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Project management methodologies

Project management methodologies

Understanding and experience will influence the method in project management

Project Management Methodologies are a series of different processes designed to assist project managers and those overseeing or involved with projects. The goal of using these methodologies is to complete the tasks required for the project faster and with strategies in place to handle problems should they arise. The methodology guides you throughout the project, giving you steps to follow and targets to meet from the start of the project to its completion.

Understanding methodologies

Methodologies for project management are about specifying what tasks need to be undertaken, and when to do them in order to maximise the use of time and resources. They will outline which tasks to complete first, bearing in mind subsequent tasks that rely on the previous ones being completed. The project manager should also introduce risk management strategies in case any unforeseen 'hiccups' occur. The methodologies used in projects management help to define the scope of the project, time constraints, what resources are available and when the project needs to be delivered.

Different project management methodologies

There are a number of methodologies that can be applied to project management, depending upon your project scope and requirements. Among the most frequently used project management methodologies are the following:

  • Agile Methodology - This defined as a methodology that aims to empower teams, encourage customer involvement and manage change or risk throughout the project. The focus with this methodology is on the development of teams, project monitoring and responsiveness to change, with continued communication being an important aspect throughout the life of the project.

  • Waterfall Methodology - With this method, the use of teams is also an important aspect, with the establishment of goals and clear timeliness a key focus. Teams are assigned different aspects or modules of the project to take responsibility for, passing things along as goals are reached or assigned tasks are completed. Critics of this method believe that it is not responsive enough to changes in project scope, and that communication of problems down the line is not efficient.

    See How to create a clear project plan.

  • Change management methodology - This is often considered the most effective system of project management, with many project managers favouring this over other methods. The focus of this system is preparing for change and having contingencies in place to facilitate change. If a problem arises, the change management methodology allows for part of the project to stop while changes are made before it continues again. To ensure this process works satisfactorily, everybody involved must understand how it works and be prepared to work in accordance with the underlying ideas of this methodology.

    There are many different project management methodologies, which go beyond the scope considered here. The key to finding the most appropriate methodology is to understand precisely what you're work requirements are, take stock of the resources available and select a methodology that allows for the most suitable management of those things throughout the lifecycle of the project. In doing this, it will become easier to evaluate which methodology will be more effective in your particular scenario. An experienced project manager may find it easiest to work with a methodology he or she has used previously. Being adaptable, however, means that the method of project management used can be based upon its merits in context of the particular project being undertaken.

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