Project Management Methodologies. Which One Should I Use? (Part I)

Hello everybody!

For this last post in September, we want to pick up the thread of posts about the 6 key reasons for the failure in project management. In the next two posts, we are going to take a look to project management methodologies and try to answer the questions that someone may encounter when dealing with this subject.

What methProject Management Methodologiesodologies are there? What are the differences among them? Which one is the most suitable for me?

Rationale behind the project management methodologies

Let’s define a project as the set of linked activities that have a common goal which has to be achieved in a predefined time span and with a particular set of resources. There are 3 key elements in the development of these activities: people, processes and tools/technologies. And therefore, the first step to take is to organize them so that they are completely coordinated.

Project management methodologies started to be defined in a formal way by the US army during the 50s. The goal was to reduce the number of projects that became out of hand and to solve some common problems that appear in most projects:

  • The load of work that is planned is too low or too high.
  • Costs surpass the project budget.
  • The final result doesn’t have the expected quality or value.

In general, project management can be predictive or agile, and as in any other subject, there are supporters of one and the other.

Which one is most appropriate in each case depends on several factors, although, most importantly, they differ on where they put the emphasis on. Predictive approaches give more importance to the processes themselves, whereas the agile methodologies focus on the value or usefulness of the final result.

Predictive Project Management

This is the traditional or formal project management methodology. It is based on the following concepts:

  • Environment Stability. It starts from the assumption that all projects behave in a regular manner, following some kind of pattern. It expects that the environment is more or less static and predictable during the project development.
  • Predictability. The final result is defined in detail at the first stages of the project. The importance is placed on the processes and not in the final value of the product. Thus, the effort is oriented to plan and control the project time, expenses and resources.

The key idea behind predictive project management is that the work to be developed has to be planned correctly from the first minute. For that reason the final result is defined in detail at the beginning of the project, while it is expected that the environment is not going to change as much as to make the final result obsolete.

PMBok and Prince2 are examples of this kind of methodologies.

What about you? Do you know any other predictive methodology? Have you try any? We encourage you to share your experience with all the Doolphiers! :)


Up With Your Projects!

6 Responses to Project Management Methodologies. Which One Should I Use? (Part I)

August 25, 2010 ·

Prince 2 methodology seems to me too complicated, while PMBok is too common and cannot be applied to specific IT projects.
Agile Methodologies let turn a project into a series of short and higly “manageable” iterations.

Thanks for the post.

August 26, 2010 ·

Hello Eric!

Thank you very much for your comment. I agree with you. Agile methodologies fit better for IT projects. In those, the communication among team members and the use of prototypes for testing purposes is even more important than in other kinds of projects.

The next post will be about agile methodologies. I hope you like it :)


August 26, 2010 ·

Hey Rosa!
This is not a comment but an offer…

How about links exchnage?

I like your blog and want to exchange backlinks with you.
My website’s URL “My Management Guide – MyMG” is shown in the Comments form. The same is about my contact email.
Thanks. Looking forward…

August 27, 2010 ·

Hi Eric, thank you for your compliments. I have written an e-mail message to the address that you have provided.

Best regards!

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