What is Project Management Methodologies?

Methodologies contain guiding processes for those who are doing project management. The true definition is that methodologies are not tool specific, however in today's software-reliant world the reality is that the methodology and the organization's project management software tool are often heavily intertwined.

Why Project Management Methodologies?

Project management plays a crucial role in accomplishing goals and following through with plans and expectations. However, getting your team organized around a project is often easier said than done. Following a project management methodology can help you organize your project into a structured, streamlined process. It makes team collaboration more efficient and projects become better organized.

But not every project management methodology will work for every type of projects. In order to recognize which method will work best for your project, you need to be familiar with these common project methodologies and their differences.

Introduction of Project Management Methodologies

While there are dozens of project management methods available, an appropriate project management methods can help you team to manage your project much more efficiently. A business can vary according to type, size, industry, and many other factors. Rather than looking for a methodology that is best, businesses should learn these methodologies, how they are used, and how they can be applied.

Let's go through the widely used methods below briefly:


Agile Methodologies were originating resulted from the use of the waterfall model were seen as bureaucratic, inflexible, slow, and inconsistent with the ways that software developers actually perform effective work. Agile method is people-focused and commnuication-oriented, flexible (ready to adapt to expected change at any time), speedy (encourage rapid and iterative development of the product in small releases), lean (focuses on shortening timeframe and cost and on improved quality), responsive (reacts appropriately to expected and unexpected changes), and learning (focuses on improvement during and after product development)

Agile processes generally encourages frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership philosophy that encourages teamwork, self-organization and accountability, a set of engineering best practices intended to allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals. The Agile method tries to provide rapid, continuous delivery of product to the customer. Whereas traditional methodologies such as the Waterfall method or other linear processes require detailed upfront requirements defined in the initial stage of a project.


Waterfall methodology is the one that is the most used across all industries, and it is very common in software development and construction. The waterfall model is a sequential (non-iterative) design process, used in software development processes, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production/implementation and maintenance. There are many versions of the waterfall method, but the original one included these high-level phases:

  1. Requirements specification
  2. Design
  3. Construction (coding)
  4. Integration
  5. Testing and debugging (Validation)
  6. Installation
  7. Maintenance


Adaptive project management does exactly what the title suggests: it adapts. With adaptive project management the scope of a given project can vary. While the time needed to complete the project and the cost of the project are constants, the project scope can be adjusted as it is being executed. Businesses commonly do this to get maximum value out of each project, such as when new ideas or opportunities are unlocked during the development of a project.


Scrum is an agile framework for completing complex projects. Scrum originally was formalized for software development projects, but it works well for any complex, innovative scope of work. The possibilities are endless. The Scrum framework is deceptively simple.

The Scrum tries to deal with the fact that the requirements are likely to change quickly or are not completely known at the start of the project. The low-level requirements are only defined at the time when they are going to be really implemented. In Scrum, changes and optimizations of product, requirements and processes are an integral part of the whole engineering cycle. Thus, scrum development process is a type of agile methodology that focuses around short sprints cycle and monthly scrum sessions where project deliverables are broken down into 2 to 4 weeks intervals.

Scrum is applicable only in certain types of environments - mainly those with co-located, 100% dedicated team members (not easily working well with multiple projects), with dedicate support for the project team members.

RAD (rapid applications development)

Rapid application development (RAD) describes a method of software development which heavily emphasizes rapid prototyping and iterative delivery. It was born out of frustration with the waterfall approach which often resulted in products that had already out of date by the time they were actually released. RAD is a type of incremental model, which the components or functions are developed in parallel as mini projects. The developments are time boxed, delivered and then assembled into a working prototype. This can quickly give the customer something to see and use and to provide feedback regarding the delivery and their requirements.


PMBOK® is not exactly a methodology but rather a broad collection of good practices for project management, which has been rapidly grown and spread around the world, and is now seen globally as a recognized and strategic competency, a career path and a subject for training and education. PMBOK is short for Project Management Body of Knowledge. The PMBOK framework consists of five process groups, ten knowledge areas and 47 project management processes. The knowledge areas group the PM processes by project management content.

The PMBOK is the broadest and most widely used standard reference of industry best practices for PM. It sets out good practices and guidelines that are applicable to a wide range of industries and markets and cross multiple departments, from IT to production. Different industries can leverage different aspects of the PMBOK to suit their specific needs.

Process groups

The five process groups are:

  1. Initiating: processes performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase.
  2. Planning: Those processes required to establish the scope of the project, refine the objectives, and define the course of action required to attain the objectives that the project was undertaken to achieve.
  3. Executing: Those processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications
  4. Monitoring and Controlling: Those processes required to track, review, and regulate the progress and performance of the project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate the corresponding changes.
  5. Closing: Those processes performed to finalize all activities across all Process Groups to formally close the project or phase.

