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Project Management Methodology & 40+ tips on how to apply them

What is project management methodology

Project management methodology refers to the systematic way in which projects are carried out. There are many different project management methodologies, but most of them can be classified into two major categories – Waterfall Methodology and Agile Methodology.

What are the two major categories of project management methodology?

Waterfall Methodology: 

This is a sequential process that has been presented as a rigid, sequential, step-wise approach to the project, which is characterized by many phases.

Agile Methodology: 

Rather than a sequential process, it is an iterative process where there are shorter steps. Time-boxing is used by agile methodology, and each iteration will have a deadline for its completion before moving on with the next step. Following this methodology has proven beneficial since the end result tends to be better than when following other traditional methods of software development. Agile methodologies can be either incremental or iterative. Incremental development refers to short cycles of testing and implementation, while Iterative development happens in longer cycles that involve multiple stages such as design, build and test.

What are the benefits of using project management methodology?

There are numerous benefits associated with adopting a project management methodology that facilitates quality, cost, and schedule performance.

Project management methodologies help in defining and organizing project activities so that one can easily control the entire process, from start to finish. Moreover, by using a particular methodology, each step in the project can be better organized. This leads to more accurate planning and utilization of resources. Additionally, through the implementation of a specific methodology, it reduces various risks associated with projects such as cost overruns, delays, time zone differences, etc., thus increasing project efficiency. Project governance is another important aspect emphasized by most project management methodologies that help in keeping the organization out of any possible mishaps while dealing with projects of international standards.

The usage of proper software tools for tracking team activity according to prescribed steps ensures perfect coordination between different departments such as marketing, finance, and production. This coordination helps in maintaining the standards of project development as well as reducing the limitations associated with projects. Moreover, defining roles and responsibilities is critical to the successful implementation of any project management methodology, through which specific jobs are assigned to individual team members, and everyone remains on top of their job. Conclusively a project management methodology can help an organization or company by providing them with a better understanding of current practices in relation to industry standards, thus allowing organizations to be more innovative.

However, it would be ideal for each organization to select one specific methodology that fits best with their business needs rather than using multiple methods at once since this leads to confusion within an organization due to conflict among different approaches being used simultaneously.

Typical project management methodology includes:

  1. Agile Methodology:
    It is an iterative approach to project development that can be either incremental or iterative. Incremental development refers to short cycles of testing and implementation, while Iterative development happens in longer cycles that involve multiple stages such as design, build and test. Moreover, time-boxing is used by this methodology, where each iteration will have a deadline for its completion before moving on with the next step. Hence following this methodology has proven beneficial since the end result tends to be better than when following other traditional methods of software development. It was designed considering current trends prevalent in business and industry today, along with new technological advancements, which makes it suitable for use in any environment, whether it’s in the IT industry or any other.
  2. Integrated Change Management (ICM):
    It is an extension of the Waterfall Methodology and simply involves inserting project management activities into every stage of development, thus keeping a tab on all changes made at any given time during its life cycle. This allows for frequent reviews and careful oversight of the entire process, which ultimately leads to better quality in the long run as well as an overall success. The term “integrated” refers to keeping all phases interconnected rather than having some phases occurring in one step while others appear someplace else. Since this methodology has no formal steps, it can be adapted to almost any change management process easier. Making use of such methodologies also serves to efficiently incorporate changes as and when they occur.
  3. Rational Unified Process (RUP):
    It is regarded as a replacement to the Waterfall Methodology, which has been viewed by many industry experts as insufficient for handling most projects today. RUP was designed in order to address specific issues that were not addressed correctly through the use of its predecessor methodologies like better project management strategies, software development activities, and complete life-cycle development methodologies, etc., allowing it to be easily adapted into any business environment whether they are new or already well established. The overall focus of this methodology is on analyzing, designing, developing, and testing, which allows for various components such as process frameworks, tools reference architectures, etc., to present themselves during the course of each project’s life-cycle.

Another project management methodology to consider is the Critical Project Methodology; this methodology uses a structured approach that allows for all projects to be coordinated and managed in accordance with technological milestones, which helps ensure its success as well as the success of other projects being completed concurrently by any organization today. Additionally, it also incorporates elements such as criticality, cost-benefit analysis, etc., ensuring that no time or effort is wasted on irrelevant tasks, which can prove detrimental if left unattended during implementation phases. However, all these methodologies are proven beneficial only when they are implemented properly since failure to do so will lead to delays in project completion, rising costs, etc., which consequently leads to almost every company these days using such methodologies for better results and higher quality products in the market.

