Popular Project Management Methodologies
Running a project or application development life cycle is a resource intensive, challenging, and a costly undertaking for a business. The possibility of change, or disruption during a project lifecycle could mean the difference between its success and failure. Hence, following the right approach to the project is of paramount importance to be on track and prevent such damaging situations to arise. In the project management world that approach is known as a methodology.
Advancement in digital technology and business processes have the paved way for a range of project management methodologies to be introduced in the industry. These methodologies are applicable in a range of industries but are most frequently discussed under software project management. There are many approaches for project managers to take, but little is known about them. So, we’ve put together a list of the most popular methodologies used in IT project management. So you know more about each one and remember to select one for your next project.
What is a Project Management Methodology?
Before defining the methodology, let’s clear out what project management is. Basically, it is a process that involves carrying a team towards a unified project goal, with help of project management tools within the given constraints of time, scope and budget.
The methodology on the other hand is the specific approach under the project management process that is used to guide the way on how a team function by the hands of a project manager. It’s basically the structure to manage a project in the most efficient way possible.
Why are there so many different Methodologies?
No two businesses operate in a single fashion, and each business works as per its own mission, principals and resources. Considering that, when any company pursues a new project, each company has a different set of requirements depending on their business capacity and willingness. A project management methodology is subject to change depending on those business requirements and other constraints that favour the use of one over the other. In order to cater to changing needs of various customers from different industries, different methodologies exist. Because there is no one-size-fits all approach unless you have the right technology partner.
Most Popular Project Management Methodologies Right Now
Probably the oldest approach amongst the lot, is a heavily requirement-based approach that follows a sequential path to the project development cycle. By sequence we can imagine a staircase that comes down, each step represents a specific stage in the methodology. Where one stage has to be completed before proceeding with the next stage, chances of correction being limited to only when the concerned stage comes.
As a response to the dissatisfaction faced with the linear approach to development, especially when complex projects are pursued, saw the emergence of Agile Software Development. Opposite of Waterfall, Agile focuses on fast and innovative development practices that are acceptable to changing requirements at any stage of the development cycle. There are no top-heavy requirements, rather requirements are incorporated incrementally as the project progresses. Focusing on individuals and their satisfaction being a priority.
A methodology often practiced under the agile development format. In scrum, work is broken down into short cycles known as ‘Sprints’, which last 1 to 2 weeks each in general. Sprints are handled by a ‘Scrum Master’ working under a project manager. The aim of SCRUM is to divide work between smaller teams, who can then each work towards a faster development cycle for increased efficiency.
Kanban is a project management methodology that focuses on lean principles and improves work across human systems. The primary aim is to first visualize the workflow and then prioritize accordingly while continuously evaluating for improvement opportunities. Kanban focuses on managing available work with existing capacity and to eliminate any bottlenecks.
Lean is a project management methodology that focuses on streamlining and eliminating out all possible waste without compromising on the overall efficiency of a system. Lean focuses on doing more with less and breaking down work into smaller components, which can then be sorted and identified based on their vital contribution towards the system’s optimal functioning. If a system can function sound without such elements, it will be eliminated
A combination of two project management methodologies – SCRUM and Kanban. It combines the lean principles in addition to the visualizing factor of Kanban with the ‘Sprint-based’ approach to work of SCRUM. Not only do you get work done faster, but the actual workflow processes are visualized for increased visibility.
XP Extreme Programming
A rather uncommon PM methodology that does not see much attention. But in fact is used to create extremely high quality software where chances of problems are intolerable. The methodology aims to give importance to adaptability then predictability.
Even though not exactly a methodology, because of the market significance of the Project Management Institute, the PMBOK is considered as the go to guide for project managers handling complex modern-day projects around the world.