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What are Project Management Methodologies

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Finding the project management approaches that work best for you and your team is the next step after deciding you want to be a project manager.

It can be a little intimidating to navigate the landscape of project management approaches.

There are a plethora of project management approaches available, regardless of whether you have a formal qualification or are learning the profession through experience. Additionally, they frequently have their own set of principles, rules, lists, and acronyms.

Finding the best project management approach for your project shouldn’t be difficult, in our opinion. To assist you in deciding the techniques, tenets, and strategies to employ for each team and project, we’ve put together this list of various project management methodologies.

What is a project management methodology?

Even when you use practical tools like project templates to repeat your previous successes, no two projects are ever exactly alike.

There is no one-size-fits-all way for managing projects, which makes sense when you consider the various objectives, KPIs, and production techniques of various types of teams as well as industries.

For one kind of team, what works well could be a complete disaster.

For instance, a lot of software developers began to notice that traditional project management techniques were hurting rather than helping their workflows and having a bad impact on their performance and outcomes.

As a result, software teams started to create a brand-new kind of project management approach that was created to solve their specific issues.

Within a short period of time, other groups and sectors began to modify these novel project management techniques to meet their own requirements and worries. And so it goes, different project management approaches are repurposed, adjusted for various sectors, and modified to fit particular use cases.

There are many different project management approaches remaining for us to pick from. How do you determine which project management technique—or techniques, plural—is best for you and your group?

How do you choose the right project management methodology?

Which project management approach is best for your project, team, and organization will depend on a variety of criteria. Here is a quick explanation of some of the main factors that can assist you in making your decision:

Budget and Cost: What kind of budget are you dealing with, from $ to $$$? Is there flexibility there to adjust it if necessary, or must it remain within these predetermined boundaries?

Team size: Who is involved and in what number? How many participants? Is your team comparatively small and self-organizing, or is it larger and requires stricter delegation?

Ability to take risks: Does this project have a significant impact and require careful management in order to produce Very Serious Results? Or is it a more manageable endeavor with a little more room for experimentation?

Flexibility: Is it possible for the project’s scope to vary as it progresses? What about the completed item?

Timeline: How long will it take to complete the brief? Regardless of how long it takes, is a beautiful finished product more essential to you than a speedy turnaround?

Collaboration between clients and stakeholders: To what extent do they need or want to be involved? How much involvement do you require or desire from them?

The project management methodologies list

In order to aid you in understanding the fundamentals, we have put together this list of project management approaches.

While not exhaustive, our goal is to give you a general overview of some of the available techniques so you can see what’s available and decide which one could be a suitable fit for your specific projects.

If you want to get right to the point, we’ve added a short list with a breakdown of which project management techniques are frequently employed in which industries at the conclusion of this piece.)

Ready? Okay! Let’s begin straight away.

1.     Waterfall methodology

The Waterfall method is a traditional approach to project management. In it, tasks and phases are completed in a linear, sequential manner, and each stage of the project must be completed before the next begins.

The stages of Waterfall project management generally follow this sequence:

  • Requirements
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Testing
  • Deployment & maintenance

Progress flows in one direction, like a real waterfall.

Also like a real waterfall, though, this can quickly get dangerous. Since everything is mapped out at the beginning, there’s a lot of room for error if expectations don’t match up with reality. And there’s no going back to a previous stage once it’s completed (just imagine trying to swim against a waterfall — not fun).

Consider using this project management approach if:

Your project’s final aim has been identified explicitly and won’t alter.

The stakeholders already know (and won’t change) exactly what they want.

Your project will not change and is consistent and foreseeable.

You work in a sector that is heavily regulated and requires considerable project tracking or documentation.

It may be necessary to add new team members midway through the project and quickly bring them up to speed.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

The scope of your project might alter.

Before you begin, you don’t fully understand all the criteria.

Continuous testing is required, or you must adjust as input comes in.


2. Agile methodology

Growing dissatisfaction with the traditional project management approaches’ linear approach led to the development of the agile project management methodology.

The focus started to shift to more iterative models that allowed teams to revise their project as needed during the process instead of having to wait until the end to review and amend due to frustration with the limitations of project management methods that couldn’t adapt with a project as it progressed.

Scrum, Kanban, and lean are just a few of the particular sub-frameworks and approaches that the idea of agile project management has inspired. What do they all share, though? Agile project management approaches’ guiding principles are:

  • It involves teamwork.
  • It happens quickly.
  • It is open to change motivated by data.

Because of this, agile project management approaches typically feature brief work periods with regular testing, appraisal, and modification.

