Project Management Methods

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Every business establishment is always set up with distinctive strategies aimed at ensuring that it succeeds. Being proactive and flexible is vital, as the contemporary global markets are very dynamic and competitive, which threatens the survivability of the organisations. For this reason, businesses have to create effective and efficient project management structures. Project management is described as a system responsible for the “planning, delegating monitoring and control of all aspects of the project, and the motivation of those involved, to achieve the project objectives within the expected performance targets for time, quality, scope, benefits and risk” (PRINCE2 2017, p.9). Within projects there are goals and measurements of success for each project over a given period of time.

In order to establish effective approaches in production, it is required that the respective teams will develop unique technical skills as well as management strategies (Kerzner and Kerzner 2017). The major challenge of project management is to guarantee that all of the project goals are attained within the established constraints (Kerzner 2018). The constraints are similar to the ‘Iron Triangle’ and include the scope, the quality, the cost, the time, the resources and the risk (Wysocki, R. K. 2014, p.11). The secondary challenges include optimization of allocations of the necessary inputs that should be implemented in the quest to achieve some pre-determined objectives (Walker 2015, p.45). Therefore, the function of project management is to create and complete a project in accordance with the client’s set objectives.

Project Management Methodologies

There are various project management methodologies that one can choose from and making the right selection majorly depends on the type of project that one will be undertaking (Martinelli and Milosevic 2016, p.67). It is worth to note that these methodologies have been broadly classified into two major areas. In the first group, there are the traditional method (Waterfall) and the modern approaches close to the traditional methods, such as the PMBOK (Product Management Body Knowledge), PRINCE2, Critical Path Method, PRiSM, (Projects integrating Sustainable Methods), Six Sigma and the Logical Framework Approach. The second group is comprised of the agile methodologies such as the Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Adaptive Project Framework (APF) and Extreme Programming.

The traditional methodologies are designed to provide a start-to-finish and holistic approach to the various environments. Particularly, this step-by step approach is starting with initiation to continue with planning, execution, monitoring and in the end with closing the project. These processes should achieve the quality targets of the outputs while reducing the variability and risks of each individual output. These methods focus on giving out measurable, result oriented outcomes. They are usually designed for large scale, multinational projects or for complex processes that have extreme bureaucracy and need intense documentation. On the other hand, such requirements also make it difficult for the respective organizations to implement the traditional methodologies in smaller projects in which usually agile methodologies are more suited.

When a company’s main purpose is reducing the process down to the absolute core activities, the organization might adopt the lean methodologies. These are methodologies that have been made popular by automotive manufacturers who have been employed in different projects with the aim of improving efficiency, reducing the number of wasted resources in the overall process and add focus on the core specifications of the products that adds more value to the customer (Schwalbe n.d. p.55). As a result, most of the lean systems adopted are used for reducing the total cost, improving the quality, decreasing lead times and delivering of the products on-time consistently. In view of this, it is important to address some of the methodologies that have been outlined before with the environments in which they are best suited.

Agile Methodology

Agile approach has been described as an approach that is best suited for projects that are iterative and incremental. The process is characterized by an evolution of demands and solutions through the joint forces of cross-functional and self-organizing teams and their respective customers. According to the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, team members are the most empowered as the approach places individuals above processes and their teams are self-organised leading to motivation and teamwork (Kent Beck et al., 2001). The purpose of the methodology in project management is to unearth more enhanced ways of software development through the provision of clear and definite structure that promotes iterative development, change recognition, and team collaboration (Martinelli and Milosevic 2016, p.220). Because of its flexibility, agile approach is normally employed in the delivery of projects with variability in the customer’s expectations or specifications. Moreover, it incorporates six major deliverables in tracking the project progress as well as creating the product. These deliverables include product vision statement, product backlog, release plan, product roadmap, sprint backlog, and increment. The existence of these features ensures that the organisational aspect of the project emphasizes on collaboration, continuous improvement, flexibility, and high-quality results. Sky plc is an example of a company that switched from traditional (Waterfall) to agile approach in their software development projects. The Waterfall approach was slow to deliver with little collaboration between team members and specialists. With agile approach, the software was produced faster in an environment of collaboration within the self-organised cross-functional teams. The challenge for Sky plc however was to respond to change faster and be consistent on their deadlines, in which the agile approaches, is better than the inflexible Waterfall (, 2017).

