18 Project Management Methodologies

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Project Management Methodologies

The Traditional, Sequential Project Management Methodologies


What is the most common way to plan out a project? Sequence the tasks that lead to a final deliverable and work on them in order. This is the Waterfall methodology — the traditional method for managing projects and the one that is simplest to understand. One task must be completed before the next one begins, in a connected sequence of items that add up to the overall deliverable. It’s an ideal method for projects that result in physical objects (buildings, computers), and project plans can be easily replicated for future use.

The power of this methodology is that every step is preplanned and laid out in the proper sequence. While this may be the simplest method to implement initially, any changes in customers’ needs or priorities will disrupt the sequence of tasks, making it very difficult to manage.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

The critical path method developed in the 1950s is based on the concept that there are some tasks you can’t start until a previous one has been finished. When you string these dependent tasks together from start to finish, you plot out your critical path.

Identifying and focusing on this critical path allows project managers to prioritize and allocate resources to get the most important work done, and reschedule any lower priority tasks that may be clogging up your team’s bandwidth. This way, if changes need to be made to the project schedule, you can optimize your team’s work process without delaying the end results.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

Critical chain project management is a methodology that puts a primary focus on the resources needed to complete the project’s tasks. It begins by building a project schedule and identifying the most crucial tasks that need to be done — the “Critical Chain” — and reserving resource for those high-priority tasks. It also builds buffers of time around these tasks into the project’s schedule, which helps ensure the project meets its deadlines.

Latest Project Management Methodologies

Adaptive Project Framework

In this methodology, the project scope is a variable. Additionally, the time and the cost are constants for the project. Therefore, during the project execution, the project scope is adjusted in order to get the maximum business value from the project.

Agile Software Development

Agile software development methodology is for a project that needs extreme agility in requirements. The key features of agile are its short-termed delivery cycles (sprints), agile requirements, dynamic team culture, less restrictive project control and emphasis on real-time communication.

Crystal Methods

In crystal method, the project processes are given a low priority. Instead of the processes, this method focuses more on team communication, team member skills, people and interaction. Crystal methods come under agile category.

Dynamic Systems Development Model (DSDM)

This is the successor of Rapid Application Development (RAD) methodology. This is also a subset of agile software development methodology and boasts about the training and documents support this methodology has. This method emphasizes more on the active user involvement during the project life cycle.

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Extreme Programming (XP)

Lowering the cost of requirement changes is the main objective of extreme programming. XP emphasizes on fine scale feedback, continuous process, shared understanding and programmer welfare. In XP, there is no detailed requirements specification or software architecture built.

Feature Driven Development (FDD)

This methodology is more focused on simple and well-defined processes, short iterative and feature driven delivery cycles. All the planning and execution in this project type take place based on the features.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

This methodology is a collection of best practices in project management. ITIL covers a broad aspect of project management which starts from the organizational management level.

Joint Application Development (JAD)

Involving the client from the early stages with the project tasks is emphasized by this methodology. The project team and the client hold JAD sessions collaboratively in order to get the contribution from the client. These JAD sessions take place during the entire project life cycle.

Lean Development (LD)

Lean development focuses on developing change-tolerance software. In this method, satisfying the customer comes as the highest priority. The team is motivated to provide the highest value for the money paid by the customer.


PRINCE2 takes a process-based approach to project management. This methodology is based on eight high-level processes.

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

This methodology focuses on developing products faster with higher quality. When it comes to gathering requirements, it uses the workshop method. Prototyping is used for getting clear requirements and re-use the software components to accelerate the development timelines.

In this method, all types of internal communications are considered informal.

Rational Unified Process (RUP)

RUP tries to capture all the positive aspects of modern software development methodologies and offer them in one package. This is one of the first project management methodologies that suggested an iterative approach to software development.


This is an agile methodology. The main goal of this methodology is to improve team productivity dramatically by removing every possible burden. Scrum projects are managed by a Scrum master.


Spiral methodology is the extended waterfall model with prototyping. This method is used instead of using the waterfall model for large projects.

Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

This is a conceptual model used in software development projects. In this method, there is a possibility of combining two or more project management methodologies for the best outcome. SDLC also heavily emphasizes on the use of documentation and has strict guidelines on it.

Project Management Methodologies

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