All of the work that needs to be done is typically added to a backlog that teams may work through in each phase or cycle. Project managers or product owner’s priorities the backlog so that teams know what to concentrate on first.

Consider using this project management approach if:

  • The scope of your project might alter.
  • At first, you’re unsure of what the answer will entail.
  • You must move rapidly, and seeing rapid progress is more vital than getting everything right.
  • Every step of the process calls for the involvement of your clients or stakeholders.

You shouldn’t use this project management methodology if:

  • A lot of documentation is required, for instance, if you plan to hire new employees while the project is still in progress.
  • You must be absolutely clear from the start about what the deliverable will look like if you want it to be predictable.
  • You cannot afford for your project to change while it is underway.
  • You lack self-motivated individuals.
  • You need to keep track of any deliverables that have severe deadlines.

3. Scrum methodology

A type of agile project management is scrum. Instead of considering it a project management methodology in and of itself, think of it rather as a framework.

Work is divided into brief periods called “sprints,” which typically span between one and two weeks, in Scrum. For each sprint iteration, work is pulled from the backlog (see: Agile project management, above).

For the course of the sprint, small teams are managed by a Scrum Master (who is distinct from the project manager), after which they evaluate their performance in a “sprint retrospective” and make any required adjustments before beginning the following sprint.

Consider using this project management approach if:

You’re always trying to get better.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You don’t have the team’s whole support necessary to make it work.


4.Kanban methodology

Another technique used in agile project management is Kanban.

The term “Kanban,” which has its roots in the manufacturing sector, now refers to a framework in which tasks are visually depicted as they move between columns on a Kanban board. As the team is able, work is continuously taken from the predetermined backlog and transferred through the columns on the board, each of which represents a stage of the procedure.

Kanban is excellent for providing everyone with a quick visual snapshot of where each item of work is at any given moment. (Kanban boards can be used for recruiting and recruitment as well as your content marketing approach.)

Additionally, it enables you to spot potential bottlenecks; for example, if one of your columns starts to clog, you’ll be aware that that step in your process needs to be looked at.

Work in progress (WIP) restrictions are frequently utilized as a component of agile project management methodologies. You are only allowed to have a specific number of tasks in each column due to work in progress constraints, which limit the number of tasks that are active at any given time.

This keeps your staff from dividing their attention among too many duties and guarantees that they can perform more effectively by concentrating on each one separately.

Consider using this project management approach if:

You’re trying to find a visual depiction of the development of your project.

You desire quick status updates.

So that your team can remain focused, you should promote the use of WIP limitations.

You favour working continuously on a “pull” basis.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

Your procedure is extremely intricate or involves many steps.

Instead of a pull system, you prefer a push system.

5. Scrumban methodology

It provides an answer to the age-old query, “What would happen if scrum and Kanban had a child?”

Scrumban is a hybrid agile project management approach that combines the best features of both Kanban and scrum.

The fundamental advantage of the scrumban methodology is that it enables teams to continually “pull” from the backlog according to their capacity, as opposed to having to choose which item from the backlog to work on at the beginning of each sprint as you would in a “classic” scrum framework (like they would in a Kanban framework).

Additionally, you can maintain a continuous flow while including project planning, reviews, and retrospectives when necessary by employing work-in-progress restrictions (from Kanban) during your sprint cycle (from scrum).

Consider using this project management approach if:

Have you ever thought, “I hope those two crazy kids would get together,” as you regarded scrum and Kanban?

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

Have you ever had the sentimental idea as you longingly gazed out the window, “Oh, scrum is scrum, and Kanban is Kanban, and never the twain shall meet?”

6. eXtreme programming (XP) methodology

Another type of agile project management that was created for software development is the eXtreme Programming (XP) technique.

It places a strong emphasis on teamwork and collaboration between management, clients, and developers, with teams taking care of themselves. Teams should adhere to a clear set of guidelines based on its five core values: simplicity, communication (face-to-face interaction is recommended), feedback, respect, and courage.

Consider using this project management approach if:

You want to encourage cooperation and teamwork.

Your crew is modest and based nearby.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You disregard the law.

Your crew is dispersed among various locations and time zones.

7. Adaptive project framework (APF) methodology

A sort of agile project management approach that was created with the inevitability of change in mind is the adaptive project framework (APF), sometimes referred to as adaptive project management (APM).

The adaptive project framework is aware that, in the words of John Steinbeck, even the best-laid plans of mice and men frequently fail. The ability of teams to adjust to change is therefore a core requirement of APF.

Teams must therefore make an effort to foresee risks and be ready for the unexpected by employing adaptive project framework methodologies. They must be aware of the fact that important factors are always changing and be able to continually reevaluate outcomes and choices while keeping these shifting factors in mind.

