Business and project management processes have been undergoing significant changes over the past decade, thanks to technology changes. It has, in fact, changed the way companies communicate, conduct business, and manage teams to improve customers’ experiences as well as the business revenue.
Project management has come a long way from the traditional Gantt charts. Today we have different models and methodologies to make managing project a seamless and transparent process that delights team members and customers alike. Organizations too need to be flexible and ready to streamline their process, eliminating wastage and human-errors and focusing more on the end-result.
Changing Project Management Methodologies
Project management methodologies involve a set of different processes that are designed to help your team and others involved with a project to deliver the task/project faster and within budget, while resolving issues, should they arise, without hampering the end-result. These methodologies specify the tasks that your teams need to complete as well as when to do them to make the most of allotted time and resources.
Methodologies outline the tasks that need to be completed first, keeping all other subsequent tasks in mind. They further bring risk management strategies in place to eliminate or at least reduce the impact of any unforeseen ‘hiccups’. Finally, project management methodologies help businesses define the scope of a specific project, considering the time constraints and resource availability, and ensure the quality of the end-result.
These methodologies of project management have changed over the past years. The PM methods used in the mid-1950 when organizations introduced formal project management tools and techniques to manage complex projects are no longer valid in today’s scenario. The most commonly used methods during that time include Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Method (CPM).
While they were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s, things began to change in the 1980s with the advent of personal computers and cost-effective project management software, making the practice more commonplace. By 1990s, the concept became well received by several organizations and industries. The development of project management tools and techniques has been rapid since then, creating a new business environment.
In today’s scenario, the most basic project management software allows business owners and managers to:
- Find out how a project is doing
- Assign tasks and input real-time status of those tasks
- Be informed about the progress of the project including advances or delays in the schedule
- Stay “in the loop” even if they are working at a remote site
Different Project Management Methodologies
Although there are various methodologies applied to project management the following are the most frequently used techniques applied by modern businesses. The choice, however, depends upon the scope and requirements of your project as well as on your existing workplace culture.
This method emphasises that use of teams is an important aspect along with establishing goals and clear timeliness. Managers assign different aspects and modules of a specific project to team members and pass thing along as they complete assigned tasks. Waterfall project management, however, is criticised for being non-responsive to changes within the project scopes. Besides, it fails to address the issue of communication of problems that arise with the project down the line.
Agile project management is the most popular method implemented by most businesses. It aims to empower teams while encouraging client involvement to better manage change and risk throughout the life of a specific project. The focus, however, remains on project monitoring, development of teams and responsiveness to change. It therefore encourages continued communication although the project lifecycle.
A part of agile movement, Scrum aims to dramatically improve team productivity by eliminating all possible burdens. Communication and collaboration play important role in scrum projects along with flexibility and team organization so that organizations can better adapt to emerging business realities. It follows iterative and incremental practices, allowing software development organizations to deliver working software more frequently. It helps businesses prioritize their work and break complex projects down into manageable chunks.
Kanban model allows project managers to better collaborate with teams and other collaborators and emphasis on “just-in-time” delivery. Project managers, using a white board with sticky notes, describe the project tasks. Tasks are placed in columns like “recently completed,” “in progress,” and “in queue.” This helps team members and everyone else associated with the project to see the tasks that have been completed, tasks that are being worked on, and those coming up, maintaining a clarity throughout the life of a project. It allows extreme flexibility so that project managers can prioritize tasks, based on their urgency level.
In today’s scenario no one project management methodology fits all business requirements. Most project management tools combine two or more methods to address the changing and more complex requirements of modern businesses. For example, LiquidPlanner, an agile project management tool combines Waterfall planning for creating and managing a project schedule. Similarly, Nutcache is based on Kanban Agile model, making it an extremely flexible tool that allows businesses to adopt Scrum methodology or Kanban model, based on their project management requirements.
The Future Prediction
Many project managers opine that there will be more Agile project management methodologies in the future than Waterfall. As mentioned, all these methods follow different processes to suit different project requirements. But there is no denying that Agile is the future. Considering its benefits, it works well for changing project management needs. With Agile, you have the following benefits:
- More transparency
- Stronger and better visibility
- Lower risks
- Higher customer satisfaction
- Faster ROI
- Lower defect density
Project management tools and techniques are expected to develop even more in the coming days. With teams becoming more remote and businesses hiring independent consultants, project management is taking place over various locations. Collaboration is therefore a key aspect of project management tools. Big data and mobile project management apps are also gaining importance to help businesses of all sizes and needs grow more effectively.
While modern technology made project management more flexible and convenient, it can also make things complicated and challenging if entrepreneurs and managers aren’t careful. Entrepreneur project management is what businesses need now. In fact, business owners and project managers must see the bigger picture and lead the teams alike. They must be able to delegate tasks and take strategic steps in order to eliminate or reduce risks. This is where they need modern project management tools and techniques to remotely manage teams and projects to the best of their abilities for higher customer satisfaction as well as to boost their value proposition.