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10 Software Project Management Methodologies for Software Development

 / 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 software project management methodologies besides the traditional Agile methodology, it may be challenging to select the most suitable one.

With that in mind, the 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.

What is a Software Development Project?

Project Management Methods for Software Development Management
What is a Software Development Project?

In a restrictive definition, software development is just a process of writing and maintaining codes. However, a real software development project covers much more tasks, from researching and conceptualizing ideas to launching, maintaining, and improving final deliverables.

Project Management for Software Development

Whether an outsourcing company is working on small-scale projects for startups or complex ones for large enterprises, project management is an integral factor of the software development process.

Software-Development-Management
Which kind of software development management methods suits your business?

Software development is no longer the job of only software engineers, but rather involves many other stakeholders such as UI/UX designers or business analysts and therefore accompanies a higher level of complexity. Therefore, software development management is essential regardless of project scope.
This process entails various principles and practices, beginning with input parameters specified by clients and even pasting after software goes to the market. 

Without project management, all people involved in the project hardly establish obvious goals and then fail to devise respective plans to meet the end on time and within budget.
Worse, the lack of project management translates to inefficient organization and supervision of the project, resulting in poorly functioning deliverables and crippling losses in terms of finance and reputation.

In this article, we’ll deduce some common methodologies or models to monitor projects successfully as follows:

  1. Scrum;
  2. PRINCE2;
  3. Waterfall;
  4. Lean;
  5. Kanban;
  6. Lean software development.

10 Best Software Project Management Methodologies for Software Development

1. Scrum

Scrum is considered the most widely used agile methodology framework, so this model still follows some fundamental agile principles such as fast responses to customer feedback and changes, focus on effective communication, and collaborative efforts or short cycles. 

Scum Method
Scum Method

However, Scrum itself has distinct properties. First, this management model is designed for the shortest iterations called “sprints”, most frequently two weeks and no more than one month. 

The scrum team often involves fewer members than the agile team, with no more than 10 people including a scrum master, software developers, and a product owner. Which, a scrum master doesn’t act as a leader, but rather as a team facilitator who educates both stakeholders and team members about scrum principles to ensure the high quality of deliverables organizes daily meetings to examine progression, and eliminates impediments to software development, and more. 

A scrum process operates according to the following steps:

  • Sprint planning: All people involved discuss the sprint goal and choose metrics that contribute to achieving the goal before building a sprint backlog.
  • Implementation: During the process of coding software, all members hold daily meetings to track progress. 
  • Sprint review: This step occurs at the end of the scrum sprint. It’s time for developers to present their work to a product owner and receive feedback.
  • Sprint retrospective: In this phase, members look back on what worked well in the past sprint and how to improve products.

Due to its length of time and main focus on quality, Scrum tallies with projects being implemented in fast-changing environments.

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 framework
Scrum framework

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.

Recommended reading: What is Agile Software development?

2. 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.

Nature of the PRINCE2 methodology
Nature of the PRINCE2 methodology

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.

3. Waterfall

Waterfall-method-Software Development-Management
Waterfall Method Example

This methodology is a traditional development process that involves the execution of project activities in linear sequential order. There are six major phases in the Waterfall model including:

  • Software requirements: In the first stage, a project manager often works with a client to identify the latter’s requirements related to a problem, costs, risks, or project management metrics. 
  • Analysis: This phase involves all stakeholders and team members thoroughly analyzing the problem and establishing definite business principles and models to solve the problem. 
  • Design: Here, software architects and developers work together to build a technical design for the problem, entailing layouts, scenarios, and data models. 
  • Coding: This stage involves implementing the technical solution by programming software and apps based on predetermined specifications. 
  • Testing: Testing and debugging are necessarily done before the finished deliverable reaches end-users. These practices guarantee the software is defect-free and meet all requested demands of the clients. 
  • Operations: This stage occurs after the product launch, including technical support, maintenance, and improvements.

The key concept behind this methodology is each stage only commences once a prior phase wraps up and therefore relies on the outcome of the previous phase. That’s why if the client makes any changes in the Coding stage, for example, the whole development has to come back to the Design phase. This is one noticeable downside of Waterfall. So this development model only suits those who have a clear insight into products from the beginning and hardly change their requirements once everything’s in progress. 

