The Top 5 Project Management Methods Compared

Top Project Management Methods


Forward-thinking managers and leaders in today’s project management environment don’t stick to just one methodology; they become knowledgeable about several of them and learn how to combine different approaches to meet the needs of every given project. 

In the following, you’ll get to know the most important project management methods and when and how to use them.  

Project Management History

Projects in different kinds of forms had always needed a certain kind of management, long before tech. Although we could go back thousands of years, most chronicles place the first real project management techniques in the years following the two World Wars. Businesses and other organizations started to recognize the advantages of structuring work around projects in the early 1960s. Organizations started to see the important need for their employees to communicate and collaborate while integrating their work across many departments, professions, and, in some cases, entire sectors. As a result, this project-centric view of the company evolved further. 

What is Project Management?

The main goals of project management are to plan and coordinate a project’s resources. This entails choosing and overseeing the lifecycle to be used, integrating it with the user-centered design approach, assembling the project team and successfully leading the team through each stage of the project. So, IT project managers are responsible for the planning and management of IT projects. The basic goal is to achieve the best possible result with the fewest resources and effort. They do so by keeping track of all important factors such as time, employees, money, and so on, and by coordinating tasks among employees, departments, and service providers. 

5 Project Management Methods Compared

1. Waterfall

This is one of the simplest methods of project management. With waterfall project management, a project is broken down into discrete, logical phases, with each new phase starting only after the completion of the previous one. The Waterfall technique, which involves team members working linearly toward a predetermined end objective, is the most conventional approach to project management. No phases or goals are anticipated to alter, and each participant has a specific role to play. 

Projects that need a single timeframe and have extensive, detailed plans perform best under waterfall project management. Changes are frequently resisted (and costly). To compare, Agile project management, on the other hand, entails shortened project cycles, ongoing testing, adaption, and overlapping work by numerous teams or contributors. 



2. Agile Project Management

Unlike traditional project management stages, there is one key difference in Agile management’s “Adapt” phase that defines Agile project management’s iterative nature. 

After you’ve created a product vision and an iteration plan, you’ll move on to the “Explore” phase. The goal here is to continuously release small deliverables to the market rather than waiting for them all to be completed. 

Then, in the “Adapt” phase, teams conduct short project reviews with customers who provide feedback. The idea is to adapt your future actions based on that feedback and, if necessary, make minor changes to what has already been delivered rather than doing extensive rework. 

What Is the Difference Between Traditional and Agile Project Management?

  • Customer involvement in contract negotiations 
  • People and their interactions with processes and tools 
  • Responding to change with a structured plan
  • Prototyping/working solutions vs. detailed documentation 

In traditional project management, resources and time are typically altered to meet the set goals, however, in agile project management, the goal is typically updated while the resource and time requirements are kept the same.  

The iterative and incremental approaches are distinguished in agile project management. With the iterative method, a prototype is quickly created and then gradually improved. The procedure is reviewed step-by-step in depth. If necessary, the entire development process is repeated rather than just a single stage. In the incremental approach, each stage of the project results in a working partial product. The numerous minor developments are more important than the overall state.  

In traditional project management, all information is routed through a dedicated project manager, who assigns tasks to various team members. This can be ineffective due to the increased possibility of some information being lost. 

In contrast, Agile projects delegate a large portion of decision-making to team members. 

When Is Agile Project Management Useful?

  • When the objectives of an IT project are nebulous or vary throughout the project. 
  • Agile project management is mostly applied to software development, customer solutions, and product or service optimization. 

Agile Project Management is one of the more popular and used methods, but there are many more. Let’s take a closer look at the process and some more management methods. In total, one can name over fifty different styles to choose from and it can be quite confusing.  

3. Kanban

The Kanban methodology’s primary goal is to maintain continuity. A kanban board is used to visualize the entire project, with different lists of tasks that are being done, tasks that still need to be done, and tasks that have already been finished. 

