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Getting your team organized around a project is often easier said than done. Fortunately, following a project management methodology can help you organize your project into a structured, streamlined process. It makes team collaboration more efficient and projects become better organized.

Project management experts agree that most projects benefit when a recognized methodology is followed. While there are dozens of project management methods available, the majority of projects can be managed efficiently by following one of the thirteen methods below.

Understanding project management

Project management plays a crucial role in accomplishing goals and following through with plans and expectations. Often times, businesses have huge hopes for projects and for team members to collaborate on their ideas but things don’t get carried out as planned.

Project management methodology helps managers through every stage of a project. It begins with helping the manager plan, initiate, and implement the project. Methodologies even take the project to closure. They are models that project managers can use to plan and achieve task goals.

Different projects benefit from different methodologies. Not every style of project management will work for every assignment. In order to recognize which method will work best for your project, you need to be familiar with these common project methodologies and their differences.

1 – Agile

Projects that require extreme flexibility and speed are best suited to the agile project management method. Through this method, project managers breakdown milestones into “sprints”, or short delivery cycles.

Commonly used for in-house teams, agile project management was created for projects where there is no need for extensive control over the deliverables. If you’re working with a team that is self-motivated and communicates in real time, this type of project management works well because team members can rapidly adjust things as needed, throughout each task.


Read our article dedicated to Agile Project Management methodology

2 – Traditional

Traditional project management is, in many cases, a classic approach. Because it simply assesses the various tasks required for a project, and provides a process to oversee and monitor the completion of those tasks, traditional project management works well. While the project is in development, the role of the project manager is to provide coaching and feedback to the team members carrying out their tasks. This helps the project reach its desirable outcome.

While it may seem like a simple and straightforward approach, traditional project management works well with many businesses that use small group settings, and team members are not dependent on one another’s tasks to move forward with the project. If communications within the team can remain minimal, traditional project management can run smoothly.

3 – Waterfall

The waterfall method builds upon the framework of the traditional method.

With the waterfall approach, it is assumed that team members are reliant upon the completion of other tasks before their own tasks can be completed. Tasks must therefore be accomplished in sequence and it is vital that team members correspond with one another. Everyone contributes to the overarching goals of the project and as they complete their tasks, they enable other team members to complete theirs, which opens up opportunity to begin larger tasks.

With waterfall project management, team size will often grow as the project develops and larger tasks become a possibility. As these opportunities open up, new team members are assigned to those tasks. Project timelines and dependencies need to be tracked extensively.

4 – Adaptive

Adaptive project management does exactly what the title suggests: it adapts.

With adaptive project management the scope of a given project can vary.

While the time needed to complete the project and the cost of the project are constants, the project scope can be adjusted as it is being executed. Businesses commonly do this to get maximum value out of each project, such as when new ideas or opportunities are unlocked during the development of a project.


5 – Critical Path

Critical path is a step-by-step method that works well for projects that have tasks which are dependent on one another.

With the critical path managing style, interdependent activities are easily managed. The work can be broken down using a structure that tracks the timeline needed for completion of these dependencies, their milestones, and their deliverables.

Critical path project management is a style that outlines the critical and non-critical activities needed for the project by calculating which ones have the longest and shortest time to accomplish various tasks. This project management style is commonly used by scientists and manufacturers because there is such a heavy emphasis on task duration.

Measuring and prioritizing tasks results in a faster completion time. Project managers will have a well-defined description of the project’s duration. This gives managers the ability to complete the task in the quickest amount of time by finishing “critical” tasks first, allowing inter-dependent tasks to be started.

6 – PERT

PERT stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique and is often used in combination with the Critical Path method. This project management style is commonly found in developmental processes and manufacturing. It is especially useful for businesses like these who plan to expand in the near future, or would at least like to keep that possibility open.

Project managers are expected to differentiate between events, and to measure the progress of activities and tasks being completed. By closely analyzing and estimating the amount of time it should take for each event to be completed, the manager can then easily create realistic timelines and budgets for those aspects of the project.

7 – Rational Unified Process

Rational Unified Process (RUP) is a project management style commonly used with software development projects.