This calls for frequent contact with all stakeholders and the capacity to work cooperatively, just like other agile project management approaches.

Consider using this project management approach if:

You are aware of your ultimate objectives (in project management, you have defined your Conditions of Satisfaction; in Beastie Boys terminology, you are crystal clear about what you want).

You shouldn’t use this project management methodology if:

You require consistency.

You lack the resources necessary to address the possible drawbacks of flexibility (e.g. scope creep, rework, misuse of time).

8.Lean methodology

Another project management approach with manufacturing roots is lean (and specifically the Toyota Production System). To maximize value and reduce waste, you must integrate lean principles into your project management processes.

This currently applies to various wasteful activities in the project management process, but it originally referred to eliminating physical waste in the manufacturing process. The 3Ms, or muda, mura, and muri, are these.

Muda (wastefulness) uses resources without providing the client with additional value.

Mura (unevenness) happens when an area of your business has overproduction, which puts all of your other areas out of balance and results in excess inventory (wasted resources!) or inefficient operations (also wasted resources).

When resources, such as people and equipment, are overworked, it is called muri (overburden) and can frequently result in malfunctions in both people and machines.

In order to improve workflow efficiency, a project manager can cut down on this kind of waste by applying the fundamentals of lean manufacturing.

Consider using this project management approach if:

You’re searching for a set of guidelines that will enable you to eliminate waste and improve your flow.

You’re constantly looking for methods to enhance and benefit the customer.

Ultimately, you want to reduce costs.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You cannot afford to experience supply issues (such as not having enough goods on hand) or to lose margin for mistake.

9. Critical path method

Your project’s important tasks and their dependencies can be identified and scheduled using the critical path approach, sometimes referred to as critical path analysis.

That implies that you must:

Determine all the necessary actions you must do to complete your project’s objective.

Calculate the time each of those jobs will require (bearing in mind that certain tasks will need to be completed before others can be started)

Utilize all of that data to plan the “critical path” you’ll need to follow to complete the project as soon as feasible without skipping any essential tasks.

Your project’s timeline will be determined by the longest string of crucial tasks, which we’ll refer to as your critical path.

There will be checkpoints along the way that you must reach to know when one set of duties (or phase) is finished and you can move on to the next.

Depending on the complexity of your project, there are many different ways to illustrate the critical path, including flow diagrams and Gantt charts.

Consider using this project management approach if:

Your undertaking is extensive and intricate.

Your project is dependent on many other things.

You’re trying to see how the jobs will be completed.

To more effectively deploy your resources, you must decide which jobs are most crucial. 

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You don’t require anything that is very complicated.

You’re not sure of the deadlines, times, or lengths.

You need room to adapt your project.

10.Critical chain project management

The critical chain project management (CCPM) method expands on the critical path method (CPM).

The critical path technique specifies the amount of time required to complete each key action from the start of the project to the finish, but when it comes time to actually implement it, it can frequently be, well, unrealistic.

By giving your project’s human components, such as delays and resource problems, a little extra time, critical chain project management handles such problems.

In critical chain project management, you have a few built-in buffers that your critical chain can use without causing the rest of the project to fall off course. This prevents your entire project from having to be derailed simply because life happens.

Consider using this project management approach if:

Although the critical route method seems appealing, you prefer something a little more grounded in reality.

To account for a buffer, you were already overestimating task durations in CPM; now, you want more precise information on how long the work actually takes in comparison to your forecasts.

You shouldn’t use this project management methodology if:

You believe that buffers merely serve as a safety net for those who initially made poor planning decisions.

There could be no potential for error.

11.New product introduction (NPI)

When introducing a new product, new product introduction is an excellent project management methodology to use.

The new product introduction process, also referred to as new product development (NPD), includes all the steps necessary to define, create, and launch a new (or upgraded) product.

The project tracks a single product from conception to completion. The stages of this process, known as a stage-gate process, might differ from one organisation to the next but typically contain the following:

Specifying the product and project’s parameters

Assessing the viability

The creation of the prototype

Validating the prototype through analysis and testing

Larger-scale production of the good

Assessing the product’s market performance after launch

Consider using this project management approach if:

You’re launching a brand-new or enhanced product.

You’re concentrating on a single item.

From the start, you should encourage cross-functional and key stakeholder alignment.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You aren’t introducing a novel or enhanced product to the market.

You’re trying to find a more agile way of developing products (as NPI is usually sequential rather than iterative).

12. Package enabled reengineering (PER)

A project management technique called package enabled reengineering (PER) tries to assist firms in redesigning their products or processes from scratch. It focuses on accelerating and strategically positioning corporate transitions, whether through process reform or personnel restructuring.

