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Topics: Innovation, Schedule Management, Using PMI Standards
If there was such a thing as a *BEST* Project Management methodology, what criteria would we use to decide that?
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The question, I'd like to ask is what do professional project managers view as the "Best" Project Management methodology. However, I suspect I'd receive a lot of "it depends" answers. Therefore, this topic backs up a bit. If we wanted to compare and contrast and judge different PM methodologies, what criteria would we use to do just that? I've some thoughts, but . . . you first!
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I would start by refining the idea of "best" to "most suited for purpose." Each of the methodologies you described earlier have various strengths and weaknesses The relative size and complexity of the project tends to work to the strengths of one methodology while exposing a weakness of another. As a broad example, Scrum works very well for software development projects but may require significant alteration for a large-scale construction project.

There may well be a way to determine a universal Best Practice, but I will leave it to those with far more intelligence that I possess.
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1 reply by Rich Gargas
Jan 05, 2019 10:39 AM
Rich Gargas
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Glenn, I think your on to something with the "most suited for purpose." I subscibe to a classic definition of quality as "fitness for use."

What if I asked what restaurant provided the "highest quality food." Some people, on the go, needing a quick inexpensive food fix, could accurately say "McDonald's!" Others would head towards world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurants.

But I'm not giving up on the thought that one method might, in general, stand above others, serving both as summit of existing project managment progress and a foundation upon which to continue to improve the practices of project management.
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Interesting question.

I think the most optimal project management approach has to be one that is adaptable to the culture of the organization, its resources, the environment in which projects are developed and the types of projects being worked on.

I work for an organization that builds engineered-to-order combustion equipment. For us, scope and change management are absolutely essential, but our fabrication process is very predictable so risk, schedule and cost management are almost on autopilot after the initiation phase.

Before joining my current organization I worked on large capital projects for a Steel Mill. Those projects were larger with many more variables, and because most could only be implemented during facility shutdowns lasting 10 to 12 days per year, managing the schedule was literally life-or-dead for the project.

Considering the definition of a successful project is one that meets its stated goals while remaining within its budget and schedule, I think there are a few "best practices" that one can apply everywhere (aptly documented in the PBOK). But with regards to a "Method", I honestly doubt there can be a PM methodology that is applicable to any circumstance and that is completely divorced from an organization's environmental factors.
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1 reply by Rich Gargas
Jan 05, 2019 10:47 AM
Rich Gargas
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Genaro, I'm curious about your diverse experience here. Did you happen to use any particular scheduling software for engineered-to-order or steel mill projects?

I've seen thoughts about criteria that a "Best method" should be "adaptable to the culture." I differ on the implied cause-effect sequence here. I'm more of a believer that the project management methods (system) should drive behaviors which consequently drive culture.

In other words, well-implemented project management system will drive culture -- at least the part of an organization which executes projects.
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Jan 02, 2019 4:35 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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Not at all, not "it depends". FIRST PART:, project managerment method (methodology is widly used but incorrect) does not exists. The pyramid is: 1-the base: approach (Agile, Lean, PMI, mix of them). 2-one step above, life cycle model (predictive or adaptive). 3-one step above: process (based on life cyle model - iterative, predictive, sequential, waterfall, V, etc) 4-one step above, a method based on life cycle process: SDLC, V, XP, etc. etc. 4-one step above: tool based on the method. For exapmle, if after making an analysis the organization decide it is ready to use Agile approach, it is ready to use adaptive model, it is ready to use XP, and it is readky to use any tool then go for that. SECOND PART: how to know if the organization is ready? Business analyst role is accountable for that. Here comes, just in case it could help you, an article based on practical way to do that which was published by the PMI and the IIBA as best practice: https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...-right-solution
There is a LOT to unpack in your answer Sergio. But the top question in my mind is that many of the techniques you mention are applicable to IT projects (Software Development in particular. If we adopt criteria that a "best" approach should be able to apply to any type of project, these approaches are "specialized" for the subset of software development.

Or do you see it differently?
Network:59



Jan 03, 2019 3:43 PM
Replying to Glenn Chundrlek
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I would start by refining the idea of "best" to "most suited for purpose." Each of the methodologies you described earlier have various strengths and weaknesses The relative size and complexity of the project tends to work to the strengths of one methodology while exposing a weakness of another. As a broad example, Scrum works very well for software development projects but may require significant alteration for a large-scale construction project.

There may well be a way to determine a universal Best Practice, but I will leave it to those with far more intelligence that I possess.
Glenn, I think your on to something with the "most suited for purpose." I subscibe to a classic definition of quality as "fitness for use."

