Best Project Management Methodologies

As an overview, irrespective of the methodology used, a Project will normally consist of 4 -5 process groups, and a control system

Best Project Management Methodologies

Best Project Management Methodologies

5 Processes Involved In Project Management

#1 Initiation

This stage should determine the nature & scope of the project, and include an understanding of the business environment in which it will operate, and what controls will be incorporated. Documents are roduced such as Project Charter, which will aim to answer the question – “What are we trying to do?”

#2 Planning

Planning should be done to the appropriate level of detail (too little = higher risk; too much = higher cost). Time, cost, resources & risk management should be planned. This will then form part of the project contract, used to gain formal approval from the client to begin work.

#3 Execution

For this stage, people & resources are coordinated, project activities will be performed, and deliverables will be produced as per plan

#4 Monitoring and Controlling

Identification of risks/issues, measurement of activities against the plan (i.e. where the project should be), taking corrective actions for risks and issues, management of changes using change control process.

#5 Closing

Formal project closure and sign off needs to be done, otherwise, the project could continue to use up business resources. This stage involves finishing the project activities, disbanding / redeployment of the project team members, sign-off with the customer. A Project Closure Report will be prepared to then measure success against the Business Case, and a Lessons Learned Report will be prepared for the reference and benefit of the overall business, and any future project implementations.

Project Control

This is what keeps the project on track, on time, and in budget throughout the Project Life Cycle. The project controls basically help steer the project to it’s destination, and identify where the data will come from and what course adjustments / corrective action are necessary through the project. The level of control is important to get right, as too little control can present a high level of risk, and too much control can result in increased project cost

Project Management Methodologies

PRINCE2 – process based approach based on 8 high level processes:

  • Directing a Project
  • Starting Up a Project
  • Initiating a Project
  • Managing Stage Boundaries
  • Controlling a Stage
  • Managing Product Delivery
  • Closing a Project
  • Planning

#1 Agile

Very much the “New Kid on the Block” in terms of Project Management methodologies, and growing in use, mainly in the Software Development arena. It’s key features are short-term delivery cycles, delivery of a working product, fixed time & cost, variable scope, and a dynamic team culture – some other methods which you may come across, which could also fall under the category of an Agile Project Methodology are:

#2 Scrum

The goal is to improve team productivity and output by removing all progress blockers (this function would be performed by the role of Scrum Master)

#3 DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Model)

This is really the predecessor to Agile, with the focus being on involvement of the end user during the Project Life Cycle

#4 Adaptive Project Framework

Project scope is variable, with the time & cost elements fixed. The scope of the project is adjusted to maximise business value

#5 XP (Extreme Programming)

A Software Development methodology intended to improve quality and responsiveness to changing client requirements – stresses customer satisfaction.

#6 FDD (Feature Driven Development)

Based on simple, well-defined processes, feature-driven delivery cycles, and uses an iterative / incremental development process.

#7 Crystal Methods

Processes are a low priority, with the focus being on communication, team member skills, people & team interaction

#8 RAD (Rapid Application Development)

As the name suggests, a methodology focused on speed, with the priority given to prototyping and iterative development in favour of extensive planning.  Aim is to develop products fast and of high quality. A workshop method is used for requirements gathering, and prototyping is utilised to clarify requirements.

#9 JAD (Joint Application Development)

With this methodology, the client will be involved from early stages right through the Project Life Cycle / Development process

#10 LPD (Lean Product Development)

Tends to be used when a project may have multiple and long developments and production cycles, and high costs associated with production and development phases (e.g. car/airplane development & manufacture)

#11 SDLC (Systems Development Life Cycle)

This methodology operates under strict guidelines and is heavy on documentation. Using this, 2 or more other project management methodologies can be combined to give the best outcome. Tends to be used in Systems / Software / Hardware Engineering.

#12 Waterfall (traditional approach)

The product goes through a sequential design process, with fixed phases, linear timelines, and upfront planning. This methodology originated in the construction industry where post-delivery changes can be difficult or very costly, and in the absence of an alternative, it was then adapted for use in software development.  Waterfall in it’s purest form is considered no longer capable of addressing modern software development requirements due to

The product goes through a sequential design process, with fixed phases, linear timelines, and upfront planning. This methodology originated in the construction industry where post-delivery changes can be difficult or very costly, and in the absence of an alternative, it was then adapted for use in software development.  Waterfall in it’s purest form is considered no longer capable of addressing modern software development requirements due to it’s inflexibility and inherent inability to take change onboard. It may still be used outside of the software industry, but is fading in popularity in favour of more flexible approaches (Spiral is an extended version of the Waterfall methodology which incorporates prototyping, and tends to be used for larger projects)

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) – not strictly a Project Management Methodology, but if you’re in IT you’re highly likely to come across ITIL, as it is a collection of best practice in regard to Service Management, and is widely used all over the world. So you should at least be aware of it.

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