Top 3 Project Management Methodologies – Which One’s Best For Your Business?
Project management methodology is the use of specific principles and practices that serve as guidelines for a project. But how important is it for businesses?
94% of companies who took part in Capterra’s survey said that project management was crucial for their business growth. Whether you’re running a tech startup or a well-established organization, project management is equally essential for your business.
Why Is Project Management Important To Your Business?
Projects are always bound by limitations, like the budget, deadlines, and human resources that are fixed in advance. The biggest challenge on your shoulder is to ensure the project runs smoothly, stays within the budget and deadline, and still delivers excellent results. And that’s the reason you need to implement project management methodologies.
The concept of project management is to have a realistic outline of the project, prepare for unexpected setbacks and obstacles in advance, and follow specific guidelines that streamline the workflow and improves coordination. The result of a properly implemented project management method is always positive and beneficial for the company.
They are different project management methodologies, each suitable for a particular type of project. To know which method is best for your project, you’ll need to understand the framework and principle of each method.
Top 3 Project Management Methodologies And Their Best Implementation
Some of the older PM methodologies are still relevant today, and they are referred to as traditional methodologies. But globalization and the growth of digital technology have transformed the way businesses operate, so many modern methodologies have also been introduced. Among the many project management methodologies, these are the three famous and commonly used ones:
The waterfall is a traditional methodology with a unidirectional, linear approach.
The benefit of waterfall project management is that you prepare for everything in advance. Before you start the project, all the requirements and steps to complete the project are already prepared. When the time comes to start working on the project, you need to follow the outline or design to move ahead smoothly.
By doing most of the planning and analysis at an early stage, the project becomes more comfortable to handle towards the end. And since there are clearly defined guidelines, it gives a sense of clarity and direction to the project, so you don’t spend time thinking about what to do next.
There’s one problem with the waterfall methodology, which might be evident at this point – there’s no turning back. If the requirements of the project change in between, you have no room for adjustments. The whole foundation of this method begins with a detailed planning of the workflow based on specific requirements, and if those requirements change at a later stage, you’d have to start the project from the start with new analysis and design once again.
Best Use of Waterfall Methodology
This methodology is best suited for projects with exact requirements and expectations that are not supposed to change, such as software development projects designed to perform fixed and specific tasks. Short-term projects also function correctly under waterfall methodology because shorter and simpler projects are less likely to change. As long as the project is well defined and consistent, the waterfall methodology is best for such cases.
The agile project management methodology was designed to overcome the rigid and unidirectional nature of waterfall methodology. Some unpredictable projects with frequent changes cannot function under the waterfall method as there is no provision of retracing previous steps and making adjustments. The agile methodology was developed for such cases.
The core concept of this method is to divide the project into small phases, run some tests and analyze each stage. After every step of the project, you’ll see the results and make necessary changes along the way.
Many public and commercial software often release beta versions, take feedback, and perform major updates before releasing the final product.
The biggest strength of agile methodology is in keeping room for improvement and modifications. Projects can be very fluid and unpredictable, but agile methodology principles will keep you prepared for sudden changes.
By testing each phase of the project, you can spot errors and problems early and deal with them immediately. If new requirements and features are required at any stage of the project, they can be carried out smoothly. The constant feedback you get after every stage also proves to be incredibly valuable for the final product.
Another benefit of this method is that it allows the public, clients, or end-users to participate in the project. As with the earlier example of beta testing a product, even the end-users can check out the test versions of the project and contribute to the development.
The agile methodology is like a trade-off with the waterfall methodology. While it overcomes the limitations of a waterfall, it falls short on precisely those aspects for which the waterfall is suitable.
The first drawback of this method is the lack of structure. Without a specific guideline or set of instructions, confusion and uncertainties are bound to arise. There’s no clear end goal, and much of the work is based on improvisation and adaptation. Since the project isn’t correctly defined from the start, documentation of different stages can also be problematic.
It’s not the most time-efficient approach either. Testing after each stage and coming up with new ideas on what to do next takes up more time. You may face issues with meeting strict deadlines with such a project management approach. There has to be a level of flexibility.
Best Use of Agile Methodology
Almost 70% of organizations report using Agile methodologies. It is the most suitable solution for projects that don’t have predefined requirements and end goal expectations. So it’s best for creative projects, R&D projects, and software development outsourcing that involve lots of testing and fine-tuning. It’s also ideal for tech startup projects with a remote development team where you’re just starting with an idea and planning to expand on it, want to manage your development process, and efficiently communicate with your team members.
Extreme Programming (XP) Methodology
Extreme Programming methodology is also derived from agile methodology’s core principles but with more specific and detailed guidelines. It’s mainly used for software development projects, and there are five main principles that XP methodology is based on.
Communication: XP methodology focuses on constant communication and coordination between team members. Face-to-face communication, like regular discussions and team meetings, is prioritized.
Simplicity: The simplest solution must be determined to achieve any results or perform any task. It helps the project to steer clear from complicated decisions and unnecessary distractions, focusing only on what works best.
Feedback: As we already mentioned, XP is also based on agile methodology, so feedbacks at different stages are an essential part of the process.
Courage: Courage here refers to the ability to make hard but right decisions when facing challenges. You’ll need the courage to let go of ideas that seem attractive but don’t work, raise awareness on the project’s critical issues, and take immediate actions to mitigate problems and deliver results.
Respect: The final value of XP methodology is to respect every member of the project team. Maintaining a friendly and cooperative atmosphere among the people involved in the project is essential, and this methodology takes that into account.
XP methodology does a great job of improving teamwork, communication, and coordination. And of course, it also brings the same benefits of agile technology, making the project flexible and capable of handling changes or modifications.
It also focuses on more than just the numbers, codes, and technical aspects. Values like courage and respect create a harmonious work atmosphere where all members have the right mindset, fostering their creativity and performance.
One of the most noticeable drawbacks of XP methodology is that it relies on each member of the project to practice self-discipline and stick to the five core values. Without full effort and contribution from every member, it can be challenging to implement this methodology for a project manager.
Also, since XP methodology demands perfect coordination and communication between every person in the project team, it’s not the best solution for remote software development projects or teams located in different regions and time zones.
Best Use for XP Methodology
XP methodology is mainly designed for the software development process. It’s best for projects that need to be delivered quickly as it facilitates fast and smooth workflow. Startups can benefit significantly from this methodology, as they usually have a smaller team, so communication becomes easier. Larger project teams can still follow XP methodology as long as they take necessary actions to ensure constant coordination.
How to Know Which Project Management Methodology is Best For Your Project?
You have to be very careful about choosing the right project management methodology depending on your project’s needs, requirements, and expectations.
Straight forward projects with predefined end goals will flourish under the waterfall methodology. The requirements will be decided in advance, and without the option of going back to previous stages, the focus will be to make every stage perfect and free from errors.
Projects based on ideas and concepts without a fixed end result are better suited for agile methodologies, like games and apps that regularly update and change based on user reviews and feedback.
XP methodology is best for software projects that require lots of coding in a limited time or projects that rely on multiple team members to coordinate and work in unison throughout the development process.
The right project management methodology will make it easier to handle the project and ensure the successful delivery of high-quality final products in the most efficient way.
The waterfall methodology gives a rigid structure to the project but leaves no room for changes, corrections, and improvements.
The agile methodology focuses on constant testing, feedback, and improvement of the product at every stage of the project.
The XP methodology focuses on team-based software development with direct communication between every person on the team.
With a good understanding of the three top project management methodologies and what projects they are suitable for, you should now be able to determine which option is best for you.