Pros and Cons of different approaches in Project Management
A project management methodology has a tremendous impact on a project’s success as it is the way how the manager organises the process and approaches the project. Generally, there are different approaches in project management as its world and practices are vast. With so many methodologies available from Waterfall methodology to Agile methodology and everything in between, it is not easy to pick one for your project. Project managers everywhere will say one is better than the other depending upon the project size and type. That is true. Projects come in all sizes and shapes, from multi-faceted and complex jobs that require input from everyone in the office, to highly-focused and small enterprises requiring only a few tasks. Is it possible to utilize any methodology for any project? In this article we will try to answer this question. Let us take a brief look at the approaches in project management available:
Agile like its name suggests is focused on an ability to adapt to changing parameters throughout the timespan of the project’s and a speedy turnaround. Being created with the tech industry in mind, Agile is helpful to boost creativity and improve productivity.
- Advantages: Modifiable and flexible goals make Agile a great methodology for software and creative projects, where it is possible to quickly adapt new innovations and ideas into the existing framework.
- Disadvantages: It is a highly hands-on project management method. So if you usually let the process work for itself, Agile is not a perfect solution for you.
It is the most understood and popular PM method in use today. It requires you to spend much time in the beginning of your project to create the outline of the requirements. Then, unlike Agile, the project will flow smooth and fast, like a waterfall. However, before moving on to the next phase, the previous should be 100% completed.
- Advantages: Are you looking for a high level of fault tolerance? Is your project highly complex or mission-critical? Waterfall would be a perfect choice for you. Additionally, outlining all the steps of the project from the start eliminates all possible risks.
- Disadvantages: Waterfall lacks the flexibility to deal with changeable and faced-paced projects as it is a rigid framework.
Critical Chain Method
While Agile and Waterfall focus more on tasks and schedules, Critical Chain method is designed for flexible skillsets with a lot of crossover. It aims to solve resource issues. Every project starts by setting out a chain of elements necessary to complete it, and then estimate completion dates and milestones.
- Advantages: Having all resources mapped out, collaboration on tasks is made easier as a project manager knows exactly who is available for a given project’s part.
- Disadvantages: It does not work well for small projects with a quick turnaround due to additional time buffers built into each phase of the project.
Six Sigma is a PM method created to be a quality-assurance system driven by data. Its name refers to the fact that Six Sigma aims to reduce bugs and defects improving quality across a project.
- Advantages: It does not just take into account one element of the process. Instead, Six Sigma looks at everything suggesting improvements before bugs are even detected.
- Disadvantages: Six Sigma is a data-driven system. Therefore, it can significantly limit creativity of the team.
Scrum is focused on sharp, short delivery of projects. It is a methodology that quickly adapts to shifting requirements winning more time for speedy response to changes and rapid feedback.
- Advantages: Scrum is all about quickly adapting to changing parameters and productivity.
- Disadvantages: If Scrum projects are not reigned in, they can easily bloat out of control.
PRINCE2 is a quite process oriented methodology. All projects are heavily documented; they are divided into phases, and each phase has its own process and plan to follow.
- Advantages: In huge corporate entities, PRINCE2 may be helpful for mitigating against certain risks, corporate planning and performance appraisals.
- Disadvantages: It is not easy to change something in a PRINCE2 project as the process of change requires lots of documentation to be amended and additional time for the team to adapt.
PRiSM is used primarily on large-scale construction projects. It aims to take environmental factors into account.
- Advantages: If your company is eco-friendly and wants to reap the benefits of distribution, waste management and reduced energy, PRiSM is for you.
- Disadvantages: PRiSM can’t work in isolation. Each level of the company should be on board with the principles of sustainability.
Lean project management is all about producing little project waste while empowering the team to deliver tons of value and produce awesome results. It is used by project managers to drive self-accountability in the team when they have to deal with tight budgets.
- Advantages: When deadlines are short, resources are scarce, and budgets are low, Lean can help you deliver quality work while making the cuts you need.
- Disadvantages: It relies on decisions being made decisively and quickly – and that dilly-dallying usually corrupts the process.
Spiral is a project management method created for long-term projects. Each phase of the project is divided into stages – analysis, risk evaluation, execution, and planning – and for every stage a PM undergoes multiple risk assessments and review processes.
- Advantages: Spiral works great for volatile or high-risk projects.
- Disadvantages: Spiral is not ideal for smaller projects as it is a more costly method.
Extreme Programming (XP)
Extreme Programming comes with frequent releases, constant collaboration, and short cycles of development keeping the team always on the edge of their seats. It is like productivity on acid. XP can be quickly adapted with new features and ideas.
- Advantages: XP can do wonders for productivity for a project team that needs a high production level.
- Disadvantages: Some people may find XP too unfocused and unstructured.
Kanban is created for teams that output a steady and slow stream of deliverables in a continuous workflow.
- Advantages: Kanban helps teams improve efficiency as a team can always see how the time is really being spent.
- Disadvantages: Since Kanban is designed for a steady, regular output, it can fall down after several major variations in customer’s demand.
Event Chain Methodology
It is an interesting PM framework as it is focused on planning for potential risks instead of focusing on tasks. ECM recognises and acknowledges the risks and gives recommendations what to do when an external event impacts the project.
- Advantages: ECM allows managers examining the relationship between external pressures and tasks. This makes projects more realistic.
- Disadvantages: Often, PM’s can get caught up in identifying risks, they can forget that an external event can actually present opportunities and be beneficial.
Rational Unified Process
RUP suits perfectly for software development projects. On the surface, it appears quite similar to Waterfall as it divides the project into a cycle of stages. However, RUP comes with a more iterative developmental approach. Each stage includes time spent exploring different ideas and defining requirements with a frequent stakeholder feedback.
- Advantages: Rational Unified Process took the best parts of Waterfall and incorporated them into a more iterative framework.
- Disadvantages: Similarly to Waterfall, RUP relies too heavily on stakeholder feedback and it is also process-heavy.
Those were some of the most popular project management frameworks, and the pros and cons of each. Which of them is right for your company, team, or project style? It all depends on how you want to structure your projects as well as the different factors at play. However, armed with this information, your team can choose the one that fits your PM style.