The Winning Formula: 8 Project Management Methods Experts Recommend [2023]

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Do you ever feel like your projects are always going off the rails? Like you’re constantly chasing your tail, trying to keep everyone on track? Yes, project management can be tough, even for the most experienced professionals.

There are a lot of pain points that come with project management. Things like scope creep, communication problems, and missed deadlines can all derail a project. And if you’re not careful, these problems can quickly snowball out of control.

There are a lot of great resources out there, like learning project management courses and project management for business books. These resources can teach you the skills you need to plan, execute, and deliver successful projects.

In the realm of project management for business, it is essential to adopt proven methods and frameworks that have stood the test of time. That’s why we reached out to industry experts and asked for their invaluable insights based on their personal experiences. They have generously shared their knowledge, highlighting the top project management methods that have consistently delivered exceptional results.

Each method brings its unique approach and benefits, and our aim is to provide you with a comprehensive overview of these proven strategies. By implementing these methods, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any project, drive efficiency, and achieve remarkable outcomes. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets to successful project management!

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Top 8 Project Management Methods Experts Recommend

Agile Methodology

Managing projects effectively can be a complex task, requiring adaptability and efficient team collaboration. Agile Project Management offers a dynamic approach that enables teams to respond to changes swiftly and deliver high-quality results. By breaking down projects into shorter cycles, Agile empowers businesses to adapt, improve, and meet project objectives efficiently.

Vitaliy Kharitonov, the owner of ShirtZilla, an e-commerce website specializing in niche-specific shirt designs, shares his insights on the benefits of Agile Project Management.

"Our company deals with multiple projects at once. The Agile strategy helps us to finish our tasks faster. Besides having a fast pace, it also allows improvements. Agile uses short project cycles or sprints. We can introduce changes wherever it's necessary."

Vitaliy Kharitonov, Owner of ShirtZilla

ShirtZilla benefits from agile project management’s ability to enhance productivity. By utilizing short project cycles or sprints, they can introduce necessary changes at any stage, resulting in improved designs and products. This flexibility not only boosts the team’s creativity but also enables them to consistently meet project deadlines, ensuring customer satisfaction and retention.

Benefits of agile methodology:

  • Increased flexibility: Agile projects are more flexible than traditional projects, which means that they can adapt to change more easily. This is important in today’s rapidly changing world, where requirements are constantly evolving.
  • Improved communication: Agile projects require frequent communication between team members, which can help to improve collaboration and reduce misunderstandings.
  • Shorter development cycles: Agile projects typically have shorter development cycles than traditional projects. It means they can be delivered to customers sooner.

When to use agile methodology:

  • Dynamic and evolving projects: Agile method is most suitable when dealing with projects that have changing requirements or evolving scopes. It allows teams to adapt and make adjustments throughout the project lifecycle, ensuring that the final deliverables meet the desired objectives.
  • Complex and innovative projects: Agile methods are beneficial for projects that involve complex tasks or require innovative solutions. The iterative nature of Agile allows for experimentation, feedback, and continuous improvement, enabling teams to tackle complex challenges effectively.
  • Time-sensitive projects: Agile can be highly effective when time is a critical factor. The iterative approach allows for delivering working increments of the project at regular intervals. It enables stakeholders to see progress and make adjustments early on, ultimately reducing the risk of delays.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum is a framework within the Agile methodology. It focuses on collaboration, accountability, and iterative progress to create, deliver, and sustain complex products. A Scrum team typically consists of a Product Owner, a Scrum Master, and the Development Team. Scrum meetings structure the team’s workflow and facilitate effective communication and coordination.

Chuky Ofoegbu, the CEO of Sojourning Scholar, a higher education coaching company, brings valuable insights as a business leader to the discussion. With a team of four full-time employees, Chuky shares his experience and expertise in implementing Scrum methodology.

"The Scrum Agile Methodology has helped our company to regularly reassess and adjust our strategies or curricula based on student feedback and outcomes. For instance, we have bi-weekly sprints where new coaching materials are tested and reviewed. By observing students' responses we continually tweak our strategies for better results."

Chuky Ofoegbu, CEO of Sojourning Scholar

Benefits of Scrum methodology:

  • Enhanced collaboration and communication: Scrum fosters close collaboration among team members and stakeholders. It ensures a shared understanding of project goals and promoting effective communication.
  • Iterative progress and adaptability: Through iterative sprints, Scrum enables teams to deliver tangible results at regular intervals. It provides opportunities for feedback and making adjustments to meet evolving project requirements.
  • Increased transparency and accountability: Scrum promotes transparency by making work visible and holding regular meetings to track progress. Each team member’s accountability for their tasks contributes to overall project success.