Scrum Methodology

Scrum methodology of project management is based on agile principles only that it operates through the use of certain roles, artefacts, and events. It is a methodology that can be employed by an organization comprising of efficient self-organising cross-functional teams, with around seven individuals in need of a flexible approach of product or service delivery. About the project organisation, the roles in Scrum are consisting of the Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the Team Members that developing and testing the products (Schwaber . and Sutherland 2016, p. 6). The projects are broken down into ‘sprints’ which is a deliverable part of the project the can be assessed by the product owner. Figure 1. The Scrum process (Schwaber and Suttherland, 2016)

The Sprint planning is created by the collaborative work of the entire Scrum Team (Schwaber and Suttherland 2016, p. 9). In the beginning of each sprint, a plan meeting commences allowing the project owner and the team members to agree on the objectives during the sprint that is a short period between one week to a month. In Figure 2, the Sprint’s duration is 30 days and the Daily Scrum that is a short meeting (around 15 minutes) is inspecting the work progress from the previous day (Schwaber and Suttherland 2016, p. 11). During the implementation, user stories are gathered, in order to develop a great product and the project owner selects those that would go into the Product Backlog. Then it is prioritised by the team members and allocated the time to each user story, by the team members, in the Release Backlog. Finally, with the Sprint Backlog in the end of this cycle, having a fully tested product. The advantage with Scrum is that companies can adjust to the changing expectations of their customers. Therefore, Scrum is an effective methodology for technological products like software. The limitation of Scrum is when we deal with construction in which each step should be planned thoroughly as the product cannot delivered in chunks and should have top quality.

Kanban Methodology

An organization may decide to use this procurement management methodology when focusing on early releases characterized by self-managing and collaborative teams. Normally, this approach aims at producing high quality outcomes through the display of the workflow process in order to identity the setbacks in the development process. The respective project teams usually put in place visual representations of their schedules in the form of sticky notes and whiteboards and move them through set stages to monitor the progress and imminent roadblocks of the project at hand. Through its wide-ranging practices of visualization, restricting work in progress, flow management, making overt policies, use of response loops, and mutual progression, it is a methodology that is best suited for projects with smaller teams. In addition, these teams must be in need of flexible approaches to the delivery of a product or service. In other words, it is a method that is best suited for work that requires a steady output. Worth noting, the project management methodology is also suitable for purposes of personal productivity.

Waterfall Methodology

Being one of the most conventional project management methodologies and similar to a waterfall, it is described as a linear and sequential design approach showing the progress of a project that is characterized by a flow in the same direction (Schwalbe n.d. p.165). This particular project management methodology usually dictates that the project will only be able to progress to the next development phase once the existing stage has achieved completion. The stages, following in order, are structure and software necessities, breakdown, blueprint, coding, testing, and operations. For a project that emphasizes on documentation, the waterfall methodology would be appropriate for use. Hence, it is an approach that is best suited for larger projects with strict deadlines and stages (Joslin and Müller 2015, p.1380). They are also suitable for projects that have been carried out numerous times and which convey very low chances of surprises during the development process.

PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments)

Projects in Controlled Environments is a flexible method of project management that can be tailored to various types of projects, however the seven principles of PRINCE2 are closer to the traditional methodology, with defined roles and responsibilities (PRINCE2 2017, p.20).Apart from the principles there are seven themes that describing aspects of project management in the same time, as well as seven processes that implementing the project in all stages, from the ‘starting up a project’ until closing the project. The limitation of this methodology is connected to its complexity, as the companies should train their staff and, for many, this method is hard to understand. Companies like The Port of Rotterdam, implemented PRINCE2 in the project called “Maasvlakte 2” and faced resistance in their first steps (The Knowledge Academy, n.d.). About agile projects, PRINCE2 is able to adapt as the principles of continued based justification, learn from experience and focus on products, are giving the team members autonomy and empowerment (PRINCE2 2017, p.35).

