Project Management

Bring Diversity to Your Methods

Martin VanDerSchouw, PMP

There is no such thing as a perfect methodology. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Each has situations they handle well and situations where their use will spell disaster. Unfortunately, most organizations choose simplicity over common sense. A better way begins with some questions.

Often the quickest and easiest organizational gains can be found by examining the methodology or methodologies used by an organization in the execution of projects. In a majority of organizations, a single methodology is used to provide the actionable framework of the project. The most common of these is a waterfall model where activities are done in a four or five phase sequence: analysis, design, development, testing, and deployment. This highly linear approach to project execution is the oldest and has its origins in the engineering world.

Another common family of methodologies is called agile development. It is frequently found in the information technology world. Agile development makes extensive use of short iterations with significant stakeholder feedback to deliver project results.

Each of these methodologies has its fans and detractors, and they represent only the two extremes of the methodology world. With only limited research one can quickly discover over 30 other methodologies. However, there is no such thing as a perfect methodology. Each methodology has advantages …

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