September 20, 2017

Subscribe:  

Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile vs Waterfall

By Kevin Lonergan

Agile and Waterfall are two very different project management methods.  They both have clear pros and cons.  Some people argue that you can mix the two but others say: “you can’t be half Agile” and I have a lot of sympathy for this view.

Waterfall projects cascade through a series of phases with a requirements phase very near the start.  Developers then take this ‘statement of requirements’ and go through design and development.  Waterfall projects are usually delivered in a ‘big-bang’ way.

Agile is different. For more on Agile, read the Guide to Agile Project Management.

Agile does not attempt to define requirements in one go.  Instead, Agile produces the deliverable on an incremental basis and confirms the detail of the requirements around each increment.

Agile-Project-ManagementAgile encourages many practices that are really useful on projects, like:

  • face-to-face communication
  • constant involvement of users in the project
  • close co-operation between developers and users

Some of these things could potentially be used on virtually any project but not every project can produce the end-product incrementally.

To read the full article that expands on these statements and provides a detailed explanation of the most important pros and cons, read the Comparison of Agile versus Waterfall methods.

7 Facts on Project Management Methodologies and Standards

By Linky van der Merwe

PM MethodologyAs a Project Manager it’s important to differentiate between project management methodologies and standards. Here are 7 questions to help define what a methodology and a standard is, based on a summary of the best information I could find and what I know from experience.

#1 What is a methodology?

A methodology is a set of methods, processes and practices that are repeatedly carried out to deliver projects. It tells you what you have to do, to manage your projects from start to finish. It describes every step in the project life cycle in depth, so you know exactly which tasks to complete, when and how.

The key concept is that you repeat the same steps for every project you undertake, and by doing that, you will gain efficiencies in your approach.

#2 What is a standard?

A standard is “a collection of knowledge areas that are generally accepted as best practice in the industry”.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) developed the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) – now a globally recognized standard – to enable organizations to identify, measure and improve PM capabilities, standardize processes, help solidify successful project outcomes and ultimately determine best practices and strengthen the connection between strategic planning and execution. OPM3 focuses on overall organizational strategic effectiveness and incorporates project, program and portfolio management. This standard was updated in 2008 and again in 2013 and is recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as an American National Standard.

#3 What is the difference between a methodology and a standard?

Standards give you industry guidance, whereas methodologies give you practical processes for managing projects. Standards are not methodologies, and vice versa. The two most popular standards are PMBOK and Prince2.

#4 Why use a methodology?

A project methodology should help you by giving you a clear process for managing projects. After you have customised it to perfectly fit your environment, your methodology should tell your team what has to be completed to deliver your project, how it should be done, in which order and by when.

#5 What should be included in a project management methodology?

When you buy a project methodology, it should give you:

  • A core set of processes to follow for delivering projects
  • A set of templates to help you build deliverables quickly
  • A suite of case studies to help you learn from past projects
  • An option for customizing the methodology provided
  • The ability to import your existing processes into it

#6 What a project management methodology will not do?

A Methodology is not a silver bullet. It will not fix projects by itself or guarantee success and an efficient, effective, experienced project manager is still required to deliver projects successfully. No methodology will be 100% applicable to every type of project. So you will need to customise any methodology you purchase to ensure that it perfectly fits your project management environment.

#7 What are the benefits of using a methodology?

By using a methodology you can:

  • Create a project roadmap
  • Monitor time, cost and quality (project triple constraint)
  • Control change and scope
  • Minimise risks and issues
  • Manage staff and suppliers

Of course, you will need to use the methodology that is most suitable to each project you undertake. For smaller projects, you will only want to apply lightweight processes and when managing large projects, you should apply the heavyweight processes to monitor and control every element of your project in depth.

But if you can manage every project you undertake in the same way, then you will gain efficiencies with your approach, work smarter and reduce your stress. You will also give your team a clear understanding of what you expect from them and boost your chances of success.

*************************************************************************************************

Under PM Resources you will find some recommended Project Management Methodologies like:

In order to give you good descriptions of Project Management Methodologies, I have found an Infographic from Wrike, covering the 16 top project management approaches.

Wrike-project-management-methods

In the comments please share the project management methodologies that you have used and tell us more about them.

Is Project Management A Profession?

This debate whether project management is a profession or not, has heated up again in the past year. I wanted to have a closer look at what it means to receive acknowledgement as a profession and if I think we will ever arrive there.

According to Wikipedia, the formation of a profession is as follows:
A profession arises when any trade or occupation transforms itself through the development of formal qualifications based upon education, apprenticeship, and examinations, the emergence of regulatory bodies with powers to admit and discipline members, and some degree of monopoly rights.

Even though there are many other descriptions and traits associated with an occupation actually becoming a profession, but this is clear and easily lends itself to a step approach when trying to define how far Project Management has progressed towards becoming a true profession.

Project Management can be described as relatively static with respect to its education, apprenticeship and examinations. Right, wrong or otherwise, the adoption of the Project Management Institute’s Code of Ethics, education requirements and examinations based on their Project Management Body of Knowledge has become the de-facto standard for education, apprenticeship and examination.

Project Management is clearly not dependent on any particular type of hardware/software application or platform. Project Management methodology can also be applied across multiple industries.