Critical Path Method (CPM): 

It traces its roots back to the 1950s, when it was initially used for scheduling rail projects and later adopted by NASA to schedule missions relating to space travel. Since then, many companies have been using this methodology in order to analyze various processes, assess risks involved, etc., in order to gauge better estimates of duration, cost, etc., which eventually lead them towards reaching profitability margins that they would not have reached otherwise if they did not use any of these methodologies. This is mainly because the end result provided also serves as a basis for future tasks which are needed to be completed during any project’s life-cycle. While considering such methodologies, one has to understand their concept or idea correctly since failure to do that will lead to miscommunication between all parties involved in any development process.

The Critical Path Method refers to the longest chain of dependent tasks from start to finish which is actually invisible or a hidden path if you will since it starts with the end goal and since everything else has to be complete before this task can commence, it becomes the most important feature of this entire methodology. This method is considered better than the Activity on Node (AON) approach because it uses feedback loops that serve as early warnings for abnormalities regarding any project situation at hand. The time required and costs incurred by such methodologies are almost negligible when compared with other methods available today. Hence, this method has become an integral part of many projects being carried out across various industries today.

One of the most common problems faced when implementing such a methodology is that companies tend to overlook or ignore it during the course of their project planning, which results in all sorts of issues, including delays, rising costs, etc., which almost led to several projects being canceled simply due to the fact that they were not properly managed by any company at hand. Hence, this method has become an integral part of many projects being carried out across various industries today. However, all these methodologies are proven beneficial only when they are implemented properly since failure to do so will lead to delays in project completion, rising costs, etc., which consequently leads one towards better and sustainable results for your business’s future plans.

Another problem faced with the critical path method is that if there are no deadlines, prioritization of tasks is not properly defined, which results in a lack of focus on what should be done first. Still another aspect related to this methodology lies in the fact that while considering various tasks, users may come across redundancies sometimes since every task will have some kind of dependency during its implementation phase; however, failure to do so will only lead to increased costs, etc., and eventually higher risks involved as well.

A major disadvantage associated with Critical Path Methodology lies in the fact that it does not consider risk management or contingencies which can prove detrimental in various situations.

Besides these, there are numerous other disadvantages that may arise due to improper usage of critical path methods in project management; however, proper implementation can help overcome most of them with ease.

