Project Management – Best methodologies for IT Projects

Types of Project Management Methodologies

There are several project management methodologies available, some of which are generic and can be used for a wide variety of projects, while there are others that focus a particular area. Let’s have a look at the key PM methodologies.

1. PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects IN Controlled Environments) and is a process-based methodology that was originally developed for use by the UK Government but is now widely used across all industries and sectors in the UK and around the world. This methodology is based around having distinct manageable project stages with approvals required between stages and planning based on the delivery of defined products. It’s a flexible methodology that can fit many different types and sizes of projects which is why it is so widely used. Although PRINCE2 is commonly adopted for IT projects, it doesn’t work well with development projects which tend to be more effective with Waterfall, Agile or Scrum.

2. Waterfall

Waterfall is a linear project management methodology that is typically used in the development of software programs and applications. A plan of action is developed, which is executed in a specific manner. Generally speaking, a project that is managed using the waterfall approach, comprises of eight process phases, including conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, implementation and maintenance. Each process flows downwards into the next process which is where the methodology gets its name. The Waterfall project management approach provides you more control, but it is highly inflexible.

3. Agile

Agile is a popular alternative project management methodology that enables project teams to react unpredictably to sudden changes or unknowns during project scoping or delivery. This is especially beneficial when working on software development projects that typically involve lots of iterative activities. The structure is similar to Waterfall although each process stage in Agile is referred to as a Sprint and like Waterfall, follows a sequential sequence from one process (Sprint) to the next. Agile isn’t typically adopted for IT infrastructure projects although it is becoming more popular for these types of projects. It lends itself better for software and web development and remains to be one of the most popular methodologies in this arena.

4. Six Sigma

Six Sigma, which has been around since 1986, isn’t recommended for use with IT projects as it’s a methodology designed to provide techniques and tools to support process definition and improvement. Six Sigma lends itself well to business process and change projects and is focused on the quality of the output as opposed to providing a structured set of phases or stages, as is found in Waterfall, Agile and PRINCE2. The methodology follows a defined set of steps that each have targets attributed to ensure that the quality of the outcome reaches the desired level. Like PRINCE2, Six Sigma can be used across many different sectors and industries although it is especially well adopted in the manufacturing industry.

5. Scrum

Scrum is iterative in nature and was actually developed based on the Agile methodology. It involves formation of small focus groups that work independently and report to the Scrum manager who evaluates the progress and reprioritise any backlogged tasks. The Scrum methodology builds a project environment based around collaboration, innovation, self management and flexibility. Organisations that adopt a Scrum approach typically have a ‘business side’ and a ‘technical side’ to the project meaning greater levels of involvement and ultimately a better, more tuned product. Scrum isn’t recommended for IT infrastructure projects but works extremely well for software and web development projects.

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