What are Project Management Methodologies and Which One to Choose for your Project?

Droptica

Implementing projects has become a part of the rhythm of life for the vast majority of companies and organizations, regardless of the industry in which they operate. No wonder that the need for effective, successful project management has become a goal in itself, and a dense network of methodologies has emerged around project management in order to achieve it. In our article, we’ll present you some of them and advise you on how to choose the best methodology for your project.

Why may you need project management methodologies?

Project management as a discipline was born from the combination of several types of engineering, as early as the beginning of the 20th century. However, it took five decades to understand that without the right tools and techniques, achieving project success may be just a dream. A project, as a highly complex undertaking that requires the involvement of significant but limited resources, is characterised by high levels of uncertainty and risk. A properly selected project management method provides ways to deal with this, as well as with uncertainty and complexity, so that the project goal is achieved. By using recognized project methodologies, we can be sure that projects are managed in an optimal way, bringing business benefits within the project budget and specified time set.

According to the KPMG report from October 2019, nearly 70% of the surveyed Polish companies use their own internal proprietary project management methodology. Self-created solutions are considered the most effective because they are tailored to the specifics of the projects and the functioning of the organization. However, to develop your own project management method, you should rely on the commonly accepted and proven methodologies. Further in the article, we’ll present the most popular methodologies and tell you about our own project management method that works well at Droptica.

Waterfall Project Management

Waterfall works well in projects where the products and scope of work are constant. It may not be the best choice for comprehensive IT projects, where the market is very dynamic and frequent changes are commonplace. The Waterfall method is less flexible than other project management methodologies because it isn’t possible to go back to the previous development phases. Therefore, after completing the planning phase, we must follow through with what was originally planned. What else makes Waterfall stand out?

Advantages:

  • Good project documentation helps to control its course.
  • The process is linear so its course is easy to understand or predict.
  • At the planning stage, the client can see what will happen and when step by step (at least according to plans).

Disadvantages:

  • Any changes to the design can’t be made in a flexible manner.
  • The first changes are presented and put into action only after all the planned tasks have passed through every design stage.

Agile

What does an iteration mean?

Kanban

The Kanban board in Jira, a project management tool. Source: Atlassian

Kanban is a perfect fit for projects that require a quick response to change while reducing the planning. It may not work well if the project is characterized by a high level of complexity and has multiple stages of implementation.

Advantages:

  • Perfectly visualizes the current status of work.
  • It helps to identify the tasks that are bottlenecks and directly affect the pace of task completion and downtime.

Disadvantages:

  • It requires constant control and updating to correctly visualize the current course of the project.
  • It won’t suit interdisciplinary, large project teams and task-rich projects well.
  • It’s a very basic method, so it may not be enough for effective project management.

Scrum

3 roles in Scrum

Scrum Master cares about adhering to the Scrum rules. They’re a coach, a mentor, and help the project team work effectively by identifying and reducing the bottlenecks. They make the team focused on achieving a common goal, ensure continuous improvement of the process and the value delivered to the client.

Development Team is a self-organising and self-managing team that carries out tasks included in the sprint backlog (the set of tasks to be completed in a given sprint), working closely with the Product Owner.

5 events in Scrum

Sprint planning is an event where the development team and Product Owner jointly define the priorities and scope of a future sprint.

Daily meeting is a daily 15-minute-long meeting of the development team with the Scrum Master or the Product Owner. During that time the team talks about what has been achieved the previous day, what will be done today, and reports whether there are any problems that may affect the success, that is — achieving the sprint’s goal.

Sprint Review is a meeting that consists in presenting the achieved results of a sprint. Of course, the review takes place at the end of a given sprint and is often combined with a retrospective. The entire project team — developers, the Scrum Master and the Product Owner — always participates in the sprint review. It isn’t uncommon for the stakeholders (individuals or organizations involved or interested in the project) to also be invited to the meeting.

Sprint retrospective is a meeting where the project team discusses the past sprint to determine what could’ve been done better and to be able to implement it in the next sprint.

3 artifacts

Sprint backlog is a set of tasks from the product backlog, the completion of which will lead to achieving the sprint goal.

Product increment is the goal of every sprint, the specific value that the project team provides at the end of a given sprint.

When to use Scrum methodology?

Advantages:

  • Focus on continuous improvement of the project implementation process.
  • Ability to divide the project into smaller parts that can be implemented in accordance with the client’s priorities.

Disadvantages:

  • The success of the project depends on the close cooperation of the team and compliance with the Scrum rules and regulations.
  • The lack of breaks between sprints may cause the project team members to burn out quickly.

Scrumban

Design on demand is Kanban’s domain, but Scrumban borrowed more from this methodology. As in Kanban, workflow visualization is very important in the Scrumban methodology. The use of a Kanban board provides all team members with constant access to project information.

Source: Kissflow

Scrumban works well for difficult, demanding projects, full of unexpected changes of priorities. It’s particularly perfect for project management consisting in improving a newly-created product or creating Proof of Concept solutions, where individual functionalities will be extended with successive iterations.

Advantages:

  • It perfectly visualizes the workflow in the project.
  • It helps to quickly identify which tasks contribute to the formation of bottlenecks.
  • It cuts down the complex rules and theories, and reduces the number of meetings, which saves time and increases the efficiency of the project team.

Disadvantages:

  • Every team member can work on no more than one task at a time.
  • Giving up the daily meetings limits the role of the Project Manager in controlling the process and their possible rapid response.

What methodology do we use at Droptica?

Our very own project management method is characterised by agility, and during its creation we relied, for example, on the Scrum, Kanban and Scrumban methodologies.

As in Scrum, sprints set the rhythm for our work. We deliver value within short iterations, but we don’t always plan the entire sprint with perfect accuracy. Thanks to this, we leave some space for a change of priorities and implementation of small, but very important from a business point of view, tasks appearing “on the fly”. Scrumban gives us the freedom to choose the tasks to be performed. Thanks to its flexibility, the project team can always focus on the most important tasks.

For most projects, we use a Kanban board, which perfectly visualizes the progress of the team’s work and makes it easier for the Project Manager to remove possible bottlenecks. We decompose the requirements and estimate them twice a week during backlog grooming sessions. Before transferring tasks to a sprint, we make sure that they are in line with the client’s expectations (in terms of both budget and functions). We also rely on the needs of the company with which we collaborate in the case of reporting. We provide reports in accordance with the individual needs of the clien t, not necessarily on the basis of a sprint.

We meet every day for daily meetings and the Project Manager takes over the role of the Scrum Master in most projects.

We are guided by continuous development and process improvement, which is why retrospectives are held not only as part of the project sprints. We meet periodically to discuss the work of project teams and verify the effectiveness of internal processes and the tools used.

Which methodology is the best for your project?

To choose the right methodology, we recommend looking for the answers to a few key questions:

  1. How involved and available will the client or end user be in the project implementation process?
  2. What are the client’s workflow tracking needs?
  3. Does the client anticipate introducing a large number of changes?
  4. How well-documented is the product specification?
  5. How quickly must the product resulting from the project implementation be delivered?
  6. What is the experience of the organization or members of the project team in working with a given method?

If the answers to the above questions and the knowledge you already have about popular project management methods are still not enough, and you feel lost among the many project management methodologies, our Drupal agency will be happy to help you. Together, we’ll take a look at your project, talk about its implementation and develop clear rules of cooperation. We’ll properly adjust the way of managing your project to ensure its success.

Originally published at https://www.droptica.com.

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