Collaborating with your team and getting projects delivered on time is challenging under normal circumstances. With more companies allowing employees to work from home, getting everyone on the same page can become even harder. As a project manager, it pays to know how to employ the best project management software and methodologies.
At its core, a project management methodology (PMM) is a set of guidelines that help you structure and manage different aspects of a given project. The choice you make as a project manager impacts your team and its ability to see a project through to completion.
Some of the most popular PMMs currently in use are Waterfall and Agile. Waterfall dominated for years as the top PMM choice, but Agile has been gaining ground over the last decade because of its more flexible nature.
Below you’ll find some tips to help you evaluate different PMM approaches. We’ll also go over some project management tools and techniques to help you get the most out of the PMM you end up choosing for your team.
The type of project you’re overseeing should be the driving factor in deciding on a project management methodology. Think through the different aspects of the project and your delivery timetable. You should also account for:
Once you understand the scope of what you’re working with, you’ll have a clearer idea of what kind of PMM would work best for your team’s needs. Start breaking down the pros and cons of different project management methodologies while accounting for:
When choosing a PMM, it’s essential that you do your best to avoid pre-existing bias and make your decision solely based on the needs of the project in question.
One of the reasons many project managers started shifting away from Waterfall was because they felt constrained by guidelines that didn’t fit their needs. Just because a methodology seems to offer more flexibility doesn’t necessarily make it the most suitable option for your project.
You should also consult with other team members to get their input on what PMM might work best. It’s always good to get a different perspective that shakes up your preconceived notions.
Let’s take a deeper dive into a few prominent project management methodologies.
When it comes to project management methodologies, Waterfall is about as classic as it gets. Initially used in the construction and manufacturing industries, the methodology moves projects along a sequential path. Waterfall starts with information gathering about a specific project and ends with its delivery. The Waterfall PMM tracks with the system development life cycle (SDLC) and remains popular in software engineering and IT projects.
The Waterfall methodology works well for short projects with requirements that are unlikely to change. Other benefits of the Waterfall methodology include:
The Waterfall methodology's linear track can make it feel slow and inflexible, especially on projects where the parameters can suddenly shift. This option makes it harder to deal with unexpected risks or account for sudden changes to a project's scope.
Agile methodology emerged in the early 00s to get around some of the perceived immovability of the Waterfall methodology. Industries like insurance, healthcare, and government have embraced the Agile approach. That makes sense, as organizations in those fields often need to suddenly change course based on newly established guidelines.
Instead of taking a slow and methodological approach that tries to gather as much information as possible before starting, Agile starts with the customer's needs. Teams break projects down into time intervals called sprints. Your team completes a specific unit of work within the time allocated to that sprint before moving on to the next piece.
Agile makes it possible for teams to accommodate project scope changes quickly and flexibly without having to start everything from the beginning. Customers get the opportunity to offer input at different intervals, making for less rework in subsequent sprints. SCRUM and Kanban are two standard Agile methodologies used by project managers.
The success of agile depends on the customer’s ability to communicate what they need and offer feedback as the project moves forward. Without that, you run the risk of project overrun because of constant revisions.
Adaptive project management helps project managers adjust to the constant changes in today’s business climate. It’s best suited for projects where there are a lot of unknowns and potential risks. Teams get the chance to prepare and respond to unexpected shifts in project direction. Critical components may be missing or not clearly defined at the outset of a project.
The adaptive methodology requires an environment where team members, customers, and stakeholders communicate effectively. You’re constantly learning by working through the project and changing requirements. Adaptive methodology requires a software platform that lets everyone share information as it becomes available and use it to redraw the parameters of a project.
The Accelo Adaptive Project Management platform helps project managers working in different industries deal with shifts in project direction. You can maintain control over a project's boundaries using a Waterfall-like process by establishing budgets and set timelines. Accelo also gives you Agile-like flexibility to adjust by refining estimates and deliverable timelines based on updated knowledge.
The Accelo Adaptive Project Management platform enables you to get the best of both worlds by combining the benefits of Agile and Waterfall. Sign up for a free trial today!