Project planning tends to have a reputation. A reputation for being only available for large organisations, who have multiple departments, who come together for large scale projects. However, giving small to medium enterprises (SMEs) access to project planning can be pivotal to the success of their business.
It’s a unique challenge compared to managing projects for larger businesses. Resources such as staff and funding can be more limited, which is where a project plan can be at its most powerful. No matter what size or scale a project is, applying the right systems at the right time is key to success.
What is Project Management Methodology?
Project Leads or Managers need to stay on top of every part of a project to hit goals on time and on budget. To help with this, we recommend adopting a Project Management Methodology (PMM). A PMM guides the direction of an entire project, including everyone’s roles and the information shared in the team.
The definition of a PMM is:
‘A strictly defined combination of logically related practices, methods and processes that determine how best to plan, develop, control and deliver a project. This is done throughout the continuous implementation process, until successful completion and termination. It is a scientifically proven, systematic and disciplined approach to project design, execution and completion.’
The PMM’s sole purpose is to control the entire management process. It does this through effective decision making and problem solving, and ensuring the success of processes, approaches, techniques, methods and technologies.
Typically, a PMM provides a skeleton for describing every step in depth. A project manager knows how to deliver and implement work according to the schedule, budget and client specification.
Selecting the right Project Management Methodology (PMM) can pave the way for:
- Defining the needs of stakeholders
- Establishing a common language understood by the team, so everyone knows what is expected of them
- Cost estimates that are complete, accurate and credible
- A common methodological approach to every task
- The prevention and easy resolution of conflicts
- The production and handing over of expected deliverables
- Lessons learned and solutions quickly implemented
- Strict and consistent guidelines that every team member should adhere to
- Measuring every stage of the project and assessing if you are on the right track.
- Procedures and processes that minimise rogue decisions, preventing overspending and project overrun.
Types of Project Management Methodology
There are a number of established PMM’s that can be employed in managing different kinds of projects. All types of PMM can be divided into traditional and modern approaches.
The Traditional Approach
The traditional approach involves a series of consecutive stages in the project management process. It’s a step-by-step sequence to design, develop and deliver a product or service. This methodology type is called ‘Waterfall’ – where one portion of work follows another in a linear sequence.
These are the stages included in the traditional approach:
- Initiation – defining the ideas, concepts or scope of the project
- Planning and design – agreeing on the plan structure, outputs and data
- Execution – issuing the plan, then implementing and recording progress
- Control and integration – reporting, providing feedback and analysing issues
- Validation – making decisions on the project using information from the previous stages
- Closure – the completion and handover of the project
The Modern Approaches
Modern methodologies don’t focus on linear processes, and provide an alternative look at project management. Some methods are best for specific industries, while others can be implemented in: construction, production, process improvement, product engineering, and much more.
Modern PMMs use different models for different needs, industries and requirements.
Project Management Methodology Examples
Although a guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge isn’t technically a PMM, it’s considered in our list. It’s a methodological approach to planning, executing, controlling and terminating projects. It’s also produced by the world-renowned Project Management Institute (PMI).
PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2. It’s a combination of process-driven methods, and documentation oriented approaches. Originally developed by the UK Government, it’s a good example of a PMM that’s used here and overseas.
The Critical path method (CPM) explores the most important, or critical, tasks of a project. It does this by defining possible activity sequences and estimating the longest duration of each sequence.
CPM helps figure out how long it will take to complete the work, and what tasks will compose the scope.
Lean methodology is implemented to maximise customer value, and minimise resource waste. It lets organisations create higher value for their customers with fewer resources.
This approach aims to achieve customer satisfaction and value generation. This is through implementing an optimised process flow that eliminates waste: in products, services, transportation, inventories, etc.
Originally developed by Motorola, Six Sigma aims to improve its production processes by eliminating defects. Defects are defined as ‘non-conformity of a product or service to its specifications’.
Today, Six Sigma is one of the most trusted examples of project management methodology. It ensures the accuracy and speed of a process’s implementation, through eliminating or minimising waste.
Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is a way to plan, implement and review various kinds of work. This can be in both single and multi-project environments.
This management methodology uses Theory of Constraints (TOC) and the concept of buffers to establish improved task durations. It is also used to manage resource dependent tasks and activities.
SCRUM is an example of agile PMM: that involves teams working in 30-day ‘sprints’ and monthly ‘scrum sessions’.
In a SCRUM-driven project, the deliverables are broken down into 30-day intervals. This PMM example is quite specific, and works best in collaborative teams. We consider it to mainly be applicable to 100%-dedicated teams, who have no heavily constrained time and materials budget.
Want to find out more about project management methodologies? Or want to discuss a project plan of your own? Get in contact with the experts today.