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7 Project Management Methods Besides Agile

December 03, 2020

Undoubtedly, the project management methodology is an essential part of any project since all businesses and enterprises use it to improve their project performance. Given that there are many project management methods besides the traditional Agile methodology, it may be challenging to select the most suitable one.

With that in mind, our following article will help you better understand some aspects of the popular project management methodologies apart from traditional project management Agile. Besides, with our tips for choosing the right project management methodology, you could easily make your choice and attain your business goals.

Some popular project management methods apart from Agile

Scrum

Rather than a fully-featured management methodology, Scrum is an approach with a set of principles and processes of Agile. However, it has different methods and tactics to deal with project management. Specifically, it emphasizes the project team, short “sprints,” and regular stand-up meetings. To be more specific, there is often no project manager, so the team needs to possess excellent team collaboration, self-organization and self-management capabilities.

Scrum, one of the popular project management methods

Thanks to the Scrum sprints, you can have no difficulty in managing large and complex projects. The “sprint” 30-day approach and daily stand-up meetings also contribute to the rapid iteration and development of your project. However, because the Scrum team is self-managing, the undisciplined and uncommitted team members will put the project at risk.

Large, complicated software development projects with highly experienced and dedicated development teams could capitalize on Scrum. This methodology, however, can also apply to other projects of IT and digital marketing.

PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that divides the responsibilities between a board and a project manager. The board is responsible for necessary resource management and business justification, while the project manager deals with daily tasks and manages the whole team. This method includes all the needed tools, practices, and procedures to control resources and focus on the end-users and final improved product.

PRINCE2, one of the popular project management methods

With the requirement of extensive documentation and the guiding principle “learn from experience”, this method emphasizes the role of experience in reducing your project risk. But you have to redo the documentation and re-allocate resources when changes are needed, which may slow down your project.

This PRINCE2 methodology is predominantly used in almost every project of the UK government. You can opt for this methodology for complicated and big projects with consistent requirements. They can range from construction, architecture, and education projects to digital marketing and IT ones.

Waterfall

In the Waterfall methodology, a phase can’t begin until the successful completion of the previous phase. It often consists of 5 stages, ranging from requirements, designing, implementation, finding, testing to maintenance. With this methodology, you can use Gantt charts to organize subtasks, task dependencies, and each phase of your project throughout the project life cycle.

Waterfall, one of the popular project management methods

This Waterfall method is pretty easy to use regardless of prior experience because of the intuitive division between stages. However, the clear demarcation between stages requires you to be “perfect” in every single stage. If you detect an error or have to adjust something, you must start from scratch, which drastically impacts your project progress.

This methodology is most suitable when your customers are sure about what they want at the onset, and your project isn’t going to change. You can also use the Waterfall project management method when working in a regulated industry with extensive project tracking or documentation requirements. 

Lean

Lean is a method that was once used in manufacturing, to be more specific, the Toyota Production System. Despite initially being a method to minimize waste in the manufacturing process, it now refers to three wasteful practices throughout the project management process, known as Muda (wastefulness), Mura (unevenness), and Muri (overburden).

Lean, one of the popular project management methods

This method can allow small teams to achieve more remarkable results and create valuable products with profits in a short time without overspending on materials. It also guides enterprises to adapt to changing customers’ requirements. However, they need to have a large budget to invest in it because it is expensive to implement despite reducing costs.

Many projects across different industries from construction to education are using Lean. However, only some projects whose focal point is to reduce waste for more efficient workflows could get the most out of this methodology. 

Six Sigma

Six Sigma (6σ) is a customer-driven quality management methodology focusing on eliminating defects during the entire production process. It requires evaluating existing data and error reports to detect non-conformities that fail to match the initially approved product requirements. And thus, it contributes to a better quality of the project output. 

Six Sigma, one of the popular project management methods

By focusing on this method, companies could turn out more competitively priced products and win more customers. However, because Six Sigma looks into business processes minute-by-minute and produces a lot of empirical data, it might lead to complicated and time-consuming procedures. Moreover, adopting its protocols often increases the overall costs for businesses.

This method could function well in larger organizations and enterprises specializing in engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, marketing, etc. You can use the Six Sigma methodology in any other industry where your primary goal is to deliver high-quality products to attract more clients.

