PMO 101: Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

In order to better understand a PMO (Project Management Office), it is important to have knowledge of the top Project Management methodologies.

What Is a Project Management Methodology?

Simply put, a project management methodology is a set of principles, tools and techniques that are used to plan, execute and manage projects. Project management methodologies help project managers lead team members and manage work while facilitating team collaboration.

There are many different project management methodologies, and they all have pros and cons. Some of them work better in certain industries or projects. Therefore, knowing more about project management methodologies will enable you to decide which one works best for you, in your particular project and industry.

The most popular project management methodologies are applied in sectors such as software development, R&D and product development.

Top 7 Project Management Methodologies

Following is a quick overview of the most commonly used project management methods that you can use.

Waterfall Methodology

This is the most straightforward and linear of all the project management methods. It is also the most traditional approach. The Waterfall methodology is a process in which the phases of the project flow downward. The waterfall model requires that you move from one project phase to another only once that phase has been successfully completed.

When to use it: The Waterfall approach is great for manufacturing and construction projects which are highly structured, and when it’s too expensive to pivot or change anything afterwards. In addition, the waterfall method makes use of Gantt charts for planning and scheduling.

Agile Methodology

Agile is fast and flexible, unlike waterfall project management. In summary, it is an evolving and collaborative way to self-organize across teams. When implementing the Agile methodology, project planning and work management are adaptive, evolutionary in development, and seeking early delivery. In addition, it is always open to change if that leads to process improvement.

Moreover, the agile methodology offers project teams a dynamic way to work and collaborate. That is why it is a very popular project management methodology for product and software development.

When to Use It: The practice originated in software development and works well in that culture. Agile has been applied to non-software products that seek to drive forward with innovation and have a level of uncertainty, for example computers, motor vehicles, medical devices, food, clothing, music and more. It is also used in other types of projects that need a more responsive and fast-paced production schedule, such as marketing.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum is a short “sprint” approach to managing projects. The scrum methodology is ideal for teams of no more than 10 people and often is wedded to two-week cycles with short daily meetings, known as daily scrum meetings. It’s led by a scrum master. Scrum mostly works within an agile project management framework. However, there have been attempts to scale Scrum to fit larger organizations.

When to Use It: Like agile, the scrum methodology has been used predominantly in software development. However, supporters note it is applicable across any industry or business, including retail logistics, event planning or any project that requires some flexibility. It does require strict scrum roles, however.

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)

This is the granddaddy of methodologies. The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a not-for-profit membership association, project management certification and standards organization.

This organization produces a book called the “project management body of knowledge” or commonly known as PMBOK. The PMBOK provides definitions and guidelines for project planning, scheduling, executing and controlling. For example, the project management process groups describe the project life cycle, while the 10 project management knowledge areas explain how to manage a project.

When To Use It: Almost any project can benefit from PMBOK, as all projects big and small are going to go through the various stages outlined in the book. It’s a great way to keep everyone on the same page, so to speak, and offers a clear definition of how a project is managed.

The Project Management Institute it’s also the organization that grants the PMP certification, which is the gold standard among project managers. It is recognized all over the world. PMBOK is a great traditional framework to run a project.

Kanban Methodology

The Kanban methodology is a visual approach to project management. The name literally means billboard in Japanese. It helps manage workflow by placing tasks on a Kanban board where workflow and progress is clear to all team members.

The Kanban methodology helps reduce inefficiencies and is a great project management tool for many purposes such as lean manufacturing or agile projects.

With the dawn of visual planning boards in software in our era, like Trello, there are now new uses for Kanban tools and Kanban methods. Agile teams use Kanban boards for story-boarding user stories and for backlog planning in software development.

When to Use It: Initially developed for manufacturing and for software teams, the Kanban method has since expanded and has been used in human resources, marketing, organizational strategy, executive process and accounts receivable and payable. Almost anyone can plan with Kanban boards, adding cards to represent project phases, task deadlines, people, ideas and more. Kanban software makes this methodology very accessible.

Lean Methodology

Lean project management is a way to cut waste and thereby increase value in projects and manufacturing processes. Moreover, lean focuses on eliminating waste from key processes to continuously be impacting positively on the value stream. It does this by optimizing separate technologies, assets and verticals.

Lean project management goes back to Henry Ford and his flow production for automating the process of building cars. Toyota extended their idea beyond manufacturing to the continuous improvement of the product development process.

Today, software development teams run lean processes to focus on end-user feedback and increased value, which means Lean methodology has taken on a new meaning, particularly with the publishing of Lean Startup, by Eric Ries, who advocates for rapid prototyping, end-user feedback and early and rapid product delivery.

When to Use It: Lean project management was first developed by Toyota and is obviously a great methodology for manufacturing. In fact, it’s also referred to as lean manufacturing, but it has been adopted by construction and education industries, among others in the manufacturing space and countless startups and software development firms looking to drive products focused on the end-user.

PRINCE2

PRINCE2 stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments and is a structured certified methodology. It was initially created by the UK government for IT projects. PRINCE2 is not like other traditional methods like waterfall, in that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but follows seven principles, themes and procedures.

When the UK government adopted standards for IT systems in 1989, they called in PRINCE. PRINCE2 came about in 1996 as a more general project management method. It is now a popular project management methodology throughout all UK governmental agencies and the United Nations.

When to Use It: Seeing that it has been adopted by many other countries’ governments, PRINCE2 is not always suitable for smaller projects.

In Summary

There are many methodologies to manage projects. But they all share one thing in common: getting deliverables done on time and within budget.

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