• Project management
  • by Krzysztof Sowa
  • 30/09/2019

6 Popular Types of Project Management Methodologies

Project management is not an easy process, but the availability of different methodologies makes it more transparent and efficient in the context of the project being developed. It is worth looking at the most popular types of project management. Project management is a set of processes that require flexibility and…

7 Popular Types of Project Management Methodologies

Project management is not an easy process, but the availability of different methodologies makes it more transparent and efficient in the context of the project being developed. It is worth looking at the most popular types of project management.

Project management is a set of processes that require flexibility and a willingness to learn from all participants in the work. What’s more, every company should consider which methodology suits it best. Consideration should also be given to whether a particular method is appropriate to the nature of the task. That is why it is so important to know at least a few types of project management in order to be able to match the best one.

Types of project management – here are the most popular ones

Many companies still rely on “traditional” project management. This is a subject of discussion, also in the IT environment – some experts believe that using this methodology in times when we have perfectly developed other techniques is ineffective and even “lethal” for projects. This is not always true. 

In the “classic” approach to project management, most attention is paid to identifying the tasks that are important to the project and providing a process to coordinate the work on them. The role of the Project Manager is primarily to motivate employees and to provide them feedback.

However, the traditional approach to project management does not work in all cases. It is well known that this method is suitable for smaller teams, where a delay in one task does not affect another. How do other types of project management look like?

Agile

The agile approach was largely developed as a response to the Waterfall method’s shortcomings (which we will describe below). It is definitely worth using them in iterative and incremental projects: requirements and solutions are developed thanks to the joint work of self-organizing teams and their clients. Agile approaches are often used in the context of more complex projects. 

4 values of Agile:

  • individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  • working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • customer collaboration over contract negotiation; and
  • responding to change over following a plan.

12 principles of Agile:

  1. Satisfying customers through early and continuous delivery of valuable work.
  2. Breaking big work down into smaller tasks that can be completed quickly.
  3. Recognizing that the best work emerges from self-organized teams.
  4. Providing motivated individuals with the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
  5. Creating processes that promote sustainable efforts.
  6. Maintaining a constant pace for completed work.
  7. Welcoming changing requirements, even late in a project.
  8. Assembling the project team and business owners on a daily basis throughout the project.
  9. Having the team reflect at regular intervals on how to become more effective, then tuning and adjusting behavior accordingly.
  10. Measuring progress by the amount of completed work.
  11. Continually seeking excellence.
  12. Harnessing change for a competitive advantage.

Sources: Agile Manifesto: 1 | 2

 

Waterfall

Waterfall as a type of project management is basically an extension of the traditional model. It is important that the team members are well connected with each other – the tasks have to be performed one by one. Consequently, they are dependent on the degree of completion of other tasks: delays in part of the project will affect the rest of the tasks (and vice versa). Generally, a team member performing his own tasks allows others to perform tasks assigned to them.

Project Manager in this type of project management is obliged to be particularly careful about the schedule and dependencies between tasks. 

Scrum

Scrum among project management types is considered to be a derivative of the agile approach – indeed, there are many similarities between “basic” Agile and Scrum. However, there are some modifications / improvements that allow for much better efficiency in project management. 

Based on Agile, Scrum is an iterative approach: sprints are used for a specific period of time (for example, 30 days): they are set to assess which tasks are most important in a specific iteration and the primary goal is to complete them by the end of the sprint.

Project Manager (or rather Scrum Master in the context of this methodology) should take care to make the project work process as easy as possible by building small teams (where each member is equal and the competencies of the members overlap), which will be responsible for specific tasks. They created teams should communicate with the Scrum Master in terms of progress in tasks and results.

 

Kanban

The philosophy of kanban tables has become well known, thanks to tools such as Trello, which is entirely based on it. However, Kanban is one of the types of project management is already a little less known – what is interesting, many companies unconsciously use this methodology (at least partially, but most often they are hybrid methodologies).

Kanban is basically a derivative of Agile similar to Scrum, but most attention is paid to the graphic representation of the “workflow” process in order to eliminate “bottlenecks”. The overriding goal is to deliver high-quality results.

In the Kanban methodology, we can distinguish such elements as Kanban Board, used to visualize the whole project – it can be a traditional corkboard in a specific room in the company. Digitalized boards are extremely popular, e.g. in tools such as Trello. 

The Kanban card represents a specific task in the process. Usually, they contain such data as status, description, date – in more modern tools they can also be a place of communication between team members.

Kanban Swimlanes are “categories” of tasks – they allow to match tasks to e.g. a specific employee. They can also be categorized based on other factors.

 

Six Sigma

This methodology was developed in Motorola in 1986 and was also used there for the first time. The primary goal is to improve the quality of work while eliminating most errors by finding areas of malfunctioning and removing them from the process. There are two types of Six Sigma: DMAIC and DMADV:

Define the problem and the project goals

Measure in detail the various aspects of the current process

Analyze data to, among other things, find the root defects in a process

Improve the process

Control how the process is done in the future

 

Define the project goals

Measure critical components of the process and the product capabilities

Analyze the data and develop various designs for the process, eventually picking the best one

Design and test details of the process

Verify the design by running simulations and a pilot program, and then hand over the process to the client

 

Six Sigma is a methodology that will work well in large corporations and organizations, where the overriding goal is to improve the quality of work and efficiency. DMAIC is used in the development of business processes, while DMADV is used in the context of new processes, products, and services.

 

Hybrid approach

Experienced project managers willingly use this approach in their projects. Depending on the requirements of the project team, what it concerns and other factors influencing the choice of method (or methods), the person responsible for the project selects several elements from the existing types of project management. There is nothing to prevent such approaches from being combined: (e.g. by transferring Kanban Cards to Waterfall methodology). However, mixing different approaches requires a great deal of knowledge about them. 

Types of project management: which is the best?

There’s no good answer to that question. Each project is different, each team feels better in something different – it is worth asking yourself this question before starting each project in the company. Depending on how the particular features of the methodology presented by us present themselves, it is worth choosing the one that fits best.

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Krzysztof Sowa

Technical Project Manager in Concise Software with a developer background, especially in mobile apps (Google Certified Associate Android Developer) and automotive systems. Scrum lover, certificated PSM I, PSPO I & AgilePM, who loves sharing their knowledge with IT communities (e.g. GDG). Husband, father and passionate photographer @ The Owls Photography.

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