43 project management strategies to help your projects run smoothly

  1. Establish a timeline and set deadlines
    Project managers work with their teams to establish the scope of a project, estimate the time required to complete it, and set timelines for specific activities. That way, everyone knows what they’re working on at any given time.
  2. Create achievable goals that align with your timeline
  3. Be sure to include time for reviews, revisions, and feedback from others
  4. Set expectations about how you will communicate with stakeholders throughout the project cycle
    Stakeholders are important people or groups that impact (and potentially provide resources) your project. This could include customers, management, vendors, employees who support your efforts off-site, or an internal team who works with you directly on-site. You need to have at least biweekly meetings with them as well as frequent one-on-one conversations to ensure they understand what’s going on and are fully engaged in the project.
  5. Track progress on tasks so they are completed on time or early.
    You need to stay organized as a project manager to make sure you stay on target with your deadlines. One way to do this is by creating checklists for reporting, reviewing key performance indicators (KPIs) about your progress, and assigning due dates for deliverables. You may also want to use software specifically designed for project management, such as SWELLEnterprise.
  6. Keep everyone informed of changes as they happen to avoid surprises down the line.
    Stakeholders rely heavily on communication from project managers throughout a particular endeavor. Since change is inevitable during any given effort, you must be vigilant in updating those involved with any changes. This could be a minor adjustment or something major that impacts the scope, budget, or timeline of your project.
  7. Ensure everyone involved is updated on the progress made to date
    You should have regular meetings with stakeholders based on your project management methodology to establish expectations about the next steps and address concerns as they come up. At this point, you can also ensure you are all staying on schedule and that tasks are being completed according to plan. There may be reasons for delays, and if so, discuss options such as rescheduling activities or adding more resources to make it happen as planned. You will find that keeping everyone informed helps manage both their expectations and morale throughout the process.
  8. Monitor performance and document how you are managing the team
    You should have performance-management techniques to keep track of how people are doing against the plan. This is important for both individual contributors and your overall team, but be sure you give credit where it’s due. You may also want to check in with individuals on a regular basis to ensure they understand their roles in relation to the project as well as any areas for improvement—or praise them if things are going well!
  9. Use tools and software for tracking progress and managing dependencies
  10. Avoid scope creep: Limit the amount of change from original plans
    One way to do this is to get feedback or approval before making major changes. Stakeholders need to understand that some revisions will likely occur in your project, but you want to make sure they are in line with the objectives of the project.
  11. Remain flexible and adaptable
    Your project doesn’t need to be flawless. Planning for contingencies is what’s important, not rigidly sticking to your plan. As long as you have a plan for any potential issues that come up, you can keep your project on schedule through adjustments or reallocations of resources if necessary.
  12. Identify risks early and determine what’s needed to offset them
    You need to be able to report the status of a project accurately at all times. This means acknowledging failure where it occurs while being realistic about how much leeway there is in terms of deadline extensions due to circumstances beyond your control. For example, bad weather or an equipment failure could delay the completion of a task by a day or two. However, if you depended on this work to meet an important deadline and it’s now going to miss that date by several weeks because of these unanticipated issues, you’ll need to come up with a plan B for delivering those pieces of the project later. No matter what happens with your project, you always want stakeholders to know exactly where they stand at all times.
  13. Know when to hold a meeting vs. sending out an email
  14. Use peer reviews and feedback sessions to improve your project management skills
  15. Determine if more time is needed before deciding how far along the project is
    According to PMI, there are five different levels of project management maturity:At level 0, there is essentially no management applied. Projects are initiated through an individual or small group, and the work happens without any formal documentation or reporting. Communication, in this case, can be very informal and might take place via a shared drive for accessing files or by using chat software such as GChat to talk about what’s going on with the project at that time.
  16. Get help from others when you’re not sure how to handle something
    There may be certain scenarios you come across in your daily activities as a project manager that are either too ambiguous for you to make a judgment call on them or other instances where you simply don’t have enough information yet to act appropriately. In these cases, it may be useful to get advice from your peers or even someone higher up on the corporate ladder where you work.
  17. Hold a formal project-review session with stakeholders
  18. Identify different types of project management software and determine which one is appropriate for the job
  19. Be aware of cloud services for managing projects and determine if they are right for you
  20. Understand how changing deadlines can affect team members
  21. Consider creating a request-for-proposal document for vendors or other third parties that will be involved in your project
    One important factor in choosing which vendor or service provider to hire is knowing what kind of return on investment you’re going to get out of using that particular individual or organization. If this kind of calculation is an important part of your decision-making process, you may want to include it in the RFP.
  22. Don’t let people focus on one single thing; encourage them to look at other aspects of the project
    It’s easy for team members to get stuck in a particular track and lose sight of how their decisions will impact other areas related to that area. For example, if your marketing department is working on updating the company’s logo, it’s crucial they keep in mind what this change means for various materials such as posters and business cards that have already been designed with the old logo but need to be updated for consistency before going live. Also, make sure all departments aware of other departments’ timelines and goals related to the project so they can help support one another during the execution of their parts.
  23. Keep a schedule that’s appropriate for your project, even if it means cutting down on time elsewhere