Unlike many other techniques, Kanban is effective in hierarchical organizations where the official hierarchy is valued highly. We are all aware of the distinctiveness of each project, team, and person. Different teams have varying skill sets, levels of experience, and levels of expertise. The scopes, funding, and other aspects of distinct projects may vary. 

Kanban advises starting with what you already do and evolving gradually because of this. Additionally, it is one of the most flexible Agile project management techniques because there are no radical adjustments or revolutions. Talk about agile.  



Bonus: Scrumban

Sounds like a mix of Scrum and Kanban? Yeah, but its not that easy. Its origin came from the fact that the rising popularity of Kanban lead to the fact that some members of the Agile community spotted a chance to create a process that enables Scrum teams to advance and concentrate on continuous improvement. So, they applied the Kanban philosophy and practices to Scrum and removed some rules. It combines Scrum’s structure and predictability with Kanban’s flexibility and continuous workflow. It can assist the development team in reducing overhead stress, increasing efficiency, and improving overall customer satisfaction. 

Where to Start with Scrumban?  

  • Start with the rituals, committees, and positions you currently have. 
  • Agree to work toward process improvement in order to make it more efficient. 
  • Respect existing roles and duties while working to make them better. 

4. Scrum

Scrum is one of the most widely used Agile techniques. It’s characterized as a framework for designing and maintaining complex products. 

Scrum divides work into pieces called sprints. A sprint is a period during which a Scrum team works to finish a specific amount of work. The Scrum Master, who leads the Scrum team, plans, and manages the sprints. It can also be leveled down into different user stories for further specification.  

Every team member analyses their performance over the previous 24 hours during the daily Scrum (which normally occurs in the morning). The sprint targets for the next 24 hours are then presented to them, and everyone gets to work. If a team member requires assistance, the Scrum Master steps in. 



5. Milestone Trend Analysis

A milestone trend analysis, commonly known as an MTA, is a technique for monitoring project planning development. Project managers can evaluate a project’s health using milestone trend analysis charts, which also offer useful information regarding future projects’ timing or scope. 



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What is The Best Project Management Method?

As you can imagine, there isn’t a set formula for selecting a specific model for every project. The size of your team and the preferred methods of operation are the major considerations.  

Here are some more ideas to think about: 

Your Sector

Take into account whether you work in a dynamic field. An industry that is constantly changing might be, for instance, a technology corporation. This will have an impact on the consistency of the project and should be matched with a flexible or static methodology. 

Your Project's Main Goal

Consider the goals of your projects. Do you place people before productivity? This will enable you to match a methodology with a similar goal. 

The Difficulty of the Project

Do your projects tend to be simple or lean more toward the complicated side? Complex task organization is a challenge that some approaches are better at than others.  

The Degree of Specialization

Think about how specialized the positions are on your team. Does your team need a technique that emphasizes specialization, or can numerous team members rotate doing the same kind of work? 

The Size of Your Team and Company

Should be taken into consideration carefully while choosing a methodology.  Methods like Kanban, for instance, apply to all team sizes. 


Wrap Up

There are various Project Management Methods. Which one you choose should be based on the project’s requirements, team size, and the deadline for delivery. Therefore, it’s very hard to pick the best method for your project.  

In general, projects with strict guidelines, specified scope, deadlines, and budgets are best suited for the waterfall paradigm. Agile, on the other hand, is appropriate if the project relies on launching first and then refining based on consumer feedback. 

Scrum is the most appropriate model, but, if you prefer structure inside your Agile model that directs your team to adhere to some set norms. You should take into account all of these techniques in the context of the current project and the desired final result. 

Project management is used to coordinate a team’s work so that all project goals are achieved within the established boundaries.  IT project managers are responsible for planning and managing IT projects. 

  1. Waterfall 
  2. Agile Project Management
  3. Kanban 
  4. Scrum 
  5. Milestone Trend Analysis

Each project requires its own planning. Some points to consider when choosing your project management method are: 
Your sector, the main goal of your project, the difficulty level of the project, the specialization of the roles and the size of your team and company. 

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Sören Elser ElevateX GmbH

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Sören Elser

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