Conversely, stakeholders may easily detect faults in the Design stage, which benefits their programming tasks in the subsequent stage. Also, both the client and development team can estimate the total costs and timeline as well as evaluate how things work in each phase.

Sometimes 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, and 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 Methodology
Waterfall Methodology

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.

4. 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).

5 Key lean management principles
5 Key lean management principles

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.

Lean Software Development 
Lean Software Development 

As the name states, lean software development works toward the idea of eliminating all redundant features, requirements, and so forth from the software development process. Although this model shares some pieces of philosophy with the agile methodology, there is some difference between them. Apart from waste elimination, lean software development encourages the product’s fast delivery, adaptability to any dimension, and more. These major principles enable risk and cost mitigation and boost a better decision-making process. 

But whether the framework works well hinges on the development team’s competence and the commitment to all Lean principles. Therefore, to guarantee the effective use of this model, development teams often use such tools and techniques as value stream mapping, options thinking, etc.

5. 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. 

Using six sigma for successful project management
Using six sigma for successful project management

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.

6. Extreme Programming

Extreme programming XP is another popular project management methodology. It is used to better software quality and ensure responsiveness to client’s 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 overview
Extreme programming overview

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 requiring 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. 

7. 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. 

Inline project management critical path method
Inline project management critical path method

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.

8. Gantt Chart Method

Gantt-Chart-Method-Software Development-Management
Gantt Chart Method

A Gantt chart is displayed in the form of a bar chart that demonstrates all events and tasks of a software development project. The left side of the chart shows a detailed list of activities performed in multiple phases such as planning or execution. Meanwhile, the top illustrates a determined time frame. A horizontal bar represents the duration, start date, and end date of an activity. 

The Gantt chart method accompanies various benefits including:

  • Monitor which task is assigned to whom;
  • Make project adjustments more convenient;
  • Examine and report how things work;
  • Help stakeholders clearly visualize how the project is conducted;
  • Detect and report issues during the software development life cycle, thus producing suitable actions with ease.

Yet using this method in software development management comes with some drawbacks, more noticeably the time-consuming creation, management, and update of the chart.

9. Agile

 Agile-Method-Example-Software Development-Management
Agile Method Example

Among the most popular methods for software development management used by various modern-day companies. Accordingly, an IT service provider breaks a whole project down into smaller workflows done in short cycles called “iterations”, each of which requires perpetual cooperation between project stakeholders and development team members. This hence encourages more efficient communications between both parties. 

Also, team members can both code and test each part of the deliverable in the same iterations. This mitigates time and cost risks, helps stakeholders focus more on the product’s quality, and speeds up the time of releasing the product to the market. 

Due to the mentioned characters, Agile is a tremendous methodology for projects experiencing constant changes or having ambiguous specifications from the onset.

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

10. Kanban

Kanban Method Example
Kanban Method Example

Another prevalent agile framework that development teams use to visualize their work. In particular, a Kanban board, albeit physical or virtual, consists of several columns that represent respective items such as In Progress, Testing, or Done, whereas sticky notes that demonstrate specific tasks are attached to the board. 

This design allows all project participants to visually monitor the overall workflow and the progression of individual tasks in one place. When existing tasks are completed or when new tasks come up, information on the board will change accordingly. 

However, the Kanban model has some limitations such as no timeframe or confusion over whether the information is up-to-date. So those engaging in this methodology should prioritize information transparency and frequent communication so that team members may know exactly the project’s progress and at what phase the process is. 

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Project Management Methodologies

The above section shows that different project management methodologies are more suitable for specific projects. To pick the methodology best serves 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
Dimensions that help you identify the right project management methodology

1. 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. 

2. Evaluate your team also helps determine the right methodologies

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 methodologies. 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. 

3. 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.

4. 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. 

5. 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 methodologies. 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.

A final thought on project management methodologies

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 management methodologies besides Agile. And may you be able to choose the right choice of the most suitable one for your business.

With this latest technology now available, it is a much better option for you to switch to Designveloper. We offer all of the services needed for any size business and more – from web development, mobile application design, and consulting. We are here waiting for your call! Give us a call today if you want an estimate or just some advice on how we can help your company with these new developments in technology!

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