Project Management Methodology: Choosing the Right One for Your Team

July 16th, 2020 in Productivity

Project Management Methodology: Choosing the Right One for Your Team

What is “Project Management Methodology?”

Project management methodology is a wide encompassing term. From agile to six sigma to lean, there are many ways to manage a project. Each method has its own pros and cons and different use cases. In this article series, learn about the different project management methodologies and determine which one is best for your team.

To start, let’s review Agile, Kanban, and Scrumban. What are they, and how do you implement them? Which one will suit your management style best?

Project Management Methodology #1: Agile

Before learning what Agile is, let’s understand what it isn’t. Agile isn’t about letting each team member do what they want without cohesion. It’s also not about doing tasks faster and with more urgent deadlines.

The Association for Project Management defines Agile as, “an iterative approach to delivering a project throughout its life cycle.” What exactly does this mean? It means that an Agile life cycle is composed of several incremental steps that all lead towards the completion of a project. Agile uses sprints, which are a set time period in which a certain activity is completed and then reviewed.

Agile starts with a vision and a “broad direction.” As the project progresses, Agile learns from and adapts to the changing conditions. You home in on the target, or final product, incrementally. Instead of following a linear path, Agile projects are adjusted as needed.

How to Implement: 

  • Break down the project into smaller tasks and prioritize them by importance
  • Work collaboratively with individuals, whether they are team members or customers
  • Reflect on customer feedback, learn from mistakes and different situations, and adjust the project at regular intervals to ensure customer satisfaction

When to Use it: Agile project management is commonly used in software development due to the ever-changing nature of software. The most favourable market environments include ones where the customer preferences frequently change and there is rapid customer feedback.

Project Management Methodology #2: Kanban

Kanban is a part of Agile project management; however, it can be used on its own to help visualize a project. When working with Agile, Kanban promotes small, incremental updates to a project. Kanban is a visual workflow process that helps you see and organize individual tasks based on predefined sections.

In a basic board, there are three columns, To Do, Doing, and Done. These columns can be updated to better suit your workflow. Each task is placed on a “card” that is then moved across the board to reflect the workflow. The cards explain what is required of each task.

One of the key principles of Kanban is to limit the amount of work in progress at each phase to enhance speed. If applicable, monitor and manage the flow of work by tracking performance metrics to calculate average completion rate and total work cycle time. Lastly, regularly review and improve upon the workflow steps. Identify issues and listen to feedback to ensure workflow efficiency.

Kanban boards increase flexibility in a project by allowing you to change the priorities of the tasks. They also improve workflow by employing just-in-time strategies and delivering work regularly. These boards can also reduce waste by ensuring teams don’t spend time on unnecessary work.

How to Implement:

  • Create a series of columns that outline the team’s workflow
  • Colour-code each column for easier navigation
  • Develop cards that outline one task or work unit per card
  • Move the card to a different column along the workflow path to represent where it is in the development process when necessary

When to Use it: Kanban boards can be used with Agile project management and in software development industries. Kanban boards can also be employed in various types of industries, such as marketing, consulting, or engineering, where teams want to visualize their individual tasks and workflows.

Project Management Methodology #3: Scrumban

As you may have guessed, “Scrumban” is a hybrid of “Scrum” and “Kanban.” Scrum will be reviewed in detail in its own article. Scrumban is another principle of Agile project management.

Scrumban takes the decision-making of scrums and combines it with the visual nature of Kanban. In the “scrum” portion, decisions are made on such things as how much work will be done in the iteration and the prioritization of tasks. Tasks are then visualized on Kanban boards.

Scrumban allows for compartmentalization of projects, which can reduce bottlenecks of work. It also makes workflows and tasks transparent for everyone on the team. It is ideal for larger projects where tasks can be prioritized over time.

How to Implement:

  • Create a team based on the needed roles for the project; these teams can be specialized
  • Have iteration planning at regular intervals that can be reviewed
  • Host daily scrums to plan, review, and discuss the team’s workflows and tasks
  • Design and implement Kanban boards to help visualize workflows

When to Use it: As a part of Agile, Scrumbans can be used in SaaS enterprises. Scrumbans can also be used in event-driven work, for help desks and customer support, and for product development. Scrumbans are also beneficial for agencies looking to use Kanbans while also checking in with team members daily.

Resources:

Association for Project Management. What is Agile Project Management?
Darrell K. Rigby, Jeff Sutherland and Hirotaka Takeuchi. Embracing Agile. Harvard Business Review.

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