Communication and interpersonal skills, negotiation ability, conflict resolution prowess, and high motivation. While some of these crucial abilities in project management come naturally, there is still a dire need for individuals to attend PMP training in order to develop the conscious skills needed to consistently achieve high levels of success as professionals in this field. Training and certification benefits include high market value, increased credibility, and in many cases, higher pay. According to the Earning Power Project Management Salary Survey – Ninth Edition, “PMP certification holders earn 20 percent more than their non-certified peers.”
With the outsourcing of tasks in the virtual space happening now more than ever, there is an increasing demand for professionals in virtual space management, which is a process used to manage a virtual team composed of different members scattered across various geographical locations and time zones.
The following is a list of some of the widely adopted project management approaches:
The Waterfall Approach
This method is the most traditional in project management adopted from the construction and manufacturing industries. Here, project activities are broken down into linear, sequential, and pre-defined phases where each phase of the project relies upon the completion of the previous one. The sequence adopts the following order:
It is however a bit rigid and may not work well in some complex projects with changing requirements. Secondly, errors or issues may prove very costly for projects. One, because its rigidly linear nature leaves no room for correcting errors. Two because errors may not even be discovered until the project is complete and handed over because testing is done at the tail-end of the project.
Thus the waterfall approach is best suited for simple low-risk projects with relatively straightforward requirements.
The Agile Methodology
The Agile project management approach was developed to overcome the rigidity associated with the waterfall methodology. It involves breaking up the project into several manageable iterations that encourage flexible responses to change while promoting constant collaboration among stakeholders, continual learning, improvement at every stage, evolutionary development, and early deliveries. Once the work begins, the teams cycle through a process of planning, execution, and evaluation for each iteration thus enabling the implementation of feedback as the project progresses for a much better outcome.
Being pegged on collaboration, constant testing, and adaptation, the Agile methodology significantly reduces reworks as it allows for early detection and resolution of bugs and issues and ultimately high-quality outcomes that are adapted to the customer changing needs.
Scrum is a framework that was born out of the Agile methodology. This framework is characterized by small self-organized cross-functional teams each with distinct roles but working together to deliver complex solutions fast.
In this method, the project is divided into short cycles known as sprints which go for about one to two weeks. It involves a meeting at the start of every sprint where team members plan and figure out how many items they can commit to and then create a sprint backlog which is basically a list of tasks to perform during the sprint. A scrum team comprises the product owner, scrum master, and the development team.
Kanban, a framework also falling under the broader Agile methodology, is a workflow management method used for defining, managing, and improving services that deliver knowledge work. In Kanban, the workflow is visually represented on a digital board in a continuous workflow structure that displays the status of tasks in stages i.e to do, in progress, in review, blocked, and done.
Giving a visual overview promotes continuous workflow while also opening up opportunities for adaptation, maximum efficiency, and continuous improvement. Kanban teams are often well adapted to changing priorities.
- Six Sigma
This methodology provides organizations with tools to improve efficiency within the business processes and general structure. It is data-driven and provides techniques that define and evaluate each step of the process. This improves its quality and ultimately the bottom-line profit, employee morale, as well as quality of products and services.
The DMAIC which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control phases is the framework designed for improving existing processes. DMADV methodology, on the other hand, stands for the Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify phases used in creating new processes.
- Lean Methodology
The fundamental principle of the Lean methodology is eliminating all forms of waste including defects, excess processing, overproduction, waste associated with waiting, inventory, transportation, and unutilized talent while increasing customer perceived value with everything that is done. Furthermore, the overall management must support and encourage the lean mindset throughout the organization at all levels. It therefore simply means doing more with less yet doing it better to yield outcomes with maximum value.
- Critical Path
This project modeling methodology is where you input all necessary factors involved in your project and output the optimal timeline for completing it. Factors to consider when implementing this model include time estimates, task dependencies, milestones or deliverables, and any hard deadlines set by clients or stakeholders.
The downside of this method is that it is also linear and sequential therefore a new task cannot be started before the previous one is completed. You deduce your critical path by stringing up all the dependent tasks together from the beginning to the end. Reviewing this critical path enables team leaders to prioritize and allocate resources into getting the most important tasks completed first and then rescheduling the lower priority jobs that clog up the team’s bandwidth.
- New Product Introduction
This is a multi-step method that takes a specific product from initial idea to market. It is carefully managed by a team of experts who track its progress and perform frequent assessments at different levels to ensure that the project is moving in the right direction. Achieving aspirational growth targets in business fundamentally involves the introduction of new opportunities and products into the business. Developing profitable, timely, high-quality products is more important today than ever before.
- Package enabled reengineering (PER)
This is a project management methodology that aims at helping organizations to see and redesign products or processes with fresh eyes. It focuses on facilitating business transformations quickly and strategically, whether through redesigning processes or realignment of people.
- Outcome mapping (OM)
This is basically a behavior-oriented, project progress measurement system that was designed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Used majorly for planning, monitoring, and evaluating development initiatives, it doesn’t focus much on measurable deliverables but instead on creating and tracking behavioral changes within the people involved in the project so as to bring about sustainable social change. This in turn leads to equally, if not more sustainable project outcomes. It is most suitable for monitoring change in somewhat complex and nonlinear development projects where change may not take the form anticipated, or even happen within the time frame laid out.
Project Management Standards, Principles, and Guidelines: The PMBOK(Project Management Body Of Knowledge)
The PMBOK that stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge is an industry framework that incorporates best practices in project management. It is a set of standards, conventions, processes, best practices, terminologies, and guidelines that are accepted as the project management industry standards. The PMBOK framework is anchored upon the five process steps of project management which are: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing.
The landscape of project management methodologies can be overwhelming since different projects come with different sets of variables, coupled with very unpredictable and uncontrollable factors. This complexity makes it almost impossible to have a one-size-fits-all methodology. A professional and skilled approach(which is obtained in training) blended with natural qualities such as instinct and empathy are therefore crucial to the achievement of optimum results in project management.