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The Best Project Management Methodologies You Should Use in 2019

by Marianne Stenger

Project management methodologies are sets of guiding principles that help you and your team manage a project. Having a set of instructions and processes in place facilitates decision making and helps everyone work together more efficiently.

Most importantly, once you’ve decided on a methodology, you can use it again and again for each new project. As a project manager, this allows you to spend less time figuring out how to organise and manage your projects, and more time working towards your goals.

Since there are different types of project management methodologies that are suited to different industries and organisations, however, choosing the right project management methodology for your team and project type can be a challenge in itself.

When choosing a methodology, it’s important to consider the final goal of the project, its complexity, your team, as well as your customers’ preferences and how involved they’d like to be. 

Understanding how various methodologies differ from one another will help you evaluate which one is right for your organisation. So here’s a look at some of the most popular types of project management methodologies and the situations in which they can be useful.

Prince2

Prince2 is an acronym for Projects In Controlled Environments. It breaks projects into stages and provides a plan for each of these stages. Prince2 projects have an organised and controlled start, middle and end. This ensures that you know what you’re getting into, will be able to keep everything on track throughout the project, and won’t leave any loose ends.

It’s a great methodology for delegating clear roles and responsibilities and documenting each stage of a project, but it can be too rigid for projects that require flexibility and independent decision making. In general, it’s best suited to complex projects that have fixed requirements and deadlines.

PMBOK

PMBOK stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge. Its guidelines for project management are accepted as standards within the project management industry and it’s sometimes viewed as a framework or reference book rather than a methodology.

PMBOK is based on breaking projects into five steps; initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. It allows companies and project managers to standardise practices across departments but also tailor their process to fit their team and project’s needs.

CPM

CPM stands for Critical Path Method. It’s kind of like a roadmap that shows you what needs to be completed and how and where each task can be carried out. It’s often shown in a flow chart.

CPM makes it easy to compare your estimated progress with your actual progress and also highlights any tasks that are at risk of falling behind schedule, which allows you to make the necessary adjustments to your plan as you go along. It’s best suited to projects with lots of subtasks as it provides a good overview of how each task is connected, but it may not be a good option for new project managers lacking experience.

Agile

Agile is a methodology that’s popular in industries such as finance, insurance, and healthcare. It involves the customers or stakeholders in the development process by facilitating regular feedback from external parties. It also allows project managers to re-evaluate their goals and objectives as they go along, rather than working towards fixed goals. 

This flexibility and adaptability as well as collaborative nature has made it a popular methodology, but it can at times lack structure, which can cause projects to overrun. It’s best suited to flexible projects without a fixed deadline where communication and collaboration are important.

Scrum

Scrum is similar to Agile, but is characterised by shorter sprints of activity. For example, each part of a project may have its own 30-day sprint to completion, and during this time all resources will be dedicated to this part of the project. Teams often also self-organise without a project manager, and get together to decide the next step in the project.

Scrum is similar to Agile, but is characterised by shorter sprints of activity. For example, each part of a project may have its own 30-day sprint to completion, and during this time all resources will be dedicated to this part of the project. Teams often also self-organise without a project manager, and get together to decide the next step in the project.

It’s great for breaking down complex projects and getting everyone to work together towards a common goal. On the downside, there’s no clear leadership, which means it can’t be effective unless the team is self-disciplined. Scrum is best suited to experienced teams tackling complex yet flexible projects that would benefit from being broken down into smaller and more doable tasks.

Of course, this list only scratches the surface when it comes to everything there is to know about the different types of project management methodologies in practice today. If you’re a project manager looking to develop and improve your skills, the Open Colleges Project Management Library is an excellent resource for building and strengthening your core knowledge, developing specific methodologies, understanding the concept of risk, and so much more.

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