Its iterative style allows for cyclical projects requiring beta testing or feedback from users of the project, which may have an effect on the product and change production.

RUP project management is similar to the waterfall method, except there is a major emphasis on transitioning the project at the end of every cycle, where users will be testing and evaluating its performance.

RUP allows for the future evolution of a project and accounts for rapid growth and expansion. When used for software development, users may report bugs or have suggestions that could impact the project and change its direction.

8 – Critical chain

Critical chain builds upon the PERT and critical path project management styles.

With this methodology, project managers can create goals and assemble teams based around their budget or other project constraints. Rather than determining the shortest possible project length, as is the case with critical path projects, project managers use their data to find areas where cost savings and benefits can be had. Changing elements and eliminating portions of projects is common.

Critical chain project management is also very popular in highly competitive industries. Many consumer electronics companies use this project management to lower costs and compete within the aggressive technology world.

9 – Extreme

Extreme project management is designed to reduce the total time of each repetitive cycle within a project, organizing these cycles into daily or weekly processes.

Regardless of whether a cycle has been completed or reached functionality, project managers will often assign a name or number to it. These types of projects need to be updated regularly, sometimes even nightly. Project managers then use these updates as hallmarks and during this time, user requests can be taken into account for inclusion in future cycles.

10 – Scrum

Scrum is a derivative of agile project management.

As an iterative project management style, scrum features various “sessions” sometimes defined as “sprints” which generally last for 30 days. These sprints are used to prioritize various project tasks and ensure they are completed within this time.

Rather than being project manager, a Scrum Master should facilitate the process and assemble small teams that have oversight of specific tasks.

The teams should communicate with the Scrum Master to discuss task progress and results. These meetings with the Scrum Master are ideal times to reprioritize any backlogged tasks or discuss tasks that have yet to be pooled into the project.

11 – Six sigma

Motorola was the original developer of the Six sigma project management style. Their overall goal was to reduce waste, improve their project processes, and increase profits.

Six sigma is a data-driven project management method with three essential components:

  • The first component is DMAIC: define, measure, analyze, improve, control
  • The second is DMADV: define, measure, analyze, design, and verify
  • The third is DFSS (design for six sigma), which can include the other processes mentioned.

This three-step project management method is designed to take a project from the planning stage through to completion.

12 – Crystal

The crystal method places a major emphasis on team communication and low priority on project processes and tasks. Instead, the project is centered on the skills and interactions between the people who are assigned to the project.

This project management method is often used among businesses with creative talents within their organization. By focusing on the skillsets and traits of team members, projects are more flexible and far more unique.

13 – Joint application development

This method allows the project to have a joint development process by involving the client from the very early stages.

The team and client are to have meetings or sessions where both can collaborate freely. This allows the client to contribute ideas to the project and also give feedback on how things are progressing.

Joint application development relies on the client contributing and holding sessions with team members throughout the entire lifecycle of the project.

Determining which project management method is best

Since all projects vary and have differing requirements, there can be no project management method that is “best” and which applies to all businesses.

A business can vary according to type, size, industry, and many other factors. Rather than looking for a methodology that is best, businesses should learn these methodologies, how they are used, and how they can be applied.

Consider some of these factors for determining which methodology might be right for you:

  • Organizational goals
  • Core values
  • Project constraints
  • Project stakeholders
  • Project size
  • Cost of the project
  • Ability to take risks
  • Need for flexibility

Project management methodology is an essential for today’s businesses. By using an appropriate style for your business, you can transform the way your team communicates, works on tasks, and accomplishes project milestones.

Getting organized with Azendoo

Whether you are consciously following one of the above project management methods, or simply tackling projects your own way, using a cloud-based collaborative task management system, like Azendoo, will surely increase your team’s productivity and efficiency.

Businesses that utilize a project management method described above are far more likely to be successful with Azendoo. You can use Azendoo to encourage communication between your team members, assign and delegate tasks, share files and information, and much more. Plus, Azendoo is flexible enough to be adapted to any project and organization!

Mattias Le Cren
Content marketing & growth hacking advocate. I'm heavily into tech and football. Ping me on twitter: @lecrenm
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