Are You Applying Right Project Management Methodolgy - PM 360 Consulting
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Are You Applying Right Project Management Methodolgy

Are You Applying Right Project Management Methodolgy

 Project Management Methodologies Should You Use?

With approximately 8,462 project management methodologies to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you and your team? Find the best approach for your project with our handy guide to popular PM methodologies.

Once you’ve decided you want to become a project manager, the next step is to figure out which project management methodologies are right for you and your team.

The landscape of project management methodologies can seem a bit overwhelming. Whether you have a formal project management certification or you’re learning to become a project manager from experience, there’s an absolute smorgasbord of project methodologies to choose from. And they often come with their own rules, lists, principles, and endless acronyms. We believe that finding the right project management methodology to manage your work shouldn’t be rocket science. So we’ve compiled this list of different project management methodologies to help you figure out which methods, principles and approaches you can use for each team and project.


What is a Project Management Methodology?


A project management methodology is a set of principles and practices that guide you in organizing your projects to ensure their optimum performance. A project management methodology is a set of principles and practices that guide you in organizing your projects to ensure their optimum performance. Huh? Basically, it’s a framework that helps you to manage your project in the best way possible.


Project management is so important to organizations and teams, but in order for it to be really effective, you need to make sure you’re correctly mapping your project management methodology to your team type, project, organization, and goals.

Why are there so Many Different Project Management Methodologies?

No two projects are exactly the same (even when you’re using handy features like project templates to replicate your past successes).

And when you factor in the different goals, KPIs and production methods of not only different types of teams but also different types of industries, it makes sense that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing a project.

What works best for one type of team could be an absolute nightmare for another.

For example, many software developers started to find that traditional project management methods were hindering — rather than helping — their workflows and negatively affecting their performance and results.

As a result, software teams began to develop a new type of project management methodology, which was designed to address their particular concerns.

Before long, other teams and industries started to adapt those new project management methods to fit their unique needs and concerns. And on and on, with different project management methodologies being repurposed and adapted for different industries and tweaked to fit specific use cases.

What we’re left with is a ton of different project management methodologies to choose from. So how do you know which project management method (or methods, plural) is right for you and your team?

How do You choose the Right Project Management Methodology?

There are lots of factors that will impact which project management methodology is right for your project, team, and organization. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the key considerations that can help you decide:

  • Cost and Budget: On a scale of $ to $$$, what sort of budget are you working with? Is there room for that to change if necessary, or is it essential that it stays within these predetermined limits?
  • Team Size: How many people are involved? How many stakeholders? Is your team relatively compact and self-organizing, or more sprawling, with a need for more rigorous delegation?
  • Ability to Take Risks: Is this a huge project with a big impact that needs to be carefully managed in order to deliver Very Serious Results? Or is it a smaller-scale project with a bit more room to play around?
  • Flexibility: Is there room for the scope of the project to change during the process? What about the finished product?
  • Timeline: How much time is allotted to deliver on the brief? Do you need a quick turnaround, or is it more important that you have a beautifully finished result, no matter how long it takes?
  • Client/Stakeholder Collaboration: How involved does the client/stakeholder need — or want — to be in the process? How involved do you need — or want — them to be?

The Project Management Methodologies List


We’ve compiled this list of project management methodologies to help you get to grips with the basics.

While it’s not completely comprehensive, our aim is to provide you with an overview of some of the different methodologies out there, so you can see what’s out there and figure out which one might be a good fit for your particular projects.



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.

2. Agile Methodology

The agile project management methodology came from a growing dissatisfaction with the linear approach of traditional project management methodologies.

Frustrated with the limitations of project management methods that couldn’t adapt with a project as it progressed, the focus began 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.

The key principles of agile project management methodologies are:

  • It’s collaborative.
  • It’s quick.
  • It’s open to data-driven change.


3. Scrum Methodology

Scrum is a form of agile project management. You can think of it more like a framework than as a project management methodology in itself.

With Scrum, work is split into short cycles known as “sprints”, which usually last about 1-2 weeks. Work is taken from the backlog (see: Agile project management, above) for each sprint iteration,

Small teams are led by a Scrum Master (who is not the same as the project manager) for the duration of the sprint, after which they review their performance in a “sprint retrospective” and make any necessary changes before starting the next sprint.

4. Kanban Methodology

Kanban is another method within agile project management.

Originating from the manufacturing industry, the term “kanban” has evolved to denote a framework in which tasks are visually represented as they progress through columns on a kanban board. Work is pulled from the predefined backlog on a continuous basis as the team has capacity and moved through the columns on the board, with each column representing a stage of the process.

Kanban is great for giving everyone an immediate visual overview of where each piece of work stands at any given time. It also helps you to see where bottlenecks are at risk of forming — if you notice one of your columns getting clogged, for example, you’ll know that that’s a stage of your process that needs to be examined.

5. Scrumban Methodology

Scrumban is a hybrid agile project management methodology that has scrum’s nose and kanban’s eyes.

The main benefit of scrumban as a method is that instead of deciding which task from the backlog to work on in each sprint at the outset (like you would in a “traditional” scrum framework), scrumban allows teams to continuously “pull” from the backlog based on their capacity (like they would in a kanban framework), and using work in progress limits (from kanban) during your sprint cycle (from scrum), you can keep a continuous flow while still incorporating project planning, reviews and retrospectives as needed.

6. eXtreme Programming (XP) Methodology

The eXtreme Programming (XP) methodology is another form of agile project management that was designed for software development.

It emphasizes teamwork and collaboration across managers, customers, and developers, with teams self-organizing. It has a defined set of rules that teams should follow, which are based on its five values: simplicity, communication (face to face is preferred), feedback, respect, and courage.