When to use Scrum methodology:

  • Complex projects with changing requirements: Scrum is well-suited for projects with complex and evolving requirements, where a flexible and adaptive approach is necessary to deliver successful outcomes.
  • Cross-functional team collaboration: Scrum thrives in environments where close collaboration and coordination among team members from different disciplines are essential for project success.
  • Projects that prioritize iterative progress: Scrum is beneficial when delivering incremental value, and receiving regular feedback is crucial, allowing for continuous improvement and delivering products or features in a timely manner.

Kanban Methodology

Kanban is another subset of Agile that is designed for managing work in progress. It is a straightforward and visual approach to managing projects. It provides a clear and concise overview of the tasks at hand, making it an ideal method for beginners or teams dealing with less complex projects. Kanban can be used as a standalone project management technique or as a supplement to existing methods.

Ryan Steinolfson is the business owner of Accelerate Marketing, an established agency specializing in Google Local Service Ads (GLSA) and reputation management. With over 12 years of experience and a track record of successful projects, Ryan brings his expertise to the realm of project management.

"I have found that Kanban (The Simplest Project Management Technique) is the most effective method for managing projects. When it comes to project management methods, Kanban is one of the most beginner-friendly options. It works well as a supplement to existing methods of project management or on its own. It works best with less complex projects or teams that tend to multitask."

Ryan Steinolfson, Owner of Accelerate Marketing

Ryan highlights the effectiveness of Kanban Project Management, especially for those new to project management. Its simplicity and visual nature make it easy for teams to grasp and implement.

Benefits of Kanban Project Management:

  • Clear task visibility: The visual nature of Kanban boards provides a clear overview of tasks, ensuring transparency and keeping everyone on the same page.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Kanban allows teams to easily adjust priorities, address bottlenecks, and adapt to changing project requirements.
  • Reduced multitasking: By limiting WIP, Kanban helps teams focus on completing tasks before moving on to new ones, reducing distractions and improving productivity.

When to Use Kanban Project Management:

  • Less complex projects: Kanban is particularly effective for projects with straightforward requirements and tasks that do not require intricate planning.
  • Multitasking teams: Teams that handle multiple projects simultaneously or frequently switch between tasks can benefit from Kanban’s visual organization and clear task priorities.

Waterfall Methodology

Waterfall is a traditional project management methodology that follows a linear sequence of phases. Each phase must be completed before the next phase can begin. This methodology is best suited for projects where the requirements are well-defined and unlikely to change.

Graham McCormack, the founder of GrahamSEO, highlights the characteristic features of the Waterfall methodology, emphasizing its linear nature and sequential completion of stages.

"The Waterfall methodology is a linear project management approach, where stages are completed in a sequential order. This method is best suited for projects where requirements are clearly defined and unlikely to change."

Graham McCormack, Founder of GrahamSEO

Benefits of the Waterfall Methodology:

  • Clear project structure: The Waterfall methodology provides a well-defined structure, enabling better project control and easy tracking of progress.
  • Accurate timelines and budgeting: With the sequential nature of the Waterfall method, it becomes easier to estimate timelines and allocate resources accurately.
  • Stakeholder alignment: The Waterfall method is suitable for projects where stakeholders require a clear understanding of project milestones and progress at each stage.

When to Use the Waterfall Methodology:

  • Stable and clearly defined requirements: The Waterfall method is most effective when the project requirements are well-established and unlikely to change significantly throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Predictable and linear projects: It is suitable for projects with predictable and sequential stages, where a linear progression from one stage to another is necessary.
  • Document-centric projects: Projects that require extensive documentation, such as compliance-driven projects or those with strict regulatory requirements, can benefit from the Waterfall methodology’s emphasis on thorough documentation.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

Critical Path Method (CPM) is a project management technique that helps you figure out the longest path through a project or the critical path. This helps you identify the tasks that are most important to finish on time, so you can focus your resources on those tasks.

William Lam, the founder of UPGRD, highlights the benefits and diverse applications of the Critical Path Method (CPM).

"CPM is a step-by-step project management technique to identify critical tasks in a project. By identifying the longest stretch of dependent activities and measuring the time required to complete them from start to finish, project managers can compute the shortest possible timeframe to complete the project. For example, in a manufacturing project, the critical path might include design, production, testing, and delivery."