    Setting up boundaries between the time you spend doing personal tasks versus work-related items is important, especially when you’re working toward major deadlines. If you don’t have clear lines in place about how much time should be spent on each activity, you’ll never get anything completed because there will always be something more urgent popping up all the time. Alternatively, if stakeholders are expecting things from you and pressure mounts as the deadline approaches, make sure to communicate any changes in the timeline to them right away. This way, they know to adjust their expectations if necessary, and you can also help alleviate any pressure they’re feeling by making sure to give them the heads up that things won’t be finished in time as originally expected.
  24. Give your team members a chance to ask questions
  25. Whenever possible, keep a timeline of what’s supposed to happen and when
    This includes other departments that might be working on tasks related to your project as well. Making sure everyone involved is aware of the timeline will put you in a better position to react more effectively when problems arise, or other unexpected events throw everything off track. When showing the schedule like this, it’s best not to get overly specific about what needs to be done during what times — just provide enough information so that others can know what general activities are taking place throughout the execution of your project.
  26. Use a tool like SWELLEnterprise to manage multiple deadlines on different tasks at once
    This way, you can keep track of everything more easily and adjust if something doesn’t hit its mark as planned. Not only that, but you’ll be able to better see areas where problems might be occurring (if they do occur) and address them before they cause too much disruption in your timeline. You are having a good visual representation of what’s supposed to happen when is also a great way to document any concerns or obstacles associated with the project without necessarily making it an official part of the deliverable.
  27. When setting up meetings for your team, try not to use unless it’s absolutely necessary
    If you can work on tasks individually or in small groups, this is the best way to get things done. If you must have a large team meeting, try to keep it as short and efficient as possible — long discussions can keep people from getting their work done if they’re spending too much time being pulled off course by meetings. When you aren’t hosting meetings, be sure everyone has a clear idea of what needs to happen with regard to deadlines and deliverables so that they don’t feel like they need to meet with one another just because they don’t know what else to do at the moment.
  28. Don’t forget about your customers during the implementation
    It’s easy for internal considerations such as your company culture or certain departmental issues to get in the way of setting up what’s best for your customers. When you find yourself making decisions that just seem ‘good enough’ instead of doing what’s truly needed to provide customer satisfaction and quality products, take a step back and ask yourself why — this will help you figure out how to remedy the situation sooner than later.
  29. Using milestones or checkpoints during times when there is little data or information available can help keep things moving
  30. You don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time; it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them
    This doesn’t mean being irresponsible with regard to deadlines or deliverables — it means having an open mind about changes that need to be made after the project’s already been in motion for a time. If you need to bring in outside help, don’t be afraid to do it. Be willing to have team discussions about problem areas where there might not be a specific solution, and understand that things are going to change based on this feedback — but changes can still happen positively if your team knows how to work together effectively.
  31. Even when you’re using Agile, use checkpoints throughout your process
    You may want (or need) to have some form of deadlines or milestones along the way as well. These won’t necessarily be points at which a product is submitted or approved by someone else — they’ll just provide an opportunity for information gathering and coordination with your team.
  32. Don’t forget about contract workers and subcontractors who may be working on your projects
    Just because they’re not on staff doesn’t mean their interests aren’t aligned with the company. Be sure to keep them in mind when developing strategies for effective project management so that all sides benefit from what you put into place.
  33. When you have specific people responsible for checking in on a certain part of your project, make sure you give them enough information to assess its progress accurately.
    This could include things such as an idea of how much time each person has left before needing to submit something or other pertinent factors related to their particular tasks. Having this knowledge is great if you need to adjust a deadline — but it’s useless if the person responsible for checking in on something just doesn’t have the information they need to be able to assess it effectively.
  34. If you’re going to use project management methodology, make sure everyone understands how that method works and what’s expected of them with regard to deadlines and deliverables, as well as other aspects of their specific roles within your team
  35. Checklists can help ensure that essential decision-making processes are followed throughout your process (or even multiple processes throughout several departments) — but only if they’ve been properly designed and implemented
  36. It may sound obvious, but really listen to what people have to say during meetings rather than just waiting for your turn or trying not to fall asleep, which can make it easier for others to do the same (and help ensure everyone’s paying attention)
  37. Don’t forget about non-work-related aspects of your life that could potentially affect your work and how you perform in your jobs, such as relationships or health problems
  38. If someone on your team expresses concern about something going on with a project or certain decisions being made, respect their opinion and don’t brush them off (even if you don’t necessarily agree with it)
  39. Do yourself (and everyone else on your team ) a favor by taking full responsibility for everything that occurs within the scope of what you’re responsible for — whether positive or negative — until you’ve passed that duty off to someone else
  40. If your project is truly international, be sure to take into account different cultures and customs when you’re setting up your methodology
  41. Think about how long each step in your methodology will take so that you can determine how much time you have for the remaining steps, which will help with planning deadlines and assignments — but don’t just set these times arbitrarily; base them on real-world figures (as opposed to ideal ones) whenever possible
  42. Don’t let yourself feel like you’re being tied down by a certain method or process — remember that it’s important to use what works best for your team, even if it deviates from commonly accepted practices
  43. Be open to feedback and suggestions from anyone who has a stake in your project’s success, including clients
    If you’ve been hired to work on a specific project, whether it’s managing the whole thing or just one aspect of it, you’ll benefit from putting into place methods that will help ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

