4 Project Management Styles (and how to choose the best one for your business)
The right project management can be the difference between staying on budget or going over, finishing a project on time or completing it late. It is about decision making, judgment calls, and motivating the team with consistent communication, as well as creating the working environment within a project that contributes to its success.
Not all project management styles are the same. So when it comes to choosing a technology firm to work with, you should definitely look into their project management style, as well as their track record, and make sure that it fits your business needs and structure.
4 Common Project Management Styles
There is no “one size fits all” approach to most jobs, including project management. Project management has evolved over the last few years to include strategizing and not just execution. While most of our project management style adheres to an Agile framework, part of our job as a technology consulting firm is to understand our clients needs and determine the best method to use to help them get what they need.
When you think of Waterfall project management, think of a gantt chart. It’s a straightforward, linear system in which a project is divided into distinct phases with subtasks and dependencies, and each phase begins once the prior one is complete.
Waterfall project management is great for projects where the process and each team member's responsibilities are clearly defined and mapped out from the beginning, and they’re not expected to change throughout the project. It’s particularly ideal for longer, linear projects that require step-by-step phase completion, as well as projects with a static goal and scope.
Image Source: ScrumAlliance
This model may be limiting if your project has overlapping timelines or requires frequent modifications along the way – for example, incorporating user feedback on an ongoing basis.
Moving away from the linear nature of Waterfall project management, Agile project management is a collaborative, iterative approach. It breaks the larger goal into smaller, more manageable chunks that can be worked on simultaneously, decreasing the time required to complete a project.
A project using Agile methodology has several iterations or releases, and ensures feedback can be acted on quickly and that responsive changes can be made at each stage of a sprint or product cycle.
Image Source: ScrumAlliance
This management style not only works well for projects that require frequent innovation, collaboration and modifications, it’s also an approach that can be applied to how an organization is run overall. It's highly popular in the field of software development, where technology and customer needs are constantly changing.
"Agile" is an umbrella term for a set of guiding principles, rather than its own distinct step-by-step method. Agile project management can be subdivided into two schools of thought: Scrum and Kanban.
Derived from Agile project management, the Scrum methodology focuses on completing work in short cycles called "sprints." Teams have "daily standups," which are brief meetings held to discuss task progress and address any issues. These meetings are led by a "Scrum master," whose main responsibility is to oversee the day-to-day work and remove any impediments to productivity. Several of our crew members are certified scrum masters who can help your team implement this methodology into your organization.
Originally, scrum was formalized for software development projects, but it works well for any complex, innovative scope of work. Scrum project management helps teams turn projects around quickly, while maintaining quality as well as flexibility for changes as needed, and is part of a longer journey toward agility
It emphasizes productivity and collaboration and is especially effective for larger projects which have many different parts and dependencies and is best implemented in teams made up of confident people with well-defined roles and know how those roles and responsibilities relate to the project's success.
Strategic project management makes strategy leadership everyone’s job, not just the C-suite. It takes traditional project management principles and practices to another level that improves strategic alignment, informs resource allocation decisions and operational planning, and helps mitigate risks.
Great strategic project leadership focuses on aligning project and portfolio management with strategy, helping coordinate clients and teams, forming a vision for success, and keeping everyone on track.
The success of this approach depends on the Project Manager's ability to connect perspectives and understand the motivations of all involved (the client's needs, the stakeholders in the project, etc.) They must also have an ability to think strategically; anticipating problems and solving issues resourcefully.
How We Can Help
As we said, understanding our clients and the structure of their organization helps determine the best approach when it comes to managing a project. In addition, these methodologies can be implemented not just in the IT process, but within entire organizations. As a consulting firm, we have helped implement and improve processes across departments and organizations, and can do the same for you.