Finding a Project Methodology to Suit Your Business

William Delaney

The rise of project management methodology

With the accelerated growth of the business sector over the past 5 – 10 years, project management has become a hot topic within almost every industry, from hip start-ups to corporations who are continuously eager to expand. More and more focus is being placed on process over product. Businesses are continuously pushing acceleration to maximum capacities and trying to strategically identify ways to improve the process.  

Project management software has played a centric role in the success of this acceleration. They allow businesses to accurately manage and strategically plan initiatives, taking into consideration the stakeholders, resources, customers, budgets and of course, the quality of output, which in turn should match the company objectives as outlined by senior C-Level executives. 

Effective project management has a proven track record of leading to overall company success, by ensuring all tasks, resources and risks are identified, managed and coordinated correctly. However, different industries and sectors require different approaches to project management and planning to suit the needs of their workflow. That’s where methodology comes in.  

Like any methodology, a project management methodology generally encompasses best practices –  such as ethics and techniques – along with procedures and rules needed to successfully deliver on goals in a professional manner.  

Why work with a project management methodology?

Project methodologies were created for a reason: using them will be a huge benefit to your organisation. This is because following a rigid set of rules allows you to measure accurately and easily in accordance with the project timeline at every stage. This is particularly beneficial for larger organisations, where there are numerous teams and departments relying on each other to successfully complete a project. By applying standardised processes, clarity and transparency become more vivid across the organisations project, budgetary and resource needs.  Without using a clear methodology, it’s easy for organisations to overspend, fail on delivery and cause overall company confusion for both planning and future objectives. 

No matter what type of business you are running, by using a project methodology you’re more than likely going to see some improvement on the end result, but nevertheless each methodology has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. This is because different types of projects benefit differently from the methodologies. These methodologies were usually created to meet the pain points of a particular type of project flow. That’s why when you decide to pick the type of methodology to follow you need to take many things into consideration, from the project itself, to the business objectives, the sector you’re in and even the type of resources at your disposal.  

Agile vs Waterfall

As the tech space seems to be dominating the business media and online world, you’ve probably heard of the first two project management methodologies more frequently than most. We’re of course talking about waterfall and agile concepts.  

These two rationales are often placed beside each other in a bid to see which is best. Truth be told, this is a simple case new versus old. Waterfall is deemed by many as a classic approach to project management, whereas agile takes a modern spin on the idea. Waterfall follows a sequential structure, which is adapted into steps and is managed until the project is completed. Each step only begins once the previous step is completed. The structure of waterfall is rigid and backwards planning is simply not done within the methodology. Planning with waterfall is very one-way from the get-go and changes are to be avoided at all costs. This type of methodology is mainly seen in larger organisations, with numerous stakeholders and projects that are predictable and easy to plan.   

Then we’ve got agile, a methodology that the software industry has really coined to fame! This type of methodology is a lot less rigid than that of waterfall, with its core focus being adaptability based on continuous feedback. Generally speaking, agile projects work over sprints. The project is split into smaller components and is achieved through constant iteration. The concept behind agile is that adjustments can be made easily. It is a good methodology for projects with a high degree of uncertainty, or a constantly changing procedure.   

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Prince2

With the increasing interest in project management and the eagerness for newbies to get a foot in the professional door, the PRINCE2 methodology has risen significantly in popularity. The certification has become somewhat of an industry standard to have. 

PRINCE2, also known as projects in a controlled environment, is one of the most-used project management methodologies on the market. The whole idea here is based on the number seven. Seven principles, roles and phase. Although this particular type of rationale can be complex, it is very much scalable and can be adapted to many applications and environments. 

This type of project management works well for SME’s, however due to the complexity of its nature, many would say it needs a professional touch and should be left to the experts.   

Critical Path

When we hear the term ‘critical’ we start to worry, however the rationale behind critical chain is to plan as strategically as possible so that nothing critical happens. This type of methodology takes a step-by-step approach to project management, and is ideal for organisations where there is interdependency between projects.  

In critical path, the timeline of the project is broken down, and risks, durations and resources are seen as assets, to plan for dependencies, conceptualise milestones and accurately depict deliverable end dates. The whole idea is to efficiently use time in product quality throughput. This type of methodology is most commonly used in the scientific, engineering and manufacturing sectors.  

By strategically prioritising and measuring the most durational tasks first, objectives can be completed quicker and delivery times can be optimised. This measurable action can then be reported back to stockholders and can improve the assurance of meeting the business objectives.  

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