William Lam, Founder of UPGRD

Benefits of the Critical Path Method (CPM):

  • Efficient scheduling: CPM helps create realistic schedules by identifying critical tasks and dependencies, enabling better time and resource management.
  • Early delay identification: Focusing on the critical path allows early identification of potential delays, enabling proactive mitigation and preventing timeline disruptions.
  • Streamlined execution: CPM provides a clear roadmap, ensuring focus on critical tasks and effective resource allocation.

When to use the Critical Path Method (CPM):

  • Complex projects with interdependent tasks: CPM identifies critical tasks to closely monitor for successful completion.
  • Time-sensitive projects: CPM determines the critical path for efficient execution within tight timeframes.
  • Projects with strict deadlines: CPM optimizes schedules and resource allocation to meet fixed deadlines.

PRINCE2 

PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. Its a widely adopted project management method that provides a structured framework for managing projects. Developed in the United Kingdom, PRINCE2 has gained international recognition and is implemented across various industries and organizations.

Jens Kleinholz, the CEO of Sir-Apfelot, shares insights into the benefits and applications of the PRINCE2 method.

"PRINCE2 is a process-based method for effective project management, and it's widely recognized and used in the private sector. The method is in the public domain and offers non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management. For example, a large company implementing a new HR system might use PRINCE2 to manage the project due to its strong emphasis on detailed planning and risk management."

Jens Kleinholz, CEO of Sir-Apfelot

Benefits of the PRINCE2:

  • Structured approach: PRINCE2 provides a structured framework that ensures consistent project management practices, promoting clarity and organization.
  • Effective risk management: The method’s emphasis on risk management helps identify and mitigate potential issues, reducing the impact of uncertainties on project success.
  • Clear accountability: PRINCE2 clearly defines roles and responsibilities, ensuring accountability and facilitating efficient decision-making.

When to Use PRINCE2:

  • Complex projects: PRINCE2 is well-suited for projects with multiple stages, dependencies, and potential risks, as its structured approach aids in managing complexity effectively.
  • Projects requiring detailed planning: If a project demands meticulous planning and clear documentation of deliverables, PRINCE2’s emphasis on detailed planning is advantageous.
  • Risk-sensitive projects: Projects with a higher degree of risk or projects where risk mitigation is crucial benefit from PRINCE2’s comprehensive risk management approach.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) methodology is a powerful tool for effective project management. It involves breaking down complex project activities into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

Prof. Dr. Te Wu, the CEO of PMO Advisory, a reputable project management consulting and training company, emphasizes the effectiveness of WBS methodology in project management.

"In my experience, the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) methodology is the most effective tool for managing projects. Using a WBS, you and your team can break down complex project activities into smaller, more manageable jobs."

Prof. Dr. Te Wu, CEO of PMO Advisory

He illustrates this with practical examples and real-world applications. For example, when building a house, the WBS can break down the project into phases, such as finishing the interior, finishing the outside, and laying the foundation. Each phase can then be further divided into smaller packages based on task complexity and interdependencies.

Benefits of the WBS Method:

  • Clear project understanding: The WBS provides a visual representation of the project’s scope, allowing stakeholders to have a clear understanding of the work involved.
  • Improved project planning: By breaking down the project into smaller tasks, the WBS enables more accurate project planning, resource allocation, and scheduling.
  • Effective task management: The WBS helps teams manage and track progress on individual tasks, promoting accountability and ensuring efficient task execution.

When to use the WBS method:

  • Complex projects: The WBS is particularly valuable for complex projects with numerous tasks and interdependencies, as it allows for better organization and management of project work.
  • Projects with evolving requirements: When project requirements may change or evolve over time, the WBS helps maintain a structured approach by allowing for modifications and adjustments to the breakdown of tasks.
  • Projects with multiple stakeholders: The WBS facilitates effective communication and collaboration among project stakeholders by providing a clear overview of the project’s scope and deliverables.

Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

PERT is a project management tool that is used to estimate the time it will take to complete a project. It is a probabilistic method, which means that it takes into account the uncertainty of task completion times.

Ovidiu Cical, CEO and co-founder of Cyscale, a cloud security company, shared his knowledge of PERT’s effectiveness in project management. Ovidiu has 15+ years of IT and cloud computing experience.

"PERT aids us in estimating task durations based on optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely scenarios. This technique enables us to create more accurate project timelines, identify critical path activities, and allocate resources accordingly."