Consider using this project management approach if:

Your company requires a makeover.

You require a new viewpoint on your processes or goods.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You are not attempting to make an existing system better.


13. Outcome mapping

A system for monitoring project progress called outcome mapping was created by the International Development Research Center (IDRC). It varies from the other project management approaches on this list in that it places more emphasis on changing long-lasting behavioral patterns than it does on measurable deliverables.

The lengthy planning phase of outcome mapping is followed by a time of record-keeping to monitor the outcomes.

Consider using this project management approach if:

Instead of providing deliverables, your initiative aims to alter behavior.

Your initiative has to do with social change and transformation (e.g. in the fields of international development, charity, communications, research).

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

In your project, final products are more important than behavioral results.

14. Six Sigma

Six Sigma comes in a variety of flavors, including Lean Six Sigma and Agile Sigma, but at its core, it is a business technique that strives to remove errors and reduce variation through the use of its established methodologies.

Existing processes can be optimized and improved, and new processes can be developed using Six Sigma techniques.

The Six Sigma DMAIC process, which stands for the project phases, can be used to enhance business operations. Which stands for the phases in the project methodology: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.

To create new processes or products, you can use the Six Sigma DMADV process: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify.

Six Sigma methodologies can be used in conjunction with many other project management methodologies, such as Lean and Agile, as a set of principles and procedures (or even as a “philosophy” in some cases).

Consider using this project management approach if:

That’re seeking for a set of values and tenets you can apply to practically every endeavour and group of people.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You don’t have a lot of money to spend on training because getting trained and certified might be costly. Instead of a list of rules, you’re searching for a clearly defined procedure for a particular project.


The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMI’s PMBOK), published by the Project Management Institute, isn’t a project management technique in and of itself. However, it is a best practices manual that serves as the foundation for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, one of the most prestigious awards in project management.

As a result, you may utilize the PMBOK as an industry-recognized set of guiding principles to make sure that your projects, which may involve all kinds of teams and organizations, adhere to best practices and satisfy the high standards defined by the PMI.

Consider using this project management approach if:

You are a PMP or desire to be one.

You should keep abreast of best practices and industry standards.

You reside in a region where the PMP is the required project management credential (such as the US).

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

Instead of using general (but beneficial) project management knowledge, you need a strong project management methodology to map your project.

16. PRINCE2 methodology

A project management approach and certification called PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) attempts to provide project managers with knowledge of best practices and procedures.

It is a good option for project managers wishing to obtain both a methodological foundation and a qualification because, unlike the PMP certification, it does not call for a number of prerequisites.

PRINCE2 is an independent methodology, in contrast to the PMP. When adopting PRINCE2, it is governed by seven principles, which in turn specify the seven processes a project manager must apply to each project.

Consider using this project management approach if:

You’re trying to get an advantage by getting a certification.

You reside in a region where PRINCE2 is accepted as the minimum project management credential (such as the UK).

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You shouldn’t make a commitment to complete certification.

Your projects do not correspond to the seven-step methodology.

The process phases end up being so heavily customized (or flat-out ignored) that it becomes PINO, or “PRINCE in name only.”


16. Rapid application development (RAD) methodology

A sort of agile project management methodology called rapid application development (RAD) promises to accelerate software development.

It favors user feedback over rigid planning and requirements documentation by using rapid prototype releases and iterations to obtain feedback in a short amount of time.

Consider using this project management approach if:

Even if it isn’t flawless, you want to be able to provide customers, clients, and stakeholders with a functional model as soon as possible.

You should produce several prototypes and collaborate with key players to select the best one.

It’s crucial to move quickly.

You should promote code reuse.

Using this project management approach might not be a good idea if:

You lack a knowledgeable team.

Your clients or stakeholders lack the time or ability to provide feedback within the required deadlines for such a collaborative process.

You’ve got a sizable team.

You would much rather have a thorough specification that lists both functional and non-functional needs.

Choosing the right project management methodology

Your project can be improved with the support of the best project management technique, which also enables the project manager to get the most from each team.

There is a project management technique for every team, whether you choose the agile methods favored in IT project management or the more conventional waterfall project management and critical path methodology utilized in construction and manufacturing.

However, whichever methodology you choose, you’ll need a collaborative, adaptable, and simple-to-use project management solution to help you along the way.

By selecting team management software like Teamwork that supports various techniques, rather than locking you into just one, you provide each team in your business the freedom to operate however they see fit without compromising functionality or complexity.

Regardless of how you choose to work, Teamwork enables your group to duplicate best practice’s, maintain compliance and uniformity, and continuously enhance processes.

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