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Project Management Styles – Creating Successful Project Outcomes

Whatever your objective is, your project management style could be the difference between the successful delivery of your project, or not.

Project management styles should be tailored according to a number of variables, such as:

  • Project objectives
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Industry
  • Flexibility of timeline
  • Budget
  • Resources available

(Smartsheet, 2021)

Once you have assessed the specific criteria for your project, the next step is to assess the best project management methodology for you.  Analyse your criteria against the pros and cons of each methodology, and to make this a little easier for you we have listed the positives and negatives of 4 key project management methodologies below.

Waterfall

The waterfall methodology is a straightforward approach whereby a project is divided into multiple stages and the next stage cannot begin until the previous stage has been completed. The entire process is mapped out at the beginning with all team members being fully aware of their individual responsibilities.

Pros:

  • Straight forward
  • Regimentally planned
  • Ideal when there is a static goal and scope

Cons:

  • The waterfall model limits ability to make changes to stages throughout a project
  • Testing is often left until the final stages of project completion, frequently resulting in the use of additional resources, most importantly time and money, to resolve any issues found
  • The lack of stakeholder collaboration means that the end product is not always what was envisioned, this increases the risk of late requests and changes to the project requirements

Agile

The agile project management approach focuses on iterative cycles and team collaboration. Projects are delivered in sprints which have defined timelines and expected requirements, additionally utilising customer input throughout the entire process. The agile approach increased flexibility and in turn reduces the re-work needed during each sprint.

Pros:

  • Flexible approach
  • Increased communication throughout the project
  • Accepting uncertainty about the project
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Close cooperation and collaboration between team members and stakeholders alike

Cons:

  • Not all businesses have the culture an agile approach requires, the flexibility throughout the process can sometimes cause issues when a business is used to a regimented project style, such as waterfall
  • The project can easily stray off track if the customer is not fully clear on the final outcome required

Scrum

The scrum methodology is an agile project management approach which involves small teams who are led by a team leader, whose job is to remove any obstacles which may prevent the team from achieving their project outcomes. Like the agile approach, the work is completed in sprints and the team has a daily meeting to discuss and resolve any issues.

Pros:

  • Allows for rapid development
  • Allows for rapid testing
  • Works well for fast moving projects
  • Clear visibility of the process through regular team meetings
  • Short sprints allow for flexible approach

Cons:

  • Team members need to engage effectively, or project failure is likely
  • Daily meetings can be unnecessary and potentially a waste of valuable time
  • The scrum methodology is challenging to implement in large teams

Prince2

Prince2 is an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments and it is a process-based method for managing a project.

Pros:

  • Emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages
  • Aimed to improve the organisation of project phases
  • Outcome based with emphasis on the end result as opposed to planning the process meticulously

Cons:

  • This is a highly detailed process which can often require lots of documentation, adding additional time constraints to the project

 

Now that you can assess the advantages and disadvantages of your project approach, what can you take away from this?

There are pros and cons to all project management methodologies. However, with a deep understanding of your business culture and the projects which are being completed you are now able to make a more informed choice about which management style might be most appropriate for you.

 

Smartsheet (2021)

 

 

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