Extreme Programming

The extreme programming XP is another popular project management methodology. It is used to better software quality and ensure responsiveness to clients’ changing requirements. Despite similar values or principles to Scrum, it features rules around technical practices of designing, coding, and testing, making it convenient for various types of projects. 

Extreme Programming, one of the popular project management methods

Using the Extreme Programming method, the project team doesn’t need to use too much documentation. Instead, it will tackle the problems and ensure regular testing for the software products to be developed on time. However, this method focuses more on code rather than design. This is a downside because good design is crucial for software apps.

This methodology is best suited for projects with unpredictable development or require more considerable changes. This method could be applied in complex project environments when your projects are not allowed to fail. You also want to focus on speed, innovation, quality, and profitability. 

Critical path method

The critical path method cpm, also called critical path analysis, is used to identify and schedule your project’s critical tasks and all their dependencies. The longest sequence of critical tasks will constitute the critical path and establish your project timeframe. It is quite helpful for determining the priority of your projects’ activities, reassigning the team roles, evaluating risks, and distributing resources. 

Critical Path Method, one of the project management methods

This method allows you to schedule crucial tasks better and complete the project as quickly as possible without any critical steps missed. However, everything needs to be carefully planned initially. Thus, those with little real-world scheduling and project planning experience may find it hard to calculate the time and distribute resources to each activity accurately. 

This method is most appropriate for projects with interdependent components. Therefore, you can use it when required to get a task finished before another can begin with flexibility or prefer a visual way to map out the tasks’ sequence.

Apart from the abovementioned methods, there is also another one called Kanban, which is originated from Japan.

Tips for choosing the right project management methods

The above section shows that different project management methods are more suitable for specific projects. To pick the methodology best serving your needs, you must consider factors impacting what you select. Here are a few particular things you could keep in mind when opting for project management methodologies. 

Dimensions that help you identify the right project management methodology

Evaluate the project

You should be clear about the final deliverables and ways to get your project done by gathering initial requirements. Depending on specific project initial requirements such as budget, timelines, complexity, etc., you could pick different methodologies. For example, if you are required to form a large and diverse team, a flexible method will be most suitable. 

Evaluate your team also helps determine the right methods

The project management methodology is a blueprint for the project, so your team must know how to read it. Hence, if your team has little experience with a project management methodology, it is challenging to complete the project successfully. You should choose what fits your team members rather than forcing them to adapt to an unfamiliar method.

Moreover, you had better consider your team’s strengths and weaknesses to opt for the right project management methods. If your team is highly disciplined, motivated, and experienced, Scrum could be a smart choice. And if you have limited resources, a resource-efficient approach such as Critical Chain Project Management will offer better results. 

Evaluate your organization

Your company’s organization, culture, and past records will significantly determine the type of project management methodology you choose. Some project methodologies are only suitable for large organizations with established hierarchies. Others could work well for smaller, leaner ones.

For example, if your past records reveal that all your Scrum projects were delayed and poorly performed, you ought to avoid this methodology in the future.

Evaluate your stakeholders

With some methodologies, stakeholders must frequently involve in every project stage. For example, in the Agile methodology, you need stakeholders to give feedback regularly. If they are busy, a method with lower requirements of stakeholder involvement would be better. Moreover, it would help if you considered the demands of your stakeholders. If they want to change the project scope regularly, you can accommodate this demand by selecting a more flexible project management methodology. 

Evaluate your tools

There is a certain correlation between the methodologies and the project management tools. So, the available tools you have may affect your choice of project management methods. You could list all pros and cons of the software tools you currently use and look into the tool requirements of a specific project methodology. Ideally, you should pick the method working well with your existing tools. It may be expensive to purchase new tools and time-consuming to retrain your team.

Final thought on project management methods

In a nutshell, there are several project management methodologies with their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, you should evaluate your project requirement, your team, your organization, your stakeholders, and your current tools. By doing so, you can select a methodology that aligns with your strengths and your project goals. Hopefully, our article has helped you know something about popular project methods besides Agile. And may you be able to choose the right choice of the most suitable one for your business.

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