Different types of project management methodologies

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

Project management is essential to the success of any team. Through the implementation of a suitable project management methodology, you can help to ensure that the project runs as smoothly as possible. This increases the likelihood of overall success and profitability following any projects that you complete. In this article, we explore the different types of project management methodologies and offer some tips on how to implement them.

What are project management methodologies?

Project management methodologies refer to how you choose to oversee a project. There are many different types of project management methodology and the type of methodology that's suitable for a project varies depending on its unique requirements. It's valuable to acquaint yourself with a few different methodologies, as this allows you to intuitively identify the type of management for a particular project that can be most effective. This is especially useful if you work on a freelance basis as you can adapt to a company's operation procedures, quickly and effectively.

What types of project management methodology are there?

There are numerous types of methodologies ready that you can use depending on the situation. Each methodology is appropriate for different types of projects and the one you choose to use may depend on the sort of result you want to see. The most common include:

Waterfall methodology

As the name suggests, the waterfall methodology ensures that the project's completion follows the same structure as a waterfall. The project manager outlines the project's requirements and its desired outcomes prior to its commencement. After finishing the planning stage, team members proceed to complete a number of sequential tasks until the project's completion. The main features of waterfall project management methodology are:

  • comprehensive project planning before any work begins

  • thorough task delegation through to project completion

  • manageable sized tasks planned to a tight schedule

Agile methodology

Agile methodology is another popular type of project management methodology. The predominant advantage of agile methodology is that it allows managers to split projects into smaller segments. Segment completion occurs one segment at a time, with time reserved for thoroughly inspecting and quality approving each segment before moving to the next. This promotes flexibility throughout the project, as you can adapt its strategy and steps depending on how the previous segment went. The main features of agile project management methodology are:

  • adaptable style of project planning

  • versatile use for a range of different project types

  • simple and flexible style of management that's easy to adapt to

Kanban methodology

The Kanban methodology is a style of project management methodology that uses visualisation to determine a project's outlook, promoting efficiency. A kanban board is a visual representation of how a project is progressing across a range of important metrics. It's comprised of visual symbols or signs, with each one designating a particular status. The most commonly employed status symbols during a Kanban-managed project are 'To Do', 'In Progress' and 'Completed'.

As flexibility is at the core of the Kanban method, team members can adjust the project accordingly and make changes if and when they appear necessary. This aids overall productivity as it requires team members to frequently check in with the status of their task completion and allows for a project manager to quickly identify aspects of a team that they can improve. The main features of Kanban project management methodology are:

  • visual style of planning that utilises a series of predetermined symbols

  • accurate tracking of project process that's visible on an individual level

  • sustainable project tracking which involves all team members

Related: How to become a project manager

Lean methodology

Lean methodology is a type of project management methodology that aims to deliver value in the most effective and efficient way possible. The underlying focus of lean methodology is to 'do more with less', resulting in maximum results with minimum consumption of time, energy, resources and budget. By eliminating waste, lean-managed projects promote overall productivity and save costs. The lean methodology relies on the principle of the 3Ms. These are Muda, Mura and Muri. The main features of lean methodology are:

  • Muda: Eliminate excess waste by getting rid of processes that do not add value.

  • Mura: Eliminate excess variables to ensure a balanced workload.

  • Muri: Eliminate excess workloads in order to ensure employees don't feel burnt out.

Scrum methodology

The scrum method is another popular type of project management methodology. Scrum methodology is the principle of breaking up the project into various tasks, which then become known as 'sprints'. These sprints are more manageable than attempting to take on the project in one go in its entirety. Managers and stakeholders analyse the work done within a sprint to ensure it was successful. They may use this data to modify the next spring before starting it. The main features of scrum project management methodology are:

  • breaking up a sizeable project into a more manageable series of 'sprints'

  • modifying any one task before the next task begins

  • delivering the final project results quickly and effectively

PMBOK methodology

Originally created by the Project Management Institute, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) method is a type of methodology that outlines conventional techniques and procedures for successfully planning a project and seeing it come to fruition. The institution continually revises the PMBOK method to ensure it's as effective as possible. The main steps of PMBOK project management methodology are:

  • initiating the project

  • planning the project

  • executing the project

  • controlling the project

  • closing the project

Related: Project management skills and how to improve them

Six Sigma methodology

The appeal of the Six Sigma methodology is that it focuses on ensuring the exceptional quality of a project's outcome by striving to remove all waste and errors throughout the project's process. Data and hard analysis drive the Six Sigma methodology, which means that verifiable evidence backs the conclusions that you reach. The main features of Six Sigma project management methodology are:

  • utilising a framework in order to ensure consistency

  • removing excessive waste to ensure as high a level of quality as possible

  • minimising errors made to inspire confidence in the project outcome

Six Sigma methodology uses two frameworks, including the DMAIC framework and the DMADV framework. The outlines for each can be found below:

DMAIC

  • Define

  • Measure

  • Analyse

  • Improve

  • Control

DMADV

  • Define

  • Measure

  • Analyse

  • Design

  • Verify

eXtreme Programming (XP) methodology

The eXtreme Programming method, commonly shortened to the XP method, is a type of project management methodology that specifically focuses on the development of software and coding. This also includes the testing and enhancing of said software, alongside encouraging a level of open communication between the project team and customer. By including clients throughout the development process, this method results in a deeper level of understanding of what the client requires from the final product. The main features of XP project management methodology are:

  • communication between the project team and customers

  • courage for the project team to take informed risks

  • feedback given and received frequently to ensure the project is on track

  • respect given and received to and from all members of the team

  • simplicity to maintain drive and progress

PRINCE2 methodology

The PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) methodology focuses on the process of a project itself. PRINCE2-managed projects rely heavily on structure and are made up of a number of stringent sections. The project manager designs and delegates each section, leading to clear guidelines, deadlines and outline of purpose prior to their undertaking. The project manager defines each section before the project gets underway to ensure overall cohesiveness and consistency. The main values of PRINCE2 project management methodology are:

  • processes

  • tailoring

  • principles

  • themes

Related: Management skills: definitions and examples

Critical Path Methods (CPM)

Critical Path Method methodology, more commonly known as the CPM method, is a type of methodology that works by estimating the completion time for each individual task. Following this, the project team can proceed to outline the project in its entirety based on the timings they agree upon. The CPM generally categorises tasks into three groups:

  • tasks for completion first

  • tasks for completion together

  • tasks for completion last

The main features of CPM project management methodology are:

  • prioritisation of different tasks based on their urgency of completion

  • completion of tasks based on a previously outlined schedule

  • organisation of the overall project process

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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