PMI/PMBOK Methodology

The Project Management Institute, a project management certification and standards organization has strived to establish the Project Management organization of understanding methodology that is a guideline providing a set of standards which characterize project management. Within the PMBOK methodology, every single project is characterized by five practice groups which include “initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing” (Hornstein 2015, p.295).

PRiSM (Projects integrating Sustainable Methods)

PRiSM, strategically is focusing on leveraging the organizational systems within a company, and make sure that the outcomes are focused on process and product sustainability. This method can reduce the risks for projects with environmental, social and economic perspective. The main difference with the traditional method is that it is a “value-maximization model that focuses on the total asset lifecycle” (Green Project Management, 2009). The core six principles are presented on Figure 2 below.

Figure 2. The Six Principles of Sustainable Change Delivery (Green Project Management, 2009)

PRiSM is a method that is used in large-scale construction project in which environmental issues are important. The weakness of this method is that PRiSM cannot have applied effectively in organisations, unless it is supported on all levels of management and especially from the board. Therefore, isolated or independent teams is hard to implement successfully this method.

Discussion and Recommendations

Choosing the right project management methodology is determined by the planning or organization that has been put in place. Project planning will dictate that the organization will be in constant use of schedules to plan and subsequently relay the progress within the project environment (Harrison and Lock n.d. p.99). Project organization ensures that the arrangements and decisions about the project’s realization are provided, the people who are working for the project are defined, as well as the teams and their roles. Therefore, the project planning phases will make the organization able to know the kind of project that is in place and the right route of approach that will be given. That is, if the project outcome is a physical object such as a household product or a building with much defined stakeholder expectations or definite materials, the management aspect of it may benefit from a sequential form of methodology such as waterfall. The building and construction industry has been one of the beneficiaries of this methodology with the establishment of various structures such as the Library of Birmingham.

If the project involves the establishment and management of a software product or an application, then the organization may adopt the flexible Agile methodology to manage the project. For example, Google Docs is Google’s establishment of a project that is competing with MS Word. Their goal is to provide enhanced or additional features covering the expectations that customers already have from MS Word, with Google’s major competitive advantage of free access to this online software (Turner 2016). Environmental sustainability can become a core value for any organization as well as a very important entity in the delivery of a product. That means that the business should carry out assessments during the planning period to determine the contribution of the environmental factors to the overall outcome of the project. If the dependency on the environment is high, then it will be better for the organization to utilize PRiSM or the PRINCE2 methodology (Binder 2016, p.100).

Any project management experts will advise that it is important for the organization to analyse some of the work processes that have given them success in their past endeavours. Such analyses will be important in discerning the kinds of working environments that these teams excel in. They will be able to determine whether the teams succeed on collaboration, the incorporation of new ideas through working, or the establishment of last minute pivots necessitated by the change in needs. In most instances, such environments usually require that the organization puts into consideration methodologies such as scrum or Kanban.


From the examples provided above, an organization can only involve itself in the selection of a particular methodology once it has established the specific type of project that it wants to run, the resources available and the management strategy that has been set up during the planning phase. As witnessed above, a project such as the one involving the development of an application software will work best when the organization adapts an agile methodology of project management. Hence, it is important to assess the type of project at hand first before deciding on the management methodology to be used. This will go a long way in reducing the various obstacles that may be presented by choosing the wrong methodology for a project. In addition, choosing the right methodology will help an organization in the reduction of resource waste which can be essential in the organization’s growth. That is to say, project planning and organization play an important role in the determination of the methodology to be incorporated in a project. Through these processes, the right resources for the required methodologies are agreed upon and the necessary steps put in place to make sure that the project objectives are realised thus enjoying overall success.


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January 19, 2024

Business Economics

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Project Management

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