase the success percentage. 

Advantages:

  • It helps the project team to stay more focused on the end goal of the project. 
  • The resources are not wasted – over or underutilized. 

Disadvantages:

  • Losing the track of time is very common with this methodology. 
  • Big and multinational projects cannot adopt this method as it is not effective for them. 

6. Critical Path Method (CPM)

This is one of the most reliable methods in the history of project management. 

The tasks of the project can be reallocated using these four methods:

  • Finish to Start (FS)
  • Finish to Finish (FF)
  • Start to Start (SS)
  • Start to Finish (SF)

Why are these four used separately? 

To reduce the interdependency between the project tasks and the team members. Each task is considered as an individual project and finally brought together to check the output.

7. Prince2

The Prince2 [Projects IN Controlled Environments] is prescribed by the UK government. 

There are 7 basic principles when you consider choosing Prince2 for your project. This methodology is most suitable for government projects. 

  1. Consistent business justification.
  2. Experience-based learning. 
  3. Roles and responsibilities are well defined.
  4. Stages management.
  5. Exception cases-based management.
  6. Focus on products.
  7. Fit the process to suit the project environment.

Advantages:

  • Historical data will give you a clear picture of what to anticipate in the future.
  • The heavy documentation can serve as a guide. 

Disadvantages:

  • This method does not effectively accommodate the extensive documentation. 
  • Resource reallocation and exceeding the timeline are very common. 

How to Choose a Perfect Project Management Methodology for Your Team?

How to Choose a Perfect Project Management Methodology for Your Team?

Each project management methodology has its own pros and cons. 

The list below is for you to assess and pick the right project management methodologies for your business.

1. Timespan

The time in which each project methodology works is the key factor, as clients expect a quality output on time. Therefore, it is essential to look at the timeline suitable for the particular project. 

You have to compare methodologies and work out the time in which there will be an efficient output. 

If it helps, have these questions to yourself before picking one – How much time is allotted for each task? What date and time would the clients want to output? Is it possible to deliver it earlier than anticipated?. 

2. Flexibility

The project management method you choose has to be flexible at any time. There has to be enough room for changes if at all there are any changes during the project – beginning, middle, or end. 

It must also accommodate the changes made after the completion of the project, and the corresponding client has some queries related to the project. 

3. Team Size

When choosing a project method, the team size should also be considered. The size of your team must be on par with the specifications in the method to carry forward the project without any risks. 

The team members who are taking over the project have to be relatively productive, skilled, and organized to follow the exact method to give out the perfect output within the stipulated timeline. They must also make the effort to learn some new project management tools and techniques to manage the project efficiently.

4. Risk-taking Ability

Just like the method chosen has to have some room for flexibility. It must also have space for the team members to take a risk in implementing something new and innovative within the project. 

The innovation must not take more than the resources allocated and the time taken to finish the project. Or at least the method must have room for negotiation. 

5. Budget and Cost

Saving the most important for the last. The project method you choose for a particular project has to help you spend the cost planned for the project. And you must be sticking to the budget allocated by the clients. 

These are the few questions to ask yourself if you find yourself struggling with maintaining the said budget – Could this sudden expense be predetermined? Can I discuss with the client to extend their budget for a particular improvement in the project? Is that improvement worth the money spent?

Remote Project Management

Since most of the population is working remotely, let’s dive deeper to know the remote project management, preferred method, and tips and tools that can help the team stay connected. 

To maximize productivity and speed up your project turnaround time, you must choose a project management method that works best for the remote work culture. 

Kanban Method

The Kanban method is one of the most preferred methods by teams that work remotely on a project. If your team has been already accustomed to using the Agile methodology – it’s going to be a cakewalk. 

Toyota, a Japanese car manufacturing company introduced The Kanban method. The process of Kanban is to break down the tasks into smaller sub-tasks and mapping out the stages (up to the final stage). 

Once task-1 is completed, it is transferred to the next task without any hassle until the end.  

Tools that Make Kanban Possible

There are four major aspects that require tools to make the remote working atmosphere more efficient. 

1. Project Management Tools

Project management tools are used to break down the tasks from start to end, and all your teammates can take a good look at what is happening with the project. 

These are the tools that we suggest, 

2. Communication Tools

The next core area to worry about is communication. There has to be no hindrance when communicating the details of the project with the team as well as the other stakeholders. 

You can use these tools to avoid miscommunication,

3. Time Management Tools

The time management for each task is crucial. Here are some of the most popular time management tools for remote teams. 

4. Documentation Tools

Sharing the documents is the last and final obstacle to cross over. All your teammates must have access to the information related to the project. And it is essential for remote teams to identify the changes made by one person that is looked into by others. 

  • Google Drive
  • Notion

Tips to Manage a Productive Remote Project Team

  1. Maintain a personal checklist to make sure that you have your day well planned. 
  2. Use the communication portal effectively and not share anything trivial and out of context with your teammates. 
  3. Give a proper update to each other during the “Start of the Day” and “End of the Day”. 
  4. Have an internal team meeting before holding any stakeholder meetings. Furnish the points to disclose and to avoid repetition of details. 
  5. Help out a teammate in the crisis but make sure you are on track with your work schedule. 
  6. Be very clear about the feedback and follow through with the teammate regarding the same.
  7. If you are the project team manager, please be clear about your expectations of the project. 
  8. The goals and objectives of the project team must be on par with the client’s expectations.
  9. Invest in remote project management tools – get the best version for your team to work effectively. 
  10.  Finally, trust your teammates with their expertise and with the delegation of work. 

Wrap Up

The organization has to take the time and the energy to know the new forms of project management methodologies. This might conclusively help their team to satisfy the clients according to the quality standard, cost, and benefits. 

You must give clarity to the client about the process in which you take the project forward, which will give them a sense of satisfaction and trust. 

Make sure your team learns the latest methodologies, which would be the core investment that you do for the success of your business.

 
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