Knowledge areas

The ten knowledge areas, each of which contains some or all of the project management processes, are:

  1. Project Integration Management: the processes and activities needed to identify, define, combine, unify, and coordinate the various processes and project management activities within the project management process groups.
  2. Project Scope management: the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.
  3. Project Time Management: the processes required to manage the timely completion of the project.
  4. Project Cost Management: the processes involved in planning, estimating, budgeting, financing, funding, managing, and controlling costs so that the project can be completed within the approved budget.
  5. Project Quality Management: the processes and activities of the performing organization that determine quality policies, objectives, and responsibilities so that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken.
  6. Project Human Resource Management: the processes that organize, manage, and lead the project team.
  7. Project Communications Management: the processes that are required to ensure timely and appropriate planning, collection, creation, distribution, storage, retrieval, management, control, monitoring, and the ultimate disposition of project information.
  8. Project Risk Management: the processes of conducting risk management planning, identification, analysis, response planning, and controlling risk on a project.
  9. Project Procurement Management: the processes necessary to purchase or acquire products, services, or results needed from outside the project team. Processes in this area include Procurement Planning, Solicitation Planning, Solicitation, Source Selection, Contract Administration, and Contract Closeout.
  10. Project Stakeholder Management: the processes required to identify all people or organizations impacted by the project, analyzing stakeholder expectations and impact on the project, and developing appropriate management strategies for effectively engaging stakeholders in project decisions and execution.

Each of the ten knowledge areas contains the processes that need to be accomplished within its discipline in order to achieve effective project management. Each of these processes also falls into one of the five process groups, creating a matrix structure such that every process can be related to one knowledge area and one process group.


PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. It is both a methodology and a de facto standard used extensively by the UK Government and is widely recognized and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. It provides consistency of process, approach and language which can therefore be applied to pretty much any type of project. PRINCE2 is a principles-driven project management methodology, which is based on seven principles, seven themes and seven processes.

The seven principles are:

  1. Continued Business Justification
  2. Learn from Experience
  3. Defined Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Manage by Stages
  5. Manage by Exception
  6. Focus on Products
  7. Tailor to Suit the Project Environment

The seven themes are:

  1. Business case
  2. Organization
  3. Quality
  4. Plans
  5. Risk
  6. Change
  7. Progress

PRINCE2 is not a "waterfall" methodology or a "silver bullet" solution or a 'one size fits all' solution; it is a project management framework that can readily be tailored to any size or type of project. Thus, it is both a perfect off the shelf method for complex projects, and as well as a great basis for tailoring to less complex project environments.


In Kanban, project progress is displayed on a board. Notes (also called stickers) are very common in this regard which moves from left to right generally. They are categorized as tasks in progress, recently completed and in queue. Kanban makes it easy to visualize what work is being going on and what's next. Kanban methodology works best for a small team. Also individuals consider the use of personal Kanban boards as effective use of methodology.

The benefit is the visual display of what is coming up next and it makes it easy to reprioritize. Kanban charts usually consist of general categories of projects or tasks "To-Do", "Doing", and "Done". When a project manager comes in to put work to the board, they can easily be shown what work is going on and what is coming up and how "newly added work" will affect the entire team. This works particularly well for small co-located project teams. Many individuals also promote the use of personal Kanban boards.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven product and process-improvement methodology that was originally developed by Motorola. The idea was to improve processes by eliminating defects, which are defined as "nonconformity of a product or service to its specifications." Those of us in project management generally do not think of it as a project management methodology.

The process steps go by the acronym DMAIC, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control, and when it is done to Synergize through the organization.


DMAIC is part of the Six Sigma methodology, but it also is often used as a stand-alone method. DMAIC (an abbreviation for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) refers to a data-driven improvement cycle used for improving, optimizing and stabilizing business processes and designs. It and can be used as the framework for improvement projects outside of Six Sigma.

The framework is described briefly here:

  • Define - who are the customers and what are their needs. Define the project purpose and scope. Define the current process and what customer wants from it.
  • Measure - how is the process performing and how is it measured. Gather data on how well the current process performs in meeting customer needs
  • Analyze - what are the most important causes of problems. Identify root causes of performance gaps and confirm with data.
  • Improve- how do we remove the causes of problems? Plan, test, and implement solutions that eliminate root causes (use data to evaluate both the solutions and plans used to carry them out).
  • Control - how can we maintain the improvements? Maintain the gains by standardizing work methods or processes. Anticipate future improvements and preserve the lessons from this effort.

Adaptive versus predictive

The two most popular project management solutions being implemented today are adaptive and predictive. Adaptive is widely known as agile, and predictive is also referred to as the waterfall or traditional methodology.

