The Best Project Management Methodology for Your Business
by Jeroen Graafland on January 25, 2022
An effective project management strategy has always been vital for keeping things on track, but it’s even more important in today’s work environment.
More people than ever are working remotely or in hybrid models, which makes it especially challenging to keep everyone on the same page. Important tasks and due dates can easily get lost in the shuffle if you don’t have a system in place.
For that reason, it’s important to choose the right project management methodology for your team (and your particular project).
Let’s go over some popular project management philosophies and methodologies and when each one works best. We’ll also talk about the capabilities you need in project management tools to carry out those methodologies and how to decide which option is best for your team.
Traditional/Waterfall Project Management
A traditional approach to project management is linear from start to finish. Traditional project management is sometimes called waterfall project management due to its sequential nature of the tasks.
Of all the project management approaches, the traditional method places the most emphasis on clear processes from day one. As such, it’s more rigid than other methodologies, especially when it comes to processes.
Traditional or waterfall project management as a methodology tends to work best with hands-off clients and large-scale projects. In the traditional trajectory, projects have clearly defined goals, deliverables, and deadlines.
The critical path method is a particular methodology that falls under the umbrella of traditional/waterfall project management. When you apply the critical path methodology, you focus on meeting deadlines as quickly and efficiently as possible while reducing costs. Leveraging the critical path method is important for very complex projects with interdependent tasks that need to be done in a particular order, like building a house.
Agile Project Management
Agile project management is a project management philosophy that emerged in the early 2000s as an alternative to the rigidity of traditional project management. The agile method is much more iterative than it is linear, allowing for adjustment and adaptation as you go. On the whole, agile project management puts more of an emphasis on results than processes themselves. Therefore, it’s a much for a flexible way of doing things than the traditional, linear method.
Agile project management has gained more popularity in recent years, as more teams work from home and people need more flexibility. The agile method tends to work best with hands-on clients and for small and medium projects. Projects where goals and deliverables might evolve or the client isn’t exactly sure what they’re looking for are typical candidates for using the agile method.6
Scrum project management is a particular methodology that falls under the umbrella of agile project management. Scrum breaks down projects into smaller pieces and shorter mini-timelines. Deliverables are then presented at the end of each delivery cycle, also known as a sprint. This allows for iterative feedback from the client throughout the project.
A hybrid approach to project management
Stumped on which project management method you should go with?
Not every project fits neatly into a box in terms of which methodology works best. Some nuanced projects require a hybrid approach, where you take aspects of both traditional and agile project management to create a more customized strategy.
The hybrid model for project management uses 5 phases: planning, initial requirements and design, iterative agile sprints, quality assurance (QA), and deployment.
If you go with the hybrid approach, you look at the project management process like putting a puzzle together to make a picture: First, you design the picture. Then, you break it into pieces and divide it into sections, so you can start putting it back together. Work together with a team to put the pieces together until you create the finished product. (Archer, S. & Kaufman, C. 2013)
The hybrid way to manage projects allows you to get linear and granular when you need to and to adapt and change with ease when it’s warranted. For this reason, all sorts of industries go about their project management this way to cover all the bases.
Software options for different project management methods
Your tech stack can have a big impact on your project management success. Some project management software solutions are designed for either traditional or agile methodologies, which isn’t great if you want to use a hybrid approach or change approaches depending on the client/project.
For more traditional project management, you need a platform that can show you the big picture in terms of timeline, budget, etc. But you’ll also need something that can get very granular and automated with areas like time and expense, invoicing, etc.
For more agile project management, you need a platform with robust task management features to give you a more drilled-down view of individual tasks, sprints, etc. And because the agile method allows for pivots and flexibility, that can only happen when collaboration and communication are on point. An agile project management solution should make sure the collaboration is seamless.
For a hybrid approach to project management for your organization, look for a platform that can do both. It’s even better if there are ample integrations available, so you can really tailor your methodology with various platforms.
Project management methods in sum: traditional vs agile vs hybrid
All 3 of the major project management methods offer advantages, depending on your industry, the scope of your project, the size of your team/organization, and your client. Traditional project management workflows are still very popular in the realm of construction and architecture. At the same time, the agile method is extremely popular with software developers and other professional services organizations.
The best path forward? Look for project management software that can support both project management philosophies. This way, you can alter your approach when it fits the project, whenever you want to.
PSOhub is cheap, all-in-one project management software that is smart and flexible enough to let you leverage traditional, agile, and hybrid methodology styles. With self-driving features and virtually everything you need to manage your projects– including integrating with your favorite tools– PSOhub now has users in over 40 countries around the world.