There has been a rapid increase in the number of project management methodologies ever since the digital age showed up. More number of options is always good but it makes selecting the right method for you fairly difficult.
A lot of businesses fail because they are not aware of which methodologies are best suited for what. This results in lower output and a bad experience with project management methodologies.
Specificity is what the world is moving towards nowadays. You cannot use the same methodology for several purposes or organizations.
It would be time-taking to read about all the project management methodologies available. We But fret not, we have rounded up the best project management methodologies for you to use this year.
What is Project Management Methodology?
Before moving on to the types of project management methodologies, let’s discuss what a project management methodology is.
Briefly, it is the method by which you carry out the project.
What I mean by that is that is the set of processes that have a unique way of planning, executing, and controlling projects.
According to PMI, the definition is:
“A methodology is a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline”
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Project Management Methodology
As discussed above, the core reason behind the failure of projects is the selection of the wrong project management methodology. This issue is often overlooked and the project team or the manager is blamed straight away.
However, that is not the case most of the time. Here are the things you need to consider before choosing any project management methodology:
- The industry you are in
- Project timeline
- Project budget
- The complexity of the project
- Resource requirement
- Stakeholder requirement
- Company competencies
How to Choose the Right Project Management Methodology?
Next, let’s look at how you can take this decision of selecting the best project management methodology:
- Identify the variables that will be important for your project.
- Determine the metrics that will be affected by the methodology
- Compare project management methodologies with each variable of the project
- Look at the best fit by evaluating the risk factor and processes of each methodology in context with your project
- Take your team on-board; do not make this decision alone
- Implement the methodology in the right way.
Remember, it’s like selecting the right tool for the job. Project management methodologies are to be taken seriously. You can’t open a screw with a hammer, can you?
If modern times have taught us one thing for sure, it is the success of collaborations and combinations.
The hybrid approach has become of the most-used methods in almost every sector. And why shouldn’t it be? It has nothing but great benefits for the companies.
PMI has reported that almost 89% of the project professionals implement hybrid project management practices when it comes to handling projects!
This means that if you can’t select between two or three methodologies, it’s better to use them together!
18 Best Project Management Methodologies
Table of Contents
The Top Project Management Methodologies for 2023:
And that you are all caught by, here’s what you are here for; our 18 top, hand-picked methodologies for your business:
We are going to start with the famous names first.
Agile is the Tom Cruise of project management methodologies; the name everyone is familiar with.
Over the years, it has used extensively in almost every sector of the business world.
In short, Agile is an iterative, flexible, and ‘build process’ methodology that helps project managers to come up with better results.
Being an Agile team means that you can handle unforeseen circumstances pretty well. I say this because the Agile process is based upon revisiting the takes and activities whenever a change or fix is required.
It is the most adaptable methodology there is. Whether the client wants something new or your team has come up with a better idea, you can execute the change easily with this method.
Alright, I want to clear something first; Scrum is more of a framework than a methodology.
However, since its also a ‘way of executing the project’, it wouldn’t have been fair to not mention it in the list.
Scrum borrows several things from Agile but its not a mini-Agile methodology.
This methodology is focused on breaking the tasks and activities into further sub-tasks – called Sprints – to execute and handle them in a better way.
It does not have the benefit of adaptivity as Agile but it remains a popular choice among the corporate world.
Scrum is concerned about improving communication, teamwork, and the speed of development within a project.
Scrum was originally designed for software development. Due to this fact, companies do not adopt Scrum as a whole, rather they take some parts of it and complement their methodologies.
Self-managing, cross-functional, and small teams should work efficiently.
Here’s a methodology that works on the visualization of tasks to help teams keep up with the progress of the project.
Kanban was developed by Toyota back in 1940!
The methodology is based upon reducing the work in process, get things done faster, and have the best collaborative processes by allowing every member of the project team to see the timeline in real-time.
For this, Kanban boards or cards are used which are displayed over a common platform where every concerned person can view/edit the tasks or activities. Each task can be labeled as, for instance, ‘in progress’, ‘completed’ or ‘delayed’ and can be viewed by everyone.
