Selecting a Project Management Methodology


by Cloud Coach

There’s no doubt about it, choosing a project management methodology adds value to the business. There are so many benefits, particularly around an industry of shared knowledge and lessons learned. This wealth of knowledge can be tapped into for templates, advice, professional development, and data-driven analysis. The community that each methodology offers is vast and devoted. Real project managers whose workflows have been tested by fire with valuable insight into how to get a project on track and keep it there are accessible in forums and articles available to anyone with an internet connection. And they love talking about their tips, tricks, and tools of the trade. The decision to use a prescribed methodology will have a long-lasting downstream impact for all future projects and team members, so it’s an important decision to consider carefully.

Overview

We find that smaller, less critical projects can be undertaken with lighter controls and simple approaches whereas large, mission or life-critical projects should use more rigor and validation. Conducting an assessment in order to uncover more specific information regarding the methodology will help to find the best fit. This should be performed using information about the Team, Culture, and Project scored 1-10 scale then plotted a radar-type matrix.

The following diagram and scoring provide an example to facilitate a productive discussion in your organization.

There are three categories with three sub-categories. Rate each on a 1-10 scale.

1. TEAM

Score team size, experience, and access to information.
a. Team Size: Use the following scale to determine score:

b. Experience – What is the team’s overall level of experience in their subject matter area?
c. Access to Client – How much access for questions and feedback should the team have?

2. CULTURE

Score organizational environmental factors as they relate to projects and teams.

a. Buy-In Approach – Is there a sponsor with understanding/support for a specific approach?
b. Trust In Team – Does stakeholder/leadership have confidence that the team can produce a successful output? 
c. Decision Making – How much decision-making autonomy about the approach to project work should the team have?​

3. PROJECT

Score the conditions under which the project will be conducted.

a. Likelihood of Change – Is there a sponsor with understanding/support for a specific approach?
b. Product/Service Type – What is the team’s overall level of experience in their subject matter area?
c. Incremental Delivery – How much access for questions and feedback should the team have?

Selecting a methodology should add security and provide guidance, not increase risk or sacrifice performance. The team is more than a numbered score and there is nuance involved in distilling and quantifying your people and projects. The goal of the analysis is not to prescribe a methodology on to an organization, but rather to guide the principal parties through meaningful discussion that they may arrive together at a supported decision.

Conclusion

Selecting a methodology should add security and provide guidance, not increase risk or sacrifice performance. The team is more than a numbered score and there is nuance involved in distilling and quantifying your people and projects. The goal of the analysis is not to prescribe a methodology on to an organization, but rather to guide the principal parties through meaningful discussion that they may arrive together at a supported decision.

Some solutions are more geared toward larger teams or more complex projects, others toward smaller team or simple projects. Whatever that mix is in your organization, it should have tools that work with them. Cloud Coach offers multiple views for projects such as Gantt, Kanban, and Task Lists. So no matter how your teams and team members work we have solutions to simplify the process.