In our last two blogs, we saw what project management is and the phases that are involved in the successful completion of a project and also the role of the project manager in all of it. So now, let us look at a few interesting project management approaches that are used for various different scenarios.
Since we now have a decent understanding of the overall project management process, it is useful to consider how the projects are to be managed. A traditional, old school approach is to just define and deliver the project at hand through distinct phases. There are, however, a number of other approaches and we shall concentrate on a few of them one by one.
The Agile Project Management Process is a value-centred method of project management. It basically lets us break the project down into smaller phases or cycles. It is extremely flexible and it suited to projects with dynamic traits. Project managers working in this environment treat milestones as “sprints”; the goal is being able to continuously adapt to sudden changes or new features that are elicited by the client feedback. It is best suited for small software projects made up of a highly collaborative team or a project that requires frequent iterations.
Originating in the UK, PRINCE2 is an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It has come to be accepted in the UK as best practice for project management thanks to its very flexible nature. With Prince2 the outputs are clearly defined and there is a business justification for every project.
This approach is well suited for projects that need to be delivered on time and are to be developed well within cost estimates. The roles are predetermined before the kickoff of the project and every member of the project is well aware of their responsibilities towards to successful execution of the project.
The Waterfall Methodology is a more traditional approach to project management and is more commonly used in the manufacturing or construction sectors. The model takes a linear approach towards project management with the project being broken down into sequences with the kickoff of a phase dependent on the completion of the preceding one.
This method primarily consists of 5 stages:
Idea Engineering – System Design – Implementation – Testing & Validation – Maintenance
With Scrum, the planning is just enough to kick off the project, unlike the Waterfall model as it is based on the Agile framework. It is useful when the client is looking for a quick market launch because the entire process focuses on team collaboration. The Scrum master facilitates the scrum sessions (sprints) which occur within a time frame of 1-3 weeks. The result is an iterative process that significantly saves the company a lot of time and money.
PERT stands for Project Evaluation Review Technique and is most often combined with theCritical Path Method. This project management method is a favorite of most manufacturing companies as it takes into account the time taken to complete a task. Time is an important factor in project management as it also determines the budget for the project.
ADAPTIVE PROJECT FRAMEWORK
Often, there is difficulty in specifying complete requirements at the beginning of the project and that happens to be the major reason as to why present-day projects fail to meet the requirements of the Traditional Project Management Approach.
The solution to this dilemma lies in the adaptive project framework; a process that was created out of the need to adapt to the continuously changing phases of a project.
EXTREME PROGRAMMING (XP)
This short life-cycle method aims to improve product quality, as well as guarantee client satisfaction. Its characteristics and principles make for a project management team that strives for excellence in the development process. XP is particularly well-suited to help the small software development team succeed.
The Kanban project management process does away with the sprints and milestones that are attributed to the scrum and traditional methods of managing projects respectively. It focusses on managing time, project scope and budget, the 3 factors that determine the success of any project.
The idea behind Kanban is continuous delivery, especially when combined with the scrum methodology. It uses a system of visual cues that let the project team know what is expected of tasks within the project in relation to quantity and quality as well as when the tasks are expected to be accomplished.
Along with these different approaches, which as we have seen, cater to the needs that evolve out of different kinds of projects, we also have software tools such as VComply that help to constantly keep a track of what is going on in the organization; what work is being done by whom, at what time, etc. Therefore, it is an excellent tool for the project manager to use if he wants to keep being updated constantly about the project at hand.