Project Management Methodologies

project management methodologies infographic

Project Management Methodologies

Companies should be more effective and efficient to maintain and improve their business activities considering today’s challenging business environment. Changes are inevitable regardless of how successful a company has been in the past. Failing to use a project management methodology may lead to the downfall of an organization. According to the PMBOK Guide, a methodology is a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline. Agile, Lean, Kanban, Six Sigma and Waterfall are the examples of project management methodologies. In this article, we will take a look at 5 effective Project Management Methodologies and discuss the key aspects of them.

What are the Project Management Methodologies ?

Project managers use several methods, tools and techniques to complete their projects successfully. Usually, they apply various processes, systems, frameworks, and principles all together to deliver their projects on time by meeting the requirements. They choose the most suitable methodology which fits best to their organizational structure and the project conditions. Methodologies may be changed from one project to another based on the size, deliverables, complexity and the goals of the project.

Projects are more dependent on technology and require more collaborative resources in today’s economic environment. Therefore organizations should be more focused on customer value as well as adapting to changes.

Now let’s discuss the most common project management methodologies in detail.

Agile Methodology

The agile methodology involves a set of values and principles for software development. The Agile Manifesto describes this methodology with four values and twelve principles.

Below are the four values of the Agile Manifesto

• Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
• Working software over comprehensive documentation
• Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
• Responding to change over following a plan

Agile project management methodology provides flexible, iterative design and build process. Agile is more than a methodology. It covers a set of processes for extensive projects in dynamic environments. Therefore it is much appreciated by the customers.

Kanban Methodology

Kanban is a Japanese word which means signal card. So that this method relied on Kanban cards. Tasks are represented visually on a board, allowing team members to see the state of every piece of work at any time. Kanban methodology uses lean principles and aims to increase productivity by eliminating wasted time and resources. Kanban project management methodology can be used in conjunction with Agile.

Lean Methodology

Lean is a problem-solving tool of eliminating wastes and removing wasteful activities that don’t add value to the process. By the help of this problem-solving tool only the activities which add value to the process can be considered. Activities can be categorized by their values in the process. Lean project management methodology relies on 3M’s.

– Muda – about removing the waste
– Mura – about eliminating variations
– Muri – about removing the overload

Six Sigma Methodology

Six Sigma is a useful problem-solving technique for process improvement which was introduced by engineer Bill Smith while working at Motorola in 1986 then became a popular management approach at General Electric (GE) in 1995 by the studies of Jack Welch.
Six sigma methodology relies on 5 process steps, called DMAIC.

1. Define: Identify customer requirements and project goals.
2. Measure: Realise the current project performance and measure the various aspects of it.
3. Analyze: Analyze the data and determine the root causes of any defects.
4. Improve: Optimize the current process and establish ways to improve the process.
5. Control: Implement control systems to control the future performance of the process.

Waterfall Methodology

Waterfall methodology is one of the most common project management methodologies. It provides a simple framework for planning projects. Therefore it is widely used in many organizations. Tasks are in sequential order. In this method the team completes one task or step then performs the next step. All the requirements and the activity sequences are defined at the beginning. Then all the tasks are performed as a waterfall from the beginning up to the end of the project. In this methodology, the production of the first step is the input of the next step. Waterfall methodology provides less iterative and flexible approaches because all the progress flows in one direction.

Winston W. Royce described this model in the 1970s. According to his article, Waterfall model involved below processes.

  • Requirements (System or Software)
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Testing
  • Operations (Including installation, support, and maintenance)

Waterfall methodology is not adaptive enough to changes, especially in the software cycle. However, Agile is responsive and adaptive to changes during project phases. By using the Agile methodology, you can provide continuous and speedy delivery of software product to the customer. On the other hand in the Waterfall methodology, you deliver the product as it was planned at the first step (initiation) and it is difficult to make changes during the software life cycle.


Using a project management methodology provides many advantages to an organization. Some of them are improving knowledge management and sustainability. A Project management methodology creates a common language, common processes, and templates for an organization. However, all methodologies are not applicable to all organizations and projects. Note that the most suitable methodology is based on your projects requirements and industry. In the construction industry, waterfall is more useful than the others. In software industry, agile is more applicable.

This is where our article ends. Project management methodologies is an interesting topic. Understanding each methodology helps you to become more successful in the field of project management. If you have anything to add or share, you can use the comments box given below.

See Also

Agile vs Waterfall

5s Methodology

Kaizen Methodology

External References

Project management methodology (PMM)

1 Comment
  1. Linda Rochelle 1 month ago

    In today’s project management world, forward thinking managers and leaders don’t adhere to a single methodology.

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