Ovidiu Cical, CEO and Co-founder of Cyscale

Benefits of using the PERT method:

  • Accurate timeline estimation: PERT allows for a more accurate estimation of task durations, resulting in realistic project timelines.
  • Enhanced project visibility: PERT provides better visibility into potential project bottlenecks, enabling proactive identification and mitigation of risks.
  • Optimal resource allocation: By identifying critical path activities, PERT facilitates strategic resource allocation to ensure project success.
  • Informed decision-making: PERT enables project teams to make informed decisions based on reliable estimates and project insights.

When to use the PERT method:

  • Projects with uncertainty: PERT is particularly useful for projects with inherent uncertainty, as it provides a structured approach to estimate task durations and manage potential risks.
  • Projects with complex dependencies: When projects involve numerous interdependent tasks, PERT helps identify critical activities and manage their sequencing effectively.
  • Projects requiring accurate timeline planning: PERT is beneficial for projects where accurate estimation of task durations and realistic project timelines are crucial for successful execution.

Key Qualities that Make Project Managers Effective Leaders

Leadership is important in project management, and project managers who have strong leadership skills usually do really well. They can inspire, guide, and motivate their teams, which helps the project succeed.

Being a good communicator and building relationships

Project managers who become leaders are really good at talking and building relationships. They can explain the project goals, what needs to be done, and any changes to the team and other people involved. They build strong relationships, which helps everyone work together better and solve problems as a team.

Having big ideas and thinking strategically

Great leaders in project management have big ideas and can think strategically. They can see the bigger picture and make plans to reach the project goals. They think ahead and consider risks and opportunities, which helps them make smart decisions and keep the project on track.

Being innovative and creative

The ability to drive creativity and innovation is another important skill for project leaders. They are able to come up with new and innovative ideas that can help the project succeed. They are able to motivate and inspire their team members to be creative. They are also able to adapt to change and find new ways to achieve the project goals.

Being good at solving problems and making decisions

Leadership means making tough decisions, and project managers who are good leaders are great at solving problems. They can analyze tricky situations, think of different options, and make decisions that keep the project going smoothly. They find creative solutions and make sure problems don’t cause big issues.

Empowering and motivating the team

Effective leaders know how important it is to empower and motivate their teams. When project managers become leaders, they inspire their team members, create a positive work environment, and help them grow. They give people responsibilities, support them, and appreciate their hard work, which makes everyone happier and more productive.

Being adaptable and resilient

Leaders who become project managers can handle changes and keep going even when things get tough. They can adjust plans, deal with unexpected problems, and stay focused on the project goals. They embrace change and keep everyone motivated, which leads to project success.

FAQS About Project Management for Business 

What is project management?

Project management is the practice of planning, organizing, and overseeing the execution of projects to achieve specific goals within defined constraints such as time, budget, and resources.

Why is project management important for businesses?

Project management is important for businesses because it helps ensure that projects are completed efficiently, on time, and within budget. It improves collaboration, minimizes risks, and maximizes the chances of project success.

What is the role of a project manager?

The role of a project manager is to plan, execute, and control projects. They are responsible for managing resources, coordinating team members, communicating with stakeholders, and ensuring project objectives are met within the given constraints.

How do you measure project success?

Project success can be measured by assessing the achievement of project objectives, adherence to budget and timeline, stakeholder satisfaction, and the overall impact of the project on the organization. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and project metrics are often used for measurement.

Can project management be learned? Is there certification for project management?

Yes, project management can be learned. There are various training programs, courses, and certifications available to help individuals develop the necessary skills and knowledge in project management. These certifications, such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), provide industry-recognized credentials that validate one’s proficiency in project management practices. Obtaining a certification can enhance career prospects and demonstrate a commitment to professional development in the field of project management.

Key Takeaways

The world of project management offers a diverse range of methodologies and approaches to suit different projects and organizational needs. The key is to understand the unique requirements of your project and select the most appropriate project management method. The insights and advice shared by the experts in this roundup article can serve as valuable guidance in finding the winning formula for your projects.

Remember, the success of a project lies in the hands of a skilled project manager who can effectively navigate the challenges, lead the team, and ensure project objectives are met. Developing essential project management skills, such as communication, planning, and problem-solving, is crucial for any aspiring project manager.

If you’re looking to enhance your project management skills further, I encourage you to subscribe to the Skill Success All Access Pass. With this subscription, you gain access to a wide range of courses that can help you broaden your knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest industry practices.

Remember, the right project management method paired with your skills and expertise can make all the difference in achieving project success.

Best of luck on your project management endeavors!

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