Planning and organization are critical components of any successful business, and there are a variety of methodologies that companies and their project managers can use to achieve their project goals. Many of the established methodologies are designed to fit a specific type of management style or project, so it’s important that businesses choose an option that offers the greatest benefit to their situation.
For SMBs located in fast-paced areas such as Singapore and Hong Kong, this decision can be difficult, especially when limited time and resources make a trial-and-error approach impractical. Fortunately, there are a few popular project management methodologies that have a proven track record of resulting in successful projects and can be easily used to fit a variety of needs and business processes.
When choosing which methodologies are best for your needs, there are a few elements that will impact how well your selection will work for your situation. Taking the time to consider these factors, such as the nature of the project, the team makeup, the culture of your organization, what tools you have available and the level of involvement from stakeholders, will ensure the right methodology is chosen to best meet your requirements.
Determine Your Project Needs
Figure out all the elements your project requires so you can narrow down your methodology options. For example, projects with undefined goals may be better suited to something more flexible, while those with clearly established end results could work well under a more rigid structure. Other requirements to consider include:
- Project size
- Team requirements
- Obligations to stakeholders
- Value to client or end-user
- Proposed schedule
Analyze Your Project Team
Regardless of how proven a particular methodology is, it will be rendered useless if your project team is unable to understand it. Team members should all be well-versed in how the chosen methodology works, and the structure should complement the group’s dynamics. Some teams do well with regular collaboration, while others prefer a more independent approach to project steps. Additionally, sometimes a project manage may need to be assigned while other teams will be more effective at self-organizing. The strengths and weaknesses of the group will have an impact on which methodology is better suited. Also consider the following:
- Level of training/training needs
- Combined and individual experience
- Collaboration location
- Oversight needs
Evaluate Your Organization
The organization of the company is an important element to consider. Some business structures do not work well with certain methodologies, so it’s a good idea to choose one that fits your company. Any past experiences with methodologies should be the first consideration. If you’ve found a previous methodology works well for you, or find that it consistently undermined your projects, past observations are often the best indicator of future performance. Other factors to consider within the organization are:
- Company culture
- Company size
- Your industry
- Maturity of the business
- Established hierarchy
- Any available resources, whether internal or external
Consider Available Tools
Many project management tools do not work well with all methodologies, so it’s worth it to take stock in the assets you already have. Choosing a methodology you already have the tools to support minimizes any risk of investing in tools for a selection that, ultimately, doesn’t meet your needs. When assessing your tools, make sure you outline realistic capabilities of your software and identify any gaps in functionality. This will make it easy to compare what you have with the needs of any methodologies you are considering.
Assess Stakeholder Engagement
Some methodologies are more effective with regular feedback and evaluation. If you have stakeholders, their participation could be a crucial component to maximizing the benefit of your chosen methodology. If your stakeholders are less engaged and unwilling to provide regular feedback, choose an option that doesn’t require their involvement.
Now that you understand the process for evaluating your methodology needs, knowing the details of your options will help you pinpoint the best choice for your project. Although there are many methodologies available to suit a variety of project management needs, some are a better fit for the unique requirements of growing SMBs. The following methodologies are a great place to start your search.
This option, first created by the UK government for IT projects in 1996, is not technically a defined methodology, but it’s definitely an important consideration. So, what is PMP? The acronym stands for Project Management Professional and is a certification offered through the Project Management Institute. Rather than an independent methodology, PMP sets the standard for project management for those who work with high-level projects and are more comfortable with traditional project management methodology as outlined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Although the PMBOK covers a few methodologies, most of the information is based on the Waterfall methodology.
Waterfall project management is the oldest and most recognized option available, and its effectiveness has been proven many times over. The structure requires following a universal outline and depends heavily on the initial requirements assessment. The outline used is as follows:
This methodology is easily the most recognizable and is rigid in its construction, which is why Gantt charts are often used when implementing the Waterfall methodology. This will hold your team to a high standard of production but does not react well to unexpected project scope changes and lacks the flexibility to allow room for error. The Waterfall approach is best suited to smaller projects, those that require extensive documentation or those that have a clear understanding of unchanging requirements.
When you compare Agile methodology to PMP methodology, the two are opposites. This project methodology is designed to be flexible and allow quick changes when necessary. It puts the focus on teamwork and customer satisfaction, while relying on four core values: individuals over processes, working software over detailed documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over rigid planning. The Agile approach breaks a project down into smaller, deliverable units that are completed in work sessions that run from the design phase to testing and quality assurance. Rather than exhaustively researching the requirements needed before the project begins, this option takes a learn-as-you-go approach and works by making regular adjustments based on results and feedback.
Team members will anticipate risks and emerging trends and analyze current results to respond with informed decisions about changes that could improve the outcome. This approach could be difficult for teams that are unable to work independently because scheduling and resource management can be a problem. However, flexibility and the ability to respond to challenges in real time lowers the risk involved. This methodology is best suited to creative projects, those without a clear end result in mind, and for teams that collaborate well. This PM methodology has seen a rapid rise in use in recent years, particularly in software development and other IT projects.
While PMP and Agile are used to address the implementation of projects, ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework that will address the way your IT organization operates and asks the basic question “are we doing the right things”. Combining ITIL and a project management framework will allow you to execute projects with a higher level of quality. The ITIL framework works well for any size business and was developed specifically for IT organizations. The seven ITIL processes and subdivided topics include:
- Service Delivery
- IT Financial management
- Capacity management
- Availability management
- IT Continuity management
- Service Level management
- Service Support
- ITIL change management
- Release management
- Problem management
- Incident management
- Configuration management
- Service desk
- Planning to Implement Service Management
- Security Management
- Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Management
- Network service management
- Operations management
- Management of local processors
- Computer installation and acceptance
- Systems management
- The Business Perspective
- Application Management
This methodology is so comprehensive and versatile that it has been used in multiple industries by organizations of all sizes, including government, finance, and manufacturing. ITIL is best suited to IT businesses.
Make sure to take the time to figure out which project management solution is best for your situation. Whether your company is based in Tokyo or Shanghai, selecting the right project management methodology can mean the difference between the success of your company and the disappointment of missed opportunities. If you want to learn more about EIRE Systems project management support, contact us today!