It is the choice of the majority of the modern, tech-loving companies.
Kanban project management methodology is all about ‘fun’ in doing work. Top project management tools like Trello or nTask use the Kanban method to facilitates the project manager.
And we are back to praising the Hybrids!
Scrumban is the result of the efforts by companies to try and get the best of both worlds from Kanban and Scrum
As the name implies, Scrumban takes the best parts of Kanban and Scrum and combine them to make a better methodology.
Scrumban focuses on the breakdown of tasks like in Scrum to find easier ways of handling them. This also allows Scrumban to reduce work in progress and focus on one task/sub-task at a time. it drastically decreases the chances of errors.
From Kanban, Scrumban adopts the visualization technique to keep everyone on board. Moreover, it takes the ease-of-use of Kanban to make it more user friendly.
Another concept by the Japanese, Lean is all about reducing the ‘waste’ in the production process. This waste can be of different types; time, cost, procedures, human capital, etc.
Lean focuses on archive results quicker and saving the company time, cost, and effort. In other words, Lean is all about streamlining operations by removing bottlenecks from the processes.
To really know about Lean, you must know about the 3M; Muda, mura, muri:
- Muda is about eradicating waste
- Mura is about eliminating variations
- Muri is about removing the overload
Together, these 3 are the main areas of focus of a Lean management group. by eliminating all 3, Lean methodology ensures high-quality products/services in the best possible time.
6. Rational Unified Process
Let’s take a break from the popular terms and look into methodologies that are not very popular, but they should be.
The rational unified process or RUP is a software development framework. It basically breaks down the project process into four stages:
- Inception stage
- Elaboration stage
- Construction stage
- Transition stage
As the name suggests, RUP works with unifying the whole process to ensure zero errors and maximum efficiency.
Each of these 4 stages ends when you achieve certain milestones. Also, RUP is an iterative process – like Scrum.
However, it differs from scur, as it gives increased emphasis on each iteration until perfection is achieved. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that it takes a lot of time for each iteration.
7. eXtreme Programming methodology (XP)
We have another software development project management methodology on our hands! The reason that we have included these is that the software development sector is the biggest user of project management methodologies.
XP is similar to Scrum as it focuses on improved communication between team members, encourages simplicity, and client feedback.
But it differs in its rules and methods. In simpler, words, this methodology is strictly designed for software development only. It is hard to implement it in other sectors.
eXtreme programming methodology includes Pair programming and Continuous integration among other processes to make the deliverable more desirable to the client by prioritizing changing requirements
It is often referred to as SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle).
Waterfall project management methodology is a rather simple methodology that does justice to its name. The main idea behind this methodology is strong planning and then implementing it as efficiently as possible.
The work cycles are simple but very long. Everything moves according to the preplanned workflow. A successive task can’t be started unless the current task is finished – hence the name waterfall.
The work cascades as it is meant to be. However, this simple methodology causes the project to be less flexible.
Waterfall is more like an old-school methodology. The shortcomings of this methodology gave birth to better, flexible processes like Agile.
Scrum vs Kanban vs Agile vs Waterfall – A side-by-side comparison
It was developed by the UK government back in 1996 as an IT project mangiest method.
‘PRINCE’ stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. The methodology is a process-oriented way of handling projects. Every stage is broken has its processes and flow.
Each stage is focused individually so nothing is left to chance. This process helps the team to achieve better results as excellent stage by stage execution of the projects reduces the chances of errors.
PRINCE2 methodology is based on eight high-level processes. Also, it gives greater control to the teams in fixing bugs and managing changing customer demands.
There’s no better project management methodology for IT projects.
10. PMI’s PMBOK
Here’s something right from the experts.
Project management institute or PMI has its own take of doing things. Considered by some as a reference book PMBOK gives clear instructions on how to carry out a project in the best way possible.
It divides the project into 5 states:
It was developed to bring improvements to the Waterfall methodology. Additionally, it is advised to use it with PRINCE2 as it can have better results that way.
