9 Project Management Methodologies Made Simple

Project Management Methodologies

There are numerous project management approaches for project managers. In project management language, the word approach takes the name of a methodology.

Project management experts agree that organizations can be largely benefitted when you use a recognized project management methodology. The list includes a wide range of methodologies – Traditional, Modern, Process-based, Hybrid are a few to name. But what are they exactly? How can they benefit projects and teams? And what makes a methodology superior to another?

These are some of the common questions that people put up with the project management experts. If you have questions or doubts regarding how to choose the right methodology for you, fret not, we are going to make it super-simple for you. This article gives you an overview of the some of the most famous and widely used methodologies and how to leverage them in order to help you deliver projects successfully.

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So brace yourself and let’s get started:

1. Agile – continuous collaboration

Let’s start with a methodology that is making waves these days – Agile methodology. The Agile methodology focuses on the final end-state in a process. It is best suited for projects that require flexibility and speed. In Agile manifesto four values are outlined which are as follows:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Commonly used for in-house teams, they work in cycles of planning, executing, and evaluating results at the end. It emphasizes on adaptability to changing situations and ongoing communication by constant collaboration both within the project members and with project stakeholders.

Read our article dedicated to Agile Project Management Methodology

2. Scrum – enabling small teams to deliver fast

Scrum is a project management methodology, where a small team is led by a subject matter expert (SME) who makes way for effective collaboration and deliver high-end results. Scrum is probably one of the most popular and effective frameworks used within software development.

The main focus is to improve communication, teamwork, and speed of development. The teams following Scrum ideology work in short cycles of two weeks called ‘sprints’. If you hear people talking about scrums, SMEs, sprints, backlogs, and burndowns, they’re using Scrum methodology for their projects.

Originally developed for software development, it’s a bit of a struggle for other creative or strategic teams to leverage it completely as per their needs. This is why most of the teams who are using Scrum are either using a derivative of it or combines it with some other methodology.

3. Kanban – makes the work-in-progress visible and improves speed and quality

Kanban project management is focused on lean principles and strict processes to increase efficiency. Developed by Toyota during the late 1940s, the word ‘Kanban’ stands for a visual system of cards. Over the span of years, Kanban has managed to make a place to itself in the project management scenario by focusing on the things that matter.

Its main emphasis is on visualizing the workflow, prioritizing, and continually evaluating improvement opportunities to deliver work faster and with better quality. It’s not suitable for industries or organizations where priorities change much often.

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4. Lean – deliver more with less by eliminating waste

Lean is a project management methodology that focuses on streamlining and cutting out waste along with not compromising on the overall efficiency. Lean is all about doing more with less. It promotes a work process breakdown so that you can identify and eliminate “Muda” which symbolizes all form of waste, delays, and bottlenecks.

Lean is primarily based on 3 M’s – Muda, Mura, and Muri:

  • Muda: It’s the process of eliminating that is not adding any value to the project i.e. waste.
  • Mura: It’s the process of eliminating the overheads or any variations that may lead to any kind of inconsistency in the project.
  • Muri: It refers to any unreasonable stress or burden to employees. This is caused by Mura and host of other reasons in the process.

The ultimate reason why people choose Lean over others is the way it enables to do more with less manpower, less money, and less time.

5. Scrumban – limiting work-in-progress with a daily standup

As the name suggests, Scrumban is a hybrid project management methodology of two agile approaches – Scrum and Kanban. It borrows the flexibility of the Kanban and mixes it up with the structure like that of Scrum to create a new hybrid project management methodology.


Here, you can do iteration planning at regular intervals and synchronize it with a review as the primary focus is to fill the available slots. This largely helps to reduce the overhead and gives a much-needed structure that promotes collaboration and saves time. This mixed methodology can be beneficial for product development and project management teams.

Also checkout – Best Google Sheets templates for project management

6. Waterfall

The Waterfall methodology is, perhaps, the most simple and effective project management methodology. Also referred as Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), it focuses on making a solid plan and effective execution. That’s why this traditional project management methodology is simplest and easiest to understand.

It is sequential in nature as one task must be completed before the next starts in a connected sequence that adds up to the overall deliverables. Typically, in a Waterfall approach, requirements are defined in the beginning (at the top of waterfall), then the tasks cascade like that of water falling down through the process of development, design, testing, and maintenance.

7. XP – extreme programming

XP is a software development project management method that aims to produce higher quality software. Extreme programming differs from other traditional methodologies primarily in placing a higher value on adaptability then on predictability. It revolves around five main values: communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, and respect.

Some people argue that XP is pretty much alike Scrum but one thing that primarily differentiates it from Scrum is that the prescriptive processes are built around technical practices such as coding and testing. They include making user-stories, test-driven developments, pair programming, and continuous integration among others.

8. PRINCE2 – projects in controlled environment

PRINCE2 stands for Projects In Controlled Environments. It is a project management methodology that is made up of principles and processes. This process-oriented methodology was initially created by UK government in 1996. Here, a project is divided into multiple stages where each stage has its own set of plans and process to follow.

As a methodology PRINCE2 is quite thorough and well-put in itself, it has a great framework capable of running large projects. This methodology gives teams greater control of resources and the ability to mitigate risks effectively. With that, it focuses on clearly defining the requirements, taking action, and ending it keeping practical expectations from the project and the outcome.

9. PMI’s PMBOK – universal standards for project management

Let me clarify that Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is not a methodology but a set of universal standards based on the modern-day project management. These standards contribute to the five process steps of project management: Initiation, Planning, Executing, Controlling, and Closure.

The step between the PMBOK guide and a methodology is determining what should be done by whom, when and how:

  • Which processes should be applied to your organization?
  • Who will be responsible for the implementation of the processes?
  • How will the processes be applied?

PMBOK is more like a reference guide that can be leveraged to create a set of universal project management language and practices around a project.

project management methodologies

Determining which project management methodology is the best

Choosing the right project management methodology can be tricky as all projects vary and have different requirements. Of course, it’s essential to adopt the right methodology but one should be focusing on the bigger picture. Whether, it’s Kanban, Scrum, or Agile, the focus should be on committing yourself to do quality work and meet the user needs.

You can consider some of these factors for determining which methodology will be right for you:

  • Core values
  • Organizational values
  • Project constraints
  • Need for flexibility
  • Project size
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There are many other project methodologies such as Six-sigma, Critical chain, Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) etc by project managers to give a structure to their working process.

The idea behind this is to make project managers aware about different methodologies being practiced in project management. Try each one of them and see which works best for you but keep in mind that every project has different requirements. So, be your own judge!

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