To avoid the limitations of the waterfall approach, agile method targets to be a flexible and iterative project management technique for dealing with rapidly change of customer requirements. One the other hand, the waterfall project management methodology details planning and upfront requirement before a project starts rolling. Steps and dependencies are explicitly mapped, and the project moves on to the next phase only when the previous one has already been completed. This solution works well for projects with defined tasks and sequences, and when you know exactly what the final deliverable should be.

Adaptive or predictive?

Based on these rough guidelines, you can see that both agile and waterfall have their uses, so that saying agile is better than waterfall - or the other way around, for that matter - is completely inaccurate. It all boils down to understanding which approach better jives with the needs of your project and the team you're working with.

Choose the right project management methodology

Since all projects vary and have differing requirements, there can be no project management method that is "best" and which applies to all businesses. Thus, project Management Methodologies are definitely not one-size-fits all, even within the same company, project type or industry. In one situation a specific methodology may work best, and in others it may be more suitable to have another one, or even a hybrid methodology. The same methodology is unlikely to work in the same organization on all projects. We can consider some of these factors for determining which methodology might be right for you:

  • Organizational goals
  • Core values
  • Project constraints
  • Project stakeholders
  • Project size
  • Cost of the project
  • Ability to take risks
  • Need for flexibility

Project management methodology is an essential for today's businesses. By adopting an appropriate method for your project, you can transform the way your project team communicates, works on tasks, and accomplishes project milestones on time and within budget.

Getting organized with Visual Paradigm

Whether you fully adopt one project management method of the above, or need to customize a particular method for fitting your specific need, using Visual Paradigm's Just-in-Time PMBOK process, will significantly increase your team's productivity and efficiency.

Businesses that utilize a project management method described above are far more likely to be successful with Visual Paradigm. Visual Paradigm enable your team work collaboratively and manage, assign and delegate tasks, share files, other resources automatically, and much more. Plus, Visual Paradigm is flexible enough to be customized by adding or removing works or deliverables from any project management methods in just-in-time and just-enough manner!

Visual Paradigm Process Maps

In Visual Paradigm, we provide the following method templates and the new templates will expect to be introduced in the coming few releases.

What is Visual Paradigm Just-in-Time Process?

One-size-fits-all solution is not always applicable for nowadays complex and fast changing world. Process like Rational unified process (RUP) is considered to be heavy weight and lack agility to deal with dynamic situations and thus, not suitable for agile team development. The upfront requirements elicitation doesn't anticipate changes and might result in a lot wastes in time, effort and cost in the initial development stage.

Visual Paradigm's Just-in-Time (JIT) Process Map allows developers to define and configure process in just-in-time and just-enough manner to cope with the fast changing business environment, minimizing wastes for the entire process. You can customize a process like PMBOK, PRINCE2 or even invent your own process for your enterprise in an agile way.

Visual Paradigm provides you with a huge collection of templates and forms, with inline instructions and samples for you to create custom processes that fit your specific needs. Besides, there are some out-of-the box Work Items for you to add into your processes. These Work Items ranging from basic analysis and summary table, to a series of steps to create meaningful study on various aspects for enterprise architecture, project management, or ITSM activities such as meeting templates, review logs and etc.

Ready-to-use Just-in-Time Templates

In Visual Paradigm, a set of ready-to-use JIT process templates are included for project management and enterprise architecture. For project management templates, there are 4 different levels of complexity for different types of projects to adopt with. In addition, a PMBOK-like project management process template together with the forms and instructions are also provided. In terms of enterprise architecture, a TOGAF ADM project template is incorporated with ArchiMate for the diagram models in the deliverables. You can adopt these templates straight way, or customize the process a bit by adding your own forms and etc. to fit your specific project needs.

Just-In-time Process Map

Just-in-Time Process Map allows you to design a wide variety of development and management processes, such as, TOGAF ADM, PMBOK, PRINCE2 and many more. In addition, you can use it to model many different aspects of process activities ranging from event and task management (member view, project view, or deliverable view), to product development or agile process management by configuring the column headers as phases, members, projects, deliverables and etc. For instance, you can present process like PMBOK by having development phases as columns and knowledge areas as rows.

  • Just-in-Time Composer
  • Just-in-Time PMBOK templates
    PMBOK templates for collaborative and incremental project management & deliverables generation.
  • Just-in-Time TOGAF ADM templates
    TOGAF ADM templates for collaborative and incremental enterprise architecture & deliverables generation.
  • Just-in-Time Project Management templates
    Full set of project management work items and forms that aid your ITSM project management needs.
  • Form filling
    Smart Form embedded with collapsible instructions and samples lets your team kick-start the process easily without worrying what need to be done.
  • Learn and use 'just-in-time'
    Inline, step-by-step guide-through instructions together with samples for each step.
  • Deliverables generation
    Fill the form and mark it completed, the pre-defined deliverable(s) associated with the form will be automatically generated and archived.

Turn every software project into a successful one.

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