11. Crystal Method
This is a different kind of methodology than the ones we have discussed up till now. It focuses on the ‘human element’ more than the processes.
Crystal methodology implies that if the team is managed well, it will work with better understanding and produce super results.
This also means that you can adjust the processes and tools to fit the requirements of the team and not the other way around.
Due to this fact, it is an absolute winner among many software development firms.
Here’s a few additional reasons that why you should go for Crystal:
- Fast delivery
- Consistent improvement
- Extremely Adaptive
- Very lightweight
That’s’ a cool name to have for a project management methodology. Projects Integrating Sustainable Methods or PRiSM is mostly used in the real estate of the construction business.
The key focus areas of this methodology are preplanning and the environmental factors where the construction work is to be done.
Furthermore, 6 elements are of extreme importance to PRiSM:
- Commitment & Accountability
- Ethics & Decision Making
- Integrated & Transparent
- Principle & Values-Based
- Social & Ecological Equity
- Economic Prosperity
PRiSM is your number one choice if you are looking to reduce waste, better energy consumption, and when carbon footprint is an exigent factor.
13. Critical Path Method
This method is one of the oldest, most reliable in project management history.
The critical path method or CPM lends perspective on the tasks and their timelines. It also allows you to determine which tasks can be delayed and which ones cannot.
Once you understand the timeframes associated with each task and their relative importance, managing your project becomes much easier.
If your project has many depend on tasks, CPM is your best choice. It is the only methodology that takes task dependencies into account or at least, gives importance to them.
Managers can avoid bottlenecks, optimizes resource utilization, and improve productivity using CPM.
Another technique that is used by many in combination with CPM is the PERT technique. Program Evaluation Review Technique or PERT is used for modeling, scheduling, and coordinating tasks within the project.
PERT allows the project team to identify crucial tasks, timeframes, and just like CPM – the best way to carry out these tasks.
Many leading software tools of today use the PERT/CPM technique to give a better picture of the project to the users.
15. Critical Chain Project Management
While we are at the ‘critical’ word, here’s another project management methodology that you can go for.
Critical chain project management is best suited when you have a tight deadline and you CANNOT afford to mess things up.
Here’s how it works: Critical chain project management or CCPM allocates resources to the task at hand rather than planning for subsequent tasks.
No matter what happens, managers stay on the planned track. Critical tasks are given special attention and no stone is left unturned for their completion.
If your project needs are static – do not change over time- you can use this simple yet impactful technique to finish the work on time.
Spiral is quite opposite to CCPM; it offers flexibility and revisiting each task for improvements.
It has 4 quadrants namely:
- Risk Evaluation
- Development and Execution
- Planning the Next Iteration
Quadrants are another name for project phases. Spiral focuses on each quadrant but does not imply the rule of doing it once, doing it well.
The Spiral Methodology works on iteration. The process of improvement, fixation of errors continues until the product is delivered. This makes the output super good.
It has great documentation control for executing an error-free delivery of the end product.
17. Rapid Application Development
Rapid application development or RAD is one of the modern methodologies which is widely used in creating mobile apps.
RAD works by working on a prototype and then improving it according to customer needs/requirements.
The team is focused on constant immurements to improve user experience. This methodology lets you dish out products faster.
However, it doesn’t work very well with complex projects.
18. Six Sigma
Last but certainly not least, Six Sigma is another fantastic option that you can go for.
This methodology was introduced by the Motorola company and gained popularity within a short span of time.
Six Sigma is focused on zero defects. Based on quality management techniques, Six Sigma method rarely has errors or issues, if implanted accurately.
Due to its outstanding approach towards product development, Six Sigma was used by Jack Welsh General Motors operations.
To Put It All Together…
Study every methodology thoroughly before deciding on the one that you want to use. If you have narrowed your choices down to 2 or 3 options, you can also go for a hybrid approach.
If the selected methodology doesn’t seem to work for you, there are a lot other of types to go for.