Top Project Management Methodologies: Which Is the Best Fit for Your Team’s Success?

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Project management can either be the key to your company’s success or the problem that holds it back. So, instead of trying to improve how your company manages projects, it’s worth considering the very model you use to begin with.

The Top 3 Management Methodologies

Instead of reinventing the wheel, consider the following three methodologies that are already proven to work.

1. Agile

If you work in the software world, you’ve probably heard of Agile before. It was originally introduced in 2001 with the Manifesto of Software Development. Since then, the management methodology has spread to a number of other industries, too. For example, Agile Marketing has proven to be incredibly popular.

The guiding principle of Agile is the incremental approach. If we use software as an example, the process used to begin with customer input. After that, the development could begin. When that step was finished, testing would be done before the platform was delivered.

With Agile, software projects are broken down into user stories, which help illustrate desired functionality. These stories are prioritized, so teams can focus on the most important ones first. As each story is completed – usually in two-week spans called sprints – they’re delivered to the client for review.

This approach not only involves the customer more in the entire process but, by doing so, also ensures that any flaws in the software are caught early and fixed. Again, this method works for all kinds of endeavors, too, not just software development.

2. Waterfall

The Waterfall project management methodology begins with a much more formal planning step. The goal is to sufficiently capture all of the project’s requirements upfront so as to reduce the chances of losing any key requirements.

Another advantage for many companies is that its framework supports managerial control and departmentalization. This approach is much more like an assembly line. The project moves through different stages of development. It looks like this:

  • Requirements
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Testing
  • Maintenance

Unlike Agile, there are no iterative steps involved. One potential drawback, though, is that it doesn’t provide the same opportunities for revision. Once the project reaches the testing stage, it is extremely difficult to turn back and make changes.

Of course, Agile is not perfect, either. Waterfall fits into traditional operations far better, for one thing. Fortunately, companies can also pick a hybrid version.

3. Hybrid

The Agile-Waterfall Hybrid methodology has become a popular alternative to choosing between the two. One of the main reasons for this is that a lot of companies are hesitant to jump straight into Agile, which is radically different than most conventional project management approaches.

With the hybrid methodology, the Waterfall’s initial stage is kept. Again, this tends to reassure those who are otherwise skeptical about the Agile methodology. However, once planning is complete, Agile steps take over, delivering the benefits of iteration, flexibility, and collaboration.

So Which One Is Better?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all management methodology.

Agile is definitely taking over in the fast-paced world of marketing where customers respond quickly. This is extremely important. You need customers and/or subject matter experts who can be a part of the process during every iteration. Otherwise, Agile won’t be much use.

Waterfall is superior when you don’t have this kind of interaction or when you have the luxury of a prolonged planning process. A basic example would be something like building a bridge. You’re going to spend a lot of time planning it, but you can’t go back-and-forth with the consumer to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

The hybrid version is a great stepping stone for companies that eventually want to be completely Agile but need some time to adjust. It’s also great for organizations that work on a range of projects and need the flexibility to jump from one to another.

Your leadership team will be best off exploring both methodologies to ensure you make the right choice from these three very capable options.

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