Project management methodology is an umbrella term for the many practices and processes used by project managers to stay organized and on schedule throughout their projects. While they were originally developed for big endeavors like building bridges or launching spacecraft — and they often involve complex calculations, charts, graphs, and other elements that can be difficult to digest for those who aren’t familiar with them — project management methodologies are now available for use with every type of business undertaking imaginable (large or small).

In fact, project management methodologies have expanded into a number of different disciplines under the umbrella term “project management.” This includes general business projects (such as establishing supply chains or developing strategic plans), software development projects (such as creating new apps for your company or distributing them through an app store), and even people-oriented initiatives like managing employee recruitment and training.

If you’re a project manager, thorough knowledge of these methodologies is essential because they provide you with step-by-step checklists that can help ensure the success of your endeavors — but even if you don’t fall into this category, it’s still worthwhile to familiarize yourself with various aspects of project management methodology so that you can be better prepared when working on any large scale tasks or even smaller, more personal projects.

Why Project Management Methodology Matters to Anyone Involved in a Big Task

Finding the Right One for Your Project

Project management methodologies can be roughly broken down into three categories: multi-phase, overlapping, and hybrid. Multi-phase projects are often those that are segmented into several different pieces (such as phases or milestones) that must all be completed before a project can be considered complete, while overlapping techniques usually involve various steps or tasks being performed at once — which may include both linear and iterative processes. The hybrid methodology is somewhere in between these two methods; it combines elements of both multi-stage and overlap, which can make it ideal for those who want an effective mix of structure with little room for experimentation.

While it can be helpful to understand the differences between these three classifications, the main determining factors in choosing a specific methodology are its cost and workability. For example, if you need to move quickly on a budget, the overlapping methodology may be the most beneficial (as opposed to multi-stage or hybrid). However, if you’re working on something that requires complex calculations — such as building an airplane or developing an intricate computer program — a purely linear approach may be more suitable because it focuses on getting all tasks done in order without deviation. You should also keep track of your team’s strengths and weaknesses when deciding which project management methodology will best suit them; for example, is there someone on your team who has great people skills? If so, you may want to choose a methodology that involves creating group activities such as brainstorming sessions or team meetings since those types of tasks can usually be done by one person (or with just a small handful participating).

On the other hand, if project management is something that’s brand new to you and your company, it’s acceptable to start with a methodology from each category and mix them up until you find what works best for you. It doesn’t even have to be all or nothing; hybrid methods typically blend some parts of multiple methodologies but not every single part — so they’re also helpful in terms of scaling up (moving on from individual steps towards completion).

A few things are key regardless of which project management methodology you choose. First, keep the scope of your project in mind; if you’re creating a new blog for your company, then taking a linear approach that highlights details like drafting a business plan and hiring staff might be most beneficial, while software development projects will probably require overlapping or hybrid methodologies to balance out different phases (such as writing code and coding) at once.

Another thing to note is that when using project management methodology, it’s important to also establish a process for evaluating work. This doesn’t necessarily mean assigning grades to every task — but it does mean having some system in place so that you can ensure everything is being completed correctly based on what was set out when the project first started. Evaluation can also help with problem-solving: if you start getting complaints that your team isn’t delivering any results, doing an evaluation can help determine whether the methodology you’re using is actually broken or it’s just being applied incorrectly.

Summarizing the takeaway for project management methodology

The biggest key to successful project management, however, is communication. No matter what type of methodology you choose, if your team isn’t on board and participating in creating a plan that everyone understands, then alignment will suffer as well. Make sure you communicate everything — from goals and challenges to completing each step — so that every member of your team knows their relative position in the context of the project as a whole.

 

References:

http://www.projectmanagementmethodology.com/what-is-pm-methodology.html

http://www.wisegeekweb.com/what-is-an-agile-project-.htm#page=1

http://www.wisegeekweb.com/what-is-project-management-.htm#page=1

 

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