Project Management Methodologies: The Framework for Success

project management methodologiesProject management methodologies provide users a guide that can be used to successfully complete their project.  I’m sure by now we have all realized that being organized allows us to complete our work faster and more effectively.  Project management methodologies work in the same way.  They help to guide us through the project process by giving us controls that can be used to guide us through each step of the project.  If you have never managed a project before, check out the intro to project management course to learn the principles of project management, having a good grasp of these will help you to grasp project management methodologies more efficiently.

Project management methodologies consist of five process groups and a control system.  There are several terms for the different types of project management methods that are around, we will review the most popular shortly.  But, for now let’s review the processes that each of the methods use.

  1. project management methodologiesAnalyze
  2. Develop
  3. Plan
  4. Execute
  5. Review

Analyze

Every project that has ever been developed has started with an idea.  A group is then put together to determine the nature of the project and its scope.  If this step is not done well, the odds are that the project will not meet the businesses needs and the project could be a failure.  You see the project scope defines the goals of the project during every step of the way, in other words each step of the project should be broken down into manageable and targeted goals.  The project controls needed give an understanding of the business environment and making sure that any and all necessary controls are incorporated into the project.  Any areas of deficiency should be reported immediately and recommendations made to correct them moving forward.  Analyze any business effectively using the tools that you will need with Learn Business Process Analysis and use them to create your project plan.  The first document that needs to be created is the project charter.  The charter will be used to define what exactly needs to be done to successfully complete the project.  The charter will include:

  • Business case
  • Project scope and deliverables
  • Project Objectives
  • Any and all resources needed
  • Milestone plan and timeline
  • Project cost estimate
  • Risks and issues
  • Project dependencies

Develop

Once you’re the details of the project have been laid out and analyzed in the project scope.  Your next step is to design how the project will progress in detail.  You will need to plan the time, money, cost, and resources that will be needed to complete the project.

During this stage you want to make sure that the following tasks are completed:

  • Development of the project scope statement
  • Develop the project schedule
  • Develop the Project budget
  • Select the team that will working on the project
  • Create a work breakdown structure that lays out exactly what portion of the project each team member is responsible for.
  • Identify project deliverables
  • Risk planning
  • Communication planning

The project manager will take the information that is gathered during this step of the project and use it to get project approval from the client end to begin work.  Gain the skills needed to build an effective team, enroll in Team Building How to Build High Performing Teams to help make your team effective in every area of your project progression.

Plan

planninginmanagementThe planning process involves coordinating how the projects objectives will be accomplished.  You will have to coordinate the people and resources the project will need as well as integrating and performing activities needed to complete the project.  Project deliverables are produced as outputs from the processes defined in the project management plan.  Microsoft Project is a good tool to use to help you successfully plan your project.  If you have never used it, our Microsoft Project 2013 I highly suggest that you enroll in our great course and join others who want to learn how to create a fool-proof plan.

Execute

During the project execution phase, the steps that have previously been defined are put into place.  Each step of the project should continuously be reviewed to ensure that the steps and controls that were previously defined are being followed.  Any deviations should be noted and corrected immediately in order to keep the project on track.  To be able to successfully identify where the project may be deviating from its plan you must be able to answer the following questions.

  • Where are we?  Is the project where it should be when comparing its progress to the project timeline?
  • Where should we be? Are project variables like scope, cost and effort where they should be when you compare them against the project variables?
  • Are we on track? Are there any issues that need to be corrected or addressed that may affect the projects timeline?
  • What impact will changes have?  Use the change control process to help to identify and manage any changes that have been made and adjust the timeline if necessary.

Review

project management methodologiesProject review and closing is an often overlooked but important part of project methodology.  If you fail to review the project you won’t know which areas succeeded and which areas of your project plan could have used some improvement.  A project that is not closed will continue to consume resources that were only set aside to complete the project.  This continued consumption will be a waste of resources, time, energy, and money.  Review all areas of the project with your team and determine how the process succeeded and performed against the original project case.  You can use this information to help you plan for future projects.

Development Methods

Now that we’ve reviewed all of the processes that most project management methodologies use, let’s go over some of the most commonly used project development methods.

Waterfall

Waterfall methodology is the most commonly used project management method.  It is also frequently used in software development and construction.  The waterfall method has evolved since its inception but the original method included these high level phases. The waterfall method is a sequential design process that relies on each process being completed before the next phase can begin.

  1. Requirement Specifications
  2. Design
  3. Construction
  4. Integration
  5. Testing and debugging
  6. Installation
  7. Maintenance

Scrum

Scrum methodology relies on having deliverables scheduled for 30-day intervals.  Teams will have monthly meetings, or scrum sessions to review deliverables and track project progress.  Scrum methodology is great for those teams that may have previously struggled with prioritizing their work.  It allows those teams to focus on one item at a time instead of multiple items at once that will have to come together to form a deliverable.  The downside to the Scrum methodology is that it is only applicable in certain environments.  It will not work well in an environment that does not have the ability to dedicate their team members 100% to an individual project.

Project Controls

Regardless of the methodology used, project controls are required to keep the project on track, on time, and within budget.  Project controls are defined early in the project plan and end when the team completes their post project review.  Just like with every other part of a project, controls must also be continuously evaluated.  Too much control in place and the project could be too time consuming.  Too few controls and the project could be at risk.

When planning a project and managing its completion it is important to make sure that you have communicated well and taken the time to define the project from inception to completion.  Project method methodology gives you the framework you need to achieve success.