6 types of project management methods for supervisors
What is the true definition of project management?
October 2, 2018

What is the true definition of project management? According to Wikipedia, project management is 'the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.'

It’s easier said than done to get team members organised around a project with any project management method. However, the benefits of adopting a project management methodology can help organisations improve their business process, increase team collaboration and work more productively.

Today, we will break down six types of project management methods and you'll learn best practices for choosing and implementing a methodology for your team.

Agile Project Management

The agile methodology is most commonly used for internal teams, such as software development teams. Projects that necessitate high levels of flexibility and a swift pace are a good fit for the agile project management method.

The work style for this method involves project managers breaking the project down into measured time periods called 'sprints' with specific deliverables. This approach is best for flexible, highly motivated teams that are adept at communicating with one another in real time due to ever-changing details and deadlines.

Traditional Project Management

Traditional project management is a classic, simple technique in the project management world. This method gathers the assortment of tasks needed to complete a project and provides a streamlined process for measuring progress and completion of tasks and goals.

The project manager's main purpose in traditional project management is to oversee the master plan and guide project members with coaching and feedback, providing resources and stepping in where needed to keep the timeline on track.

One thing to keep in mind regarding traditional project management is that it works best for organisations using small teams where project team members do not depend on other members to complete their responsibilities.

Many teams using this method find it helpful to use performance management software to track and measure progress towards task completion.

The Waterfall Method

This technique is called the 'waterfall' because, in this technique, tasks build upon one another and need to be done in an ordered sequence. Unlike the traditional approach, a waterfall methodology necessitates that project team members rely on other members of the team to successfully complete their tasks in order to get their own tasks done.

This method requires a high level of trust and accountability because project tasks must be completed in a specific order. Everyone in the project team must practice robust, frequent communication. If one member of the team falls off track, it can derail the entire project.

Promise-Based Management is often useful for the right projects using the waterfall method. In Promise-Based Management, co-workers make dedicated promises to one another in a transparent space to encourage accountability to goals and tasks.

The Six Sigma Method

Initially developed by Motorola, the Six Sigma project management method is centered around the goals of risk management, reducing wasted time and resources, increasing profit margins, raising customer satisfaction and improving the project process.

The word 'sigma' means measurement from how far a certain method deviates from the perfect ideal. Six Sigma embraces a structured methodology, giving each team member defined roles and responsibilities.

This method relies highly on accurate data collection so the project process can be improved with data analysis. Six Sigma is a unique method that is beneficial for the right projects with external partners, as it offers businesses and their customers benefits such as:

  • Consistent, reliable, successful results
  • Clear performance expectations
  • Enhanced customer value
  • Expedited improvement rates  
  • Learning opportunities with specific data
  • Strategic opportunities for change

The Adaptive Method

The title of adaptive project management is self-explanatory and practical. Adopting this method implies that the project team is not only open to but requires an adaptive, flexible approach.

The scope of the project may be broad, but the amount of time necessary to finish the project and the budget are constants. The project scope can be altered as long as the end goal is getting accomplished.

Organisations often adopt adaptive project management to allow new ideas and opportunities that can improve the overall outcome to enter the project process at any time.

The Critical Path Method

Similar to the waterfall technique, the critical path method is a systematic model that is well suited for projects where tasks are dependent on one another.

Project managers must supervise interrelated tasks to ensure deadlines are managed and met. Typically, work tasks are put into a structure that tracks and measures current progress versus the proposed timeline. Milestones and deliverables are continually measured to make sure every team member is on track and the appropriate interventions are made as needed.

Critical path project management uses a different type of time management because it accounts for the critical and non-critical priorities and how long it will take to accomplish each into the project plan. This particular method is often used in the scientific and manufacturing industry since it relies heavily on the duration of tasks.  

A focus of robust measurement and detailed prioritization of each task has the outcome of completing the project in less time. Project managers have a distinct, pre-determined idea of the length of the project, giving them clear expectations and motivation to organise the project team in the most efficient way possible.

Choosing a Project Management Methodology

No matter what your project goals are or what type of service your organisation offers, choosing the right project management methodology is key to getting the positive business outcomes you want.

Once project managers choose from the different methodologies that best suit their project type, they need the tools and resources to know what team members are doing, along with the ability to track progress in real time.

Samewave is social performance management software that gives project management professionals a way to efficiently deploy any project management method. Team members can create, track, measure and communicate about goals and tasks in one transparent space that simplifies the process.

Move your project management plan off the whiteboard and into a place where your project can fully collaborate to reach organisational goals. Best of all, Samewave is free, so sign up today and start saving time, collaborating more and driving the most effective business results.

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