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Can projects be handled without a plan? No, I don’t think so neither should you. You simply can not just debrief your team about project requirements and ask them to jump straight into it. It’s not a piece of cake. Even baking a cake needs a plan, resources, and recipe, of course.
Similarly, software development projects call for an elaborate plan too. Because only by having a careful thought process, can companies deliver optimal performance and a fool-proof product. All projects have limitations, right? So, different software project management methodologies impart us with a structured approach and support to stay within control.
Project management has been around for a long time, but the concept itself became common in the early 20th century and now software project management frameworks are globally recognized, no doubt, yet underestimated by various fields. But, unquestionably, tools and methodologies used in project management trigger successful completion.
However, project plans are not for program managers only. The entire software development team is equally responsible to understand the purpose and importance of project planning processes and realistic schedule creation for smooth execution.
The following infographic covers why projects fail and succeed, the anticipated industry growth, and the role project management methodologies play in the successful implementation of a project.
A Guide to Popular Project Management Methodologies
One size does not fit all. Every senior/ junior project manager knows that! Meaning no project is the same. A framework that worked well for one project might not be right for the other. Therefore, choosing the right project management process is critical to bring a project to fruition.
Now, what is the meaning of methodology in a project?
According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), ‘a methodology is defined as a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline. Lean practices, Kanban flow, agile management practices, and Six Sigma are some project management methodologies examples.’
Below you will find an overview of 7 known PM methodologies to choose from. So gear up and keep reading.
- Agile: It is an approach for developing software that emphasizes incremental delivery, team collaboration, continual planning, and learning.
- Scrum: The goal is to improve communication, teamwork, and speed of development.
- Kanban: A strict process to increase efficiency and visibility of the work in progress through boards.
- Six Sigma: Focuses on reducing errors, by identifying and eventually removing them.
- Lean: All about doing more with fewer resources.
- Waterfall: Sequential, or linear process
- PMI’s PMBOK: Project management industry standards, processes, best practices, terminologies, and guidelines.
It is considered one of the most distinguishable PM practices yet surrounded by controversies: Whether Agile is a methodology or a set of principles created for software development? Still debatable. Agile was materialized to fill in the gaps left by Waterfall methodology as it failed to manage complex projects (Read more below).
Unlike Waterfall, Agile is commonly used to deliver complex projects. Agile project management (methodology) provides a flexible and measurable structure for iterative and incremental projects which demand collaborative efforts of cross-functional teams.
4 Core Values of Agile
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Read more about the key values and the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto.
In a Nutshell, ‘Agile is when groups of people believe that we can consistently break down work into smaller, simpler chunks and build something valuable to other people. As we keep doing this, we always see if there are ways we can do better, and make things more valuable.’ — Marc Morell, United States
‘Scrum is like your mother-in-law, it points out ALL your faults.’ – Ken Schwaber.
Scrum, on the other hand, isn’t an independent PM methodology, instead, it is an approach to Agile management that focuses on communication, teamwork, and speed of development.
Scrum Project management is best suited for smaller projects with a team of 10 people or less. Scrum teams work in short cycles of two weeks called short ‘sprints’, and include daily stand-up (scrum) meetings, led by a scrum master. It is one of the most effective frameworks to deliver high-quality results.
5 Core Values of Scrum
Read more about the Five Scrum Values.
Scrum methodology includes certain roles such as product owner, development team, and scrum master, all responsible for their domain, and events such as short sprints, sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review, and retrospective artifacts such as product and sprint backlog.
This approach and methodology for project management is popular for self-managing teams. Kandan means billboard in Japanese, the concept itself was developed in the 1940s. It is a visual process that streamlines and manages the workflow in the best way possible.
Developers can update their tasks on the board and move the cards to ‘on-going’ or ‘completed’ columns as they progress. The purpose of Kanban flow is to eliminate any inefficiencies in agile projects. Trello is a common example of the Kanban model- the visual representation of the development process helps identify hiccups early on rather than later.
6 General Practises of Kaban
- Limiting work in progress
- Workflow management
- Instant feedbacks
Kanban is great for almost every field from marketing to human resources but is not suitable for complex projects.
Six Sigma was initially introduced by engineers at Motorola in the 1980s, then adopted by General Electric in the 1990s – and eventually by global organizations working in different industries.
The main purpose of this approach is to identify defects; what is working and what’s not and subsequently eliminating the processes that are not working. It uses empirical and statistical management techniques along with specialist feedback.
Six Sigma is a highly structured approach that is suitable for larger companies and requires a certificate to practice. It is one of the most trusted examples of PM methodology as it ensures the accuracy and speed of the project implementation by eliminating or minimizing errors or waste.
Six Sigma is just an approach to lean like scrum is to Agile. Similarly, Lean project management is all about minimizing waste while maximizing customer value using fewer resources. According to Lean , ‘as waste is eliminated, quality improves while the production time and cost are reduced.’
5 Major Principles of Lean
- Value is defined by the customer’s need of a product
- Value stream mapping – all steps involved in the product development process
- Process flow smoothly with no delays after the waste has been removed
- Just in time delivery
- Process improvement continues
Lean is based on 3 M’s
- Muda: Process of eliminating waste; something that is not adding value to the project.
- Mura: Process of eliminating variations that may lead to inconsistency in the project.
- Muri: Removing unnecessary overload that may otherwise slow down the process.
It is considered one of the traditional project management methodologies. The progress flows downwards in the form of a waterfall-like the name suggests. In waterfall project management tasks are completed in a sequence for example; finish one phase before moving on to the next.
Because it’s a linear process, everything is pre-planned, which leaves no room for flexibility, the reason why this approach is prone to errors if the plan doesn’t turn out as initially expected.
Besides, you can not swim against the waterfall now, can you? Therefore, this project management methodology is only suitable for teams who have an end goal in mind and know what they want, and if the project isn’t going to change and it will not work if your project is liable to change. It is most common in the manufacturing and construction industries.
PMI or Project Management Institute is a non-profit project management certification and standards organization based on membership.
PMI created the PMBOK – Project management body of knowledge, which isn’t exactly a methodology but a trusted set of PM standards, and guidelines that characterize project management.
According to PMBOK, 5 process steps are present in almost every project:
Additionally, PMBOK includes PM processes and techniques and since it’s a reference guide you can evaluate which project management methodologies you can and should implement in your projects.
Choosing the Right PM Methodology
There are lots of determinants that will influence your decision about choosing the project management methodology that fits your needs and is right for your project, team, and company. Below is a quick breakdown of some of the factors that you should consider that can help you choose:
Benefits of Outsourcing IT Project Management
If your company lacks internal project management skills or expertise, outsourcing project management services makes sense. Below are some of the few good reasons why should you hire remote project management help:
Skills & Expertise
One of the major benefits of outsourcing project management services is the level of skills and experience that they have to offer. You can have access to specialist project managers to manage your project.
You can find a resource model that best fits your requirements and budget.
Outsourcing PM services can bring a variety of ideas and a fresh perspective to your project through best practices.
Projects will be completed within given timelines because the outsourcing company is bound by the contract to deliver on time.
Project management service providers will take complete ownership of the project starting from initial planning, execution to final deployment.
Bonus: Top Project Management tools
Project managers are certainly valuable for IT companies but do you lack in-house project management expertise? Give us a call, we can surely hook you up with top talent!