Again, using the Wikipedia definition of a profession, the following is the classical manner in which an occupation becomes a profession:
1. It became a full-time occupation;
2. The first training school was established;
3. The first university school was established;
4. The first local association was established;
5. The first national association was established;
6. The codes of professional ethics were introduced;
7. State licensing laws were established.

Source: Perks, R.W.(1993): Accounting and Society. Chapman & Hall (London)

Obviously, if we accept PMBOK as the Body of Knowledge, and PMI as the local and national association and accept and embrace their Code of Ethics, Project Management has satisfied the first 6 steps to becoming a true profession. The final step, State Licensing laws being established, remains to be enacted. Since we are in fact global though, that requirement may not be possible, or at least may be unrealistic in many cases.

Does that preclude Project Management from being a true profession? I think not, especially due to the fact that there are other accepted professions that do not have licensing requirements.  If in fact there are other, better qualified, organizations than PMI that would better represent our interests as a profession, then that organization should be identified, promoted and voted on by the members of the profession.

Like many other Project Management Professionals, I also believe that the Project Management occupation has satisfied the definition of a profession and has matured to a level that we should move forward as a truly professional organization.

For more Project Management training, software and product resources, don’t forget to visit our Resource page here.

Please subscribe to the RSS feed of Virtual Project Consulting not to miss future posts.

Make Projects Work For Your Business!

8 Project Management Methodologies and Standards

You will find a more current article on PM Methodologies and Standards here: 7 Facts on Project Management Methodologies and Standards

I have decided to do a series of postings about Project Management methodologies and Project Management best practices.  The purpose for this is not to replicate information that is already out there, but to inform, equip and empower business owners and service professionals about the project management profession and how to put it to use to sustain and grow their business.

As an introduction to this I have 8 questions to help define what a methodology and a standard is based on a summary of the best information I could find and that I know from experience. I would then like to encourage the reader of this post to contribute in the form of comments towards more methodologies and standards that can be covered here (and I encourage you to link to sites that you recommend as worthwhile reading on these topics.)

1.   What is a methodology?

A methodology is a set of methods, processes and practices that are repeatedly carried out to deliver projects. It tells you what you have to do, to manage your projects from start to finish. It describes every step in the project life cycle in depth, so you know exactly which tasks to complete, when and how.

The key concept is that you repeat the same steps for every project you undertake, and by doing that, you will gain efficiencies in your approach.

2.   What is a standard?

A standard is “a collection of knowledge areas that are generally accepted as best practice in the industry”.

3.    What is the difference between a methodology and a standard?

Standards give you industry guidance, whereas methodologies give you practical processes for managing projects. Standards are not methodologies, and vice versa. The two most popular standards are PMBOK and Prince2.

4.   Why use a methodology?

A Project Methodology should help you by giving you a clear process for managing projects. After you have customised it to perfectly fit your environment, your methodology should tell your team what has to be completed to deliver your project, how it should be done, in which order and by when.

5.   What should be included in a project management methodology?

When you buy a project methodology, it should give you:

  • A core set of processes to follow for delivering projects
  • A set of templates to help you build deliverables quickly
  • A suite of case studies to help you learn from past projects
  • An option for customizing the methodology provided
  • The ability to import your existing processes into it

6.   What a project management methodology will not do?

A Methodology is not a silver bullet. It will not fix projects by itself or guarantee success and an efficient, effective experienced project manager is still required to deliver projects successfully. Remember that the finest carpenter’s tool-box will only be as good as the carpenter.  No methodology will be 100% applicable to every type of project. So you will need to customise any methodology you purchase to ensure that it perfectly fits your project management environment.

7.   What are the benefits of using a methodology?

By using a methodology you can:

  • Create a project roadmap
  • Monitor time, cost and quality (project triple constraint)
  • Control change and scope
  • Minimise risks and issues
  • Manage staff and suppliers

Of course, you will need to use the methodology that is most suitable to each project you undertake. For smaller projects, you will only want to apply lightweight processes and when managing large projects, you should apply the heavyweight processes to monitor and control every element of your project in depth.

But if you can manage every project you undertake in the same way, then you will gain efficiencies with your approach, work smarter and reduce your stress. You will also give your team a clear understanding of what you expect from them and boost your chances of success.

Flick - Cappellmeister

Flickr – Cappellmeister

8.  A few project management methodologies examples with short descriptions:

  • PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE) is a project management method. It covers the management, control and organisation of a project.
  • Method 123 Project Management methodology, also called MPMM (Project Management Methodology Manager) is based on the worldwide project management standards PMBOK and Prince2 and contains all of the project management templates, forms and checklists needed.
  • Ten Step Project Management Process is a methodology for managing work as a project and it’s designed to be as flexible as you need to manage your project.
  • UPMM Unified Project Management methodology based on suite of knowledge management tools.
  • AdPM – a best practices project methodology.
  • MBP- Managing by Project from X-Pert Group. Programme and Project Management methodology and services.
  • MITP – Managing Information Technology Projects. IBM’s established project management delivery method.
  • Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) is a set of principles, models, disciplines, concepts, and guidelines for delivering information technology solutions.

Please add more project management methodologies that you have used and tell us more about them.

For related Project Management articles, click here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...