Project Management Methodologies
Methodologies contain guiding processes for those who are doing project management. The true definition is that methodologies are not tool specific, however in today’s software-reliant world the reality is that the methodology and the organization’s project management software tool are often heavily intertwined.
There are a number of approaches for managing project activities including lean, iterative, incremental, and
Regardless of the methodology employed, careful consideration must be given to the overall project objectives, timeline, and cost, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all participants and stakeholders.
Below are a few of the project management methodologies popular today.
refer to an iterative, incremental method of managing the design and build activities for engineering, information technology, and other business areas that aims to provide new product or service development in a highly flexible and interactive manner; an example is its application in Scrum, an original form of agile software development
Instead of building the project all together, the development is broken up into sprints with small deliverables.
Waterfall methodology is the one that is the most used across all industries, and it is very common in software development and construction. There are many versions of the waterfall method, but the original one included these high-level phases:
- Requirements specification
- Construction (AKA or coding)
- Testing and debugging (AKA Validation)
Scrum (not an acronym, but a reference to rugby)
Scrum is a type of Agile methodology that focuses around 30-day “sprints” and monthly “scrum sessions” where project deliverables are broken down into 30-day intervals. When teams switch to scrum, those previously paralyzed by heavy “process” or difficulty in prioritizing work, can see great gains in productivity.
In scrum, there is no title of project manager. Instead there is a “Scrum Master” whose role is to facilitate the daily project communications and tackle any distractions that are trying to interfere with team members ability to do work on the project.
Scrum is applicable only in certain types of environments – mainly those with co-located, 100% dedicated team members (not working of multiple projects), with unlimited support for the project team (not a heavily
constrained time and materials budget).
RAD (rapid applications development)
Mostly used in software development, RAD calls for the interactive use of structured techniques and prototyping to define user’s requirements and design the final system. This has a cycle of models then prototypes over and over in the process.
Some criticism of this methodology claims that the short interactions don’t allow the complex or deep functionality to be thoroughly developed. However with newer, light applications, such as development for Web 2.0 it may be coming back into favor.
NPI (New Product Introduction)
NPI is not really a full project management methodology, because it does not include all of the required project management steps that are needed for project success (lacking such things as development of a WBS), but it still is the process that many organizations follow for their product-related projects.
PER (packaged enable re-engineering)
Not a commonly referenced methodology today, but one worth noting because of its familiarity in the service and business traditional approach to project management.
PRINCE2 is both a methodology and a de facto standard used extensively by the UK Government and is widely recognized and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. This makes it quite different from the Project Management Institute’s publication the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is not a methodology but rather a broad collection of good practices.
PRINCE2 is a structured approach to project management released in 1996 as a generic project management method. It combines the original PROMPT methodology (which evolved into the PRINCE methodology) with IBM’s MITP (managing the implementation of the total project) methodology. PRINCE2 provides a method for managing projects within a clearly defined framework.
PRINCE2 focuses on the definition and delivery of products, in particular their quality requirements. As such, it defines a successful project as being output-oriented (not activity- or task-oriented) through creating an agreed set of products that define the scope of the project and provides the basis for planning and control, that is, how then to coordinate people and activities, how to design and supervise product delivery, and what to do if products and therefore the scope of the project has to be adjusted if it does not develop as planned.
In the method, each process is specified with its key inputs and outputs and with specific goals and activities to be carried out to deliver a project’s outcomes as defined by its Business Case. This allows for continuous assessment and adjustment when deviation from the Business Case is required.
PRINCE2 provides a common language for all participants in the project. The governance framework of PRINCE2 – its roles and responsibilities – are fully described and require tailoring to suit the complexity of the project and skills of the organisation.
The Kanban project work is displayed on a board (often using stickies that move across a white board from left to right). The benefit is the visual display of what is coming up next and it makes it easy to reprioritize. Kanban charts usually consist of general categories of projects or tasks “in queue”, “in progress”, and “recently completed”.
When an executive comes in to “drop off work” they can easily be shown what work is going on and what is coming up and how dumping something new in will affect the entire group.
This works particularly well for small co-located project teams. Many individuals also promote the use of personal Kanban boards.
Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven product and process-improvement methodology that was originally developed by Motorola. The idea was to improve processes by eliminating defects, which are defined as “nonconformity of a product or service to its specifications.” Those of us in project management generally do not think of it as a project management methodology.
The process steps go by the acronym DMAIC-S, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control, and when it is done to Synergize through the organization.
This is part of the Six Sigma methodology, but it also is often used as a stand-alone method. DMAIC (an abbreviation for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) refers to a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing and stabilizing business processes and designs. It and can be used as the framework for improvement projects outside of Six Sigma. The framework is described briefly here:
Define – who are the customers and what are their needs. Define the project purpose and scope. Define the current process and what customer wants from it.
Measure – how is the process performing and how is it measured. Gather data on how well the current process performs in meeting customer needs
Analyze – what are the most important causes of problems. Identify root causes of performance gaps and confirm with data.
Improve- how do we remove the causes of problems? Plan, test, and implement solutions that eliminate root causes (use data to evaluate both the solutions and plans used to carry them out).
Control – how can we maintain the improvements? Maintain the gains by standardizing work methods or processes. Anticipate future improvements and preserve the lessons from this effort.
Outcome mapping consists of two phases: a design phase and a record-keeping phase. During the design phase, project leaders identify metrics in terms of which records will be kept. It is most commonly used in charitable projects in developing countries funded by large donors. Outcome mapping was designed by the grant-making organization International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
It differs from traditional metrics in that it does not focus on measuring deliverables. It focuses on behavioral change exhibited by secondary beneficiaries.
Since outcome mapping is more concerned about contribution than attribution, it is unlikely to be utilized in most projects.
Extreme project management
Planning and feedback loops in Extreme programming (XP) with the time frames of the multiple loops.
In critical studies of project management it has been noted that several PERT based models are not well suited for the multi-project company environment of today Most of them are aimed at very large-scale, one-time, non-routine projects, and currently all kinds of management are expressed in terms of projects.
Using complex models for “projects” (or rather “tasks”) spanning a few weeks has been proven to cause unnecessary costs and low maneuverability in several cases The generalization of Extreme Programming to other kinds of projects is extreme project management, which may be used in combination with the process modeling and management principles of human interaction management.