Project Management

Choosing the Right IT Project Methodology: Lessons From History

Kim is a scrum master in Catonsville, Maryland.

The great thing about being old…er, I mean, experienced…is that you can remember times when things were different, and when projects were managed differently. In this article, I’ll walk you through some of the main project methodologies used for information technology projects today and give a little history of each. I’ll also give recommendations for when each methodology might be most appropriate.

While not strictly a project methodology, prototyping is a method borrowed from the engineering and architecture fields. Like most plans, blueprints evolve—and at a certain point the engineer or architect is ready to put his plan to work by building a model and testing it. The more complex the project, the more modeling and testing needed.

Sometimes called “proof-of-concept” work, several cycles of model/building (perhaps with bigger and better models, and progressively longer and more rigorous testing) may be done. Of course, prototyping has costs associated with it; some or all of the work is thrown away; and too much of a good thing can kill a new product, especially if the budget is limited.

But in the world of information technology—and whether dealing with software, hardware or something conceptual like the cloud—prototyping is still a valid method, and should be considered when the conditions are …

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"Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler."

- Albert Einstein