Revisiting the Agile Manifesto this month as part of my coursework for Scrum, I was reminded again of how many frameworks and methodologies have been developed over the years. These tools and ways of work all help (digital) project managers improve their practices and project delivery. Following a system of standards, techniques, rules and processes ensure that you manage time, tasks and teams in the most efficient and effective way.
But finding the right fit can be difficult as there are so many of these methods today. Some of the most popular that come to mind are:
- Critical Path Method
- Six Sigma
- PMI’s PMBOK
Project managers today however seem to prefer hybrid frameworks and methodologies, being quick to respond to the challenges faced by their organisations and adapting and matching to the strengths of their teams and the needs of their clients and customers.
Some project management methodologies use complex sets of standards and processes (PMBOK), some define principles (Agile) and others still are a simple process definition (Scrum). For highly technical teams and projects, the preferred methodology would include what is called a ‘full-stack’ incorporating frameworks for all the mechanisms (PRINCE2). Most important would be to remember that there is no one ‘correct/best’ methodology and each brings their unique value.
So why do we need to add structure to the way in which we manage projects and which of the methodologies can be applied when? Here is a summary to rediscover our three most popular ones:
- Scrum– Well to start with, this is not a methodology! Scrum really is a framework and light approach working off a simple set of rules, practices and tools. The goal of Scrum is to mainly improve communication, teamwork and the speed of development. Common terminology include sprints, scrums, backlogs and burndowns.
- Agile– once again, not a methodology but rather a set of principles this time. This philosophy and values set was developed by 17 software engineers and is derived from a group of principles that can be broadly applies, easily learned and rarely mastered completely. Their published manifesto stated:Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
- Kanban– finally a project management methodology, one that is light on process, flexible, and without prescribed roles. Focused on Lean principles, Kanban simply tries to improve throughput by increasing the team focus on the things that really matter. The most important focus is on workflow and time, and there is a visual representation of sticky notes on a Kanban whiteboard, with tasks categorised as ‘To-do’, ‘Doing’, and ‘Done’.
Whatever your choice of project management tool, always be sure that it is helping you to deliver on your projects. Your choice of an original or hybrid framework will offer support to your team, add value to the outcomes of your work, and guide you to satisfy your client on each and every delivery.
Be responsive and pragmatic in your approach. A lot like us really.