What if I asked what restaurant provided the "highest quality food." Some people, on the go, needing a quick inexpensive food fix, could accurately say "McDonald's!" Others would head towards world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurants.

But I'm not giving up on the thought that one method might, in general, stand above others, serving both as summit of existing project managment progress and a foundation upon which to continue to improve the practices of project management.
Network:59



Jan 03, 2019 5:08 PM
Replying to Genaro Blake
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Interesting question.

I think the most optimal project management approach has to be one that is adaptable to the culture of the organization, its resources, the environment in which projects are developed and the types of projects being worked on.

I work for an organization that builds engineered-to-order combustion equipment. For us, scope and change management are absolutely essential, but our fabrication process is very predictable so risk, schedule and cost management are almost on autopilot after the initiation phase.

Before joining my current organization I worked on large capital projects for a Steel Mill. Those projects were larger with many more variables, and because most could only be implemented during facility shutdowns lasting 10 to 12 days per year, managing the schedule was literally life-or-dead for the project.

Considering the definition of a successful project is one that meets its stated goals while remaining within its budget and schedule, I think there are a few "best practices" that one can apply everywhere (aptly documented in the PBOK). But with regards to a "Method", I honestly doubt there can be a PM methodology that is applicable to any circumstance and that is completely divorced from an organization's environmental factors.
Genaro, I'm curious about your diverse experience here. Did you happen to use any particular scheduling software for engineered-to-order or steel mill projects?

I've seen thoughts about criteria that a "Best method" should be "adaptable to the culture." I differ on the implied cause-effect sequence here. I'm more of a believer that the project management methods (system) should drive behaviors which consequently drive culture.

In other words, well-implemented project management system will drive culture -- at least the part of an organization which executes projects.
Network:1702



Great discussions and excellent points. I would use "how to manage risks to delivering outcomes as agreed upon" as the primary criteria to come up with the best PM methodology.
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1 reply by Rich Gargas
Jan 06, 2019 11:02 AM
Rich Gargas
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Deepa, I like that a lot. I wonder about expanding that language. What would you say to replacing "risks" with "uncertainty"? Here's my thinking:

"Risks" seems to have a specific meaning in PM lore -- and a particular process: Risk Management. I view risks as being a subcategory of several "uncertainty" elements that a project management method must deal with. These may include schedule uncertainty, scope uncertainty, resource uncertainty and so forth.

So what do you say to this friendly amendment?

"The primary criteria is the one which best manages uncertainty to deliver agreed-upon outcomes."
Network:59



Jan 05, 2019 11:55 PM
Replying to Deepa Bhide
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Great discussions and excellent points. I would use "how to manage risks to delivering outcomes as agreed upon" as the primary criteria to come up with the best PM methodology.
Deepa, I like that a lot. I wonder about expanding that language. What would you say to replacing "risks" with "uncertainty"? Here's my thinking:

"Risks" seems to have a specific meaning in PM lore -- and a particular process: Risk Management. I view risks as being a subcategory of several "uncertainty" elements that a project management method must deal with. These may include schedule uncertainty, scope uncertainty, resource uncertainty and so forth.

So what do you say to this friendly amendment?

"The primary criteria is the one which best manages uncertainty to deliver agreed-upon outcomes."
Network:1058



My approach when having to choose between any tools, techniques, frameworks, methods or methodologies is to determine what will do the job, regardless of prescriptions. 'Doing the job' implies adding value to a specific situation and determining the KPI's to determine if value is being added will differ. So bottom line I have never selected any approach based on the question - 'what type of project is this?' alone. I need to ask what value must be added and then select whatever approach will achieve this.

My personal opinion is that we have all that is required to deliver a successful project and we've had it for a very long time but we keep on inventing 'new' ways by renaming/rebranding/repackaging what already exist and then we spend years trying to determine which is best.
Network:466



All methodologies are sub products of PMBOK like agile, scrum .. so use which ever suits your needs.. we cannot use agile in construction as we cant release a livable house in each sprint.. and also for automobile industry we can't release working car in each sprint
Network:59



Anil, those are good points about the use of Agile and Scrum. Since these can only be used on particular types of projects, they fall short of making a "best practices" list. I'm skeptical that these are project management methodologies -- I know them as software development methodologies.

However, I do believe there are particular tactics in Agile/Scrum that could be applied to other more robust methodologies. For instance, while you can't build a livable house, you could iterate the painting task by tinting the base coat in the colors you *think* you want for your rooms. Then be allowed to change your mind before the final coat. So the tactics of iterations (where possible) and rapid feedback from product (home) owners may well be part of a best practice compendium.

What do others think?
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