There are a vast number of project management methodologies that can be used, and often the one that is selected is a matter of personal preference. These methodologies are essentially the different ways in which projects are started, planned, and executed, to their successful completion. And depending on the industry or type of project, a different methodology can be appropriate. So what are some of the common methodologies?
First, there is the approach that is considered traditional project management, which involves a step-by-step process that goes through five stages: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and completion. Each of these stages is broken down into however many tasks are needed, and the subsequent stage only begins when the preceding one is completed. This type of linear progression is most appropriate for projects where there are generally no significant changes, and tasks follow along a linear path.
Then there’s what is known as the Critical Path Method, whereby each task has a time duration associated with it along with the resources that are needed to carry out the project within that timeframe. By using this method, the end-date can be clearly determined, and any deviation will extend the project end date. By having the project laid out in this manner, all tasks are aligned to bring about the maximum time-efficiency that might be possible.
Critical Chain Project Management focuses on resources rather than the time constraints used in the Critical Path Method. What this means is that the critical chain methodology lays out the sequence of tasks that the team members are able to handle in an efficient manner. This methodology is best used in situations when time schedules aren’t quite as strict, and there are limited resources, such that tasks can be distributed in a collaborative fashion.
Another popular project management methodology is that of Event Chain Methodology, in which projects have tasks that initiate chains of events, and each task when completed causes a new event with a new task. This is significantly different from methodologies that rely on a linear manner of project execution, but it can be useful when there are events that cannot always be anticipated.
There are numerous other methodologies as well, of course. The positive aspect of following a particular method is that there are accompanying frameworks and tools that can be used in order to facilitate the process. The negative is that if one is too wedded to a methodology that isn’t working, a good deal of time can be lost or wasted trying to hew to that framework, when earlier adaptation to a different methodology would have been a better path to follow.