7. Adaptive Project Framework (APF) Methodology

The adaptive project framework (APF) methodology, also known as adaptive project management (APM), is a type of agile project management methodology that was designed with the inevitability of change in mind.

The fundamental attribute of APF is that teams need to be able to adaptively respond to change.

That means that using adaptive project framework methods, teams must try to anticipate the risks and prepare for the unexpected in their project. They need to understand that key components are constantly in flux, and be able to constantly re-evaluate results and decisions with these moving parts in mind.

This requires lots of communication with all stakeholders and — like other agile project management methodologies — be able to work collaboratively.

8. Lean Methodology

Lean is another project management methodology that has its origins in manufacturing (and specifically the Toyota Production System). It’s all about applying lean principles to your project management methods to maximize value and minimize waste.

While this originally referred to reducing physical waste in the manufacturing process, it now refers to other wasteful practices in the project management process. These are known as the 3Ms: muda, mura, and muri.

Muda (wastefulness) consumes resources without adding value for the customer.

Mura (unevenness) occurs when you have overproduction in one area that throws all of your other areas out of whack, leaving you with too much inventory (wasteful!) or inefficient processes (also wasteful!).

Muri (overburden) occurs when there is too much strain on resources such as equipment and people, which can often lead to breakdowns — in both machines and humans.

Using the key principles of lean, a project manager can reduce these types of waste to create more efficient workflows.

9. Critical Path Method

The critical path method (also known as critical path analysis) is a way of identifying and scheduling all of the critical tasks that comprise your project, as well as their dependencies.

That means that you need to:

  1. Identify all of the essential tasks you need to do to achieve your project goal
  2. Estimate how much time each of those tasks will take (bearing in mind that certain tasks will need to be completed before others can be started)
  3. Use all of that information to schedule the “critical path” you’ll need to take in order to get the project done as quickly as possible without missing any crucial steps.

The longest sequence of critical tasks becomes your critical path, and will define the timeframe for your project.

Along the path, you’ll have milestones to meet that will signal when one set of tasks (or phase) is over and you can move on to the next one.

There are lots of ways to visualize the critical path, depending on the complexity of your project, from flow graphs to Gantt charts.

10. Critical Chain Project Management

Critical chain project management (or CCPM) takes the critical path method (CPM) one step further.

While the critical path method defines the length of time needed to get each critical activity done from the beginning of the project to the end, it can often be, well, unrealistic when the time comes to actually put it into practice.

Critical chain project management addresses those issues by allowing a bit more time for the human elements of your project — like delays and resourcing issues.

In critical chain project management, you have a few buffers built in that your critical chain can use without derailing everything else, so that your entire project doesn’t have to go off track just because life happens.

11. New Product Introduction (NPI)

The critical path method (also known as critical path analysis) is a way of identifying and scheduling all of the critical tasks that comprise your project, as well as their dependencies.

Also known as new product development (NPD), the new product introduction process covers everything you need to define, develop and launch a new (or improved) product.

The project follows a single product through the entire development process. This process involves multiple phases or a stage-gate process, which can vary from organization to organization, but usually include things like:

  1. Defining the product spec and project scope
  2. Evaluating the feasibility
  3. Developing the prototype
  4. Validating the prototype via testing and analysis
  5. Manufacturing the product on a larger scale
  6. Evaluating the product’s success in the market after launch

As the requirements for a successful new product introduction span a number of departments across an organization, from leadership to product managers to marketing and more, it requires a lot of cross-functional collaboration and communication.

12. Package Enabled Reengineering (PER)

Package enabled reengineering (PER) is a project management methodology that aims to help organizations redesign products or processes with fresh eyes. It focuses on facilitating business transformations quickly and strategically, whether through redesign of processes or realignment of people.

13. Outcome Mapping

Outcome mapping is a project progress measurement system that was designed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It differs from the other project management methodologies on this list in that it doesn’t focus on measurable deliverables; instead, it focuses on creating lasting behavioral change.

It’s a common project management methodology used in charitable projects in developing countries. As a project management methodology, it’s less about the project itself than the long-term impact of the project and its ability to effect change in the community. As a result, it measures influence rather than other (perhaps more “typical”) measures of project progress.

Outcome mapping consists of a lengthy design phase followed by a record-keeping phase to track the results.

14. Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a method for improving processes with an emphasis on ensuring consistency in output and impeccable quality.

There are a few different flavors available, such as Lean Six Sigma and Agile Sigma, but ultimately Six Sigma is a business methodology that aims to eliminate defects and reduce variation by using its defined methodologies.

Six Sigma methods can be used to optimize and improve existing processes or create new ones.

To improve business processes, you can use the Six Sigma DMAIC process, which stands for the phases in the project methodology: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control.

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


The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Book of Knowledge (AKA the PMI’s PMBOK) isn’t a project management methodology in and of itself. However, it is a best practices guide — and it forms the basis of the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, one of the leading project management qualifications.

As such, the PMBOK is an industry-standard set of guiding principles that you can use to ensure that your projects across multiple types of teams and organizations meet the PMI’s high standards and comply with best practices.

16. PRINCE2 Methodology

PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a project management methodology and certification that aims to equip project managers with knowledge of best practices and processes.

Unlike the PMP certification, it doesn’t require a number of prerequisites, making it a good choice for project managers looking to get both a methodological grounding and a qualification. It’s guided by seven principles, which in turn dictate the seven processes a project manager needs to use in each project when using PRINCE2.

17. Rapid Application Development (RAD) Methodology

Rapid application development (RAD) is a type of agile project management methodology that aims to facilitate faster software development.

It uses rapid prototype releases and iterations to gather feedback in a short period of time, and values that user feedback over strict planning and requirements recording.



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