Project management methodologies were invented to enable teams to work more efficiently in order to provide a better product in optimal time. Over the last few decades, an overwhelming number of different methodologies have appeared, many of which have fallen out of favor or been replaced by “new and improved” methods. Some of the major methodologies that are currently receiving a lot of press include:

 

  • Waterfall
  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD)

 

Given the number of choices available, which methodology is the perfect fit for your organization? Another way to ask the question is:

 

“Is there a silver bullet project management methodology?”

 

The truth is that one methodology may not be a perfect fit for all projects within an organization, and even a single project might require a mixture of methodologies to yield the best results. Is the goal a massive IT modernizationproject or a simple app? Do you need the project deployed immediately, or are you in the initial stages of planning for future growth? Each of your organization’s needs must be evaluated before choosing a methodology or creating a custom or hybrid approach.

 

For example, some tasks may need to be managed with the classic waterfall method to make the best use of time and resources, while other aspects of the project need the agile approach. If you are wondering whether there is an advantage to using different methodologies in a single environment, consider this: If you try to build a complex, physical product — such as a house — you would not try to accomplish the task with a single tool. For some tasks, you need a hammer, but for others, you need a pipe wrench. It is normally possible to drive a nail by beating it with a pipe wrench, but the work goes much faster — and the finished product will look much better — if you use a hammer. Why, then, try to use the equivalent of a pipe wrench on all of your projects when some of them need a hammer?

 

Project management methodologies are merely tools that can be used to help execute a project successfully. Like other tools, different methodologies can be used for different purposes, but individual projects may require the use of more than one tool. This is not a flaw in the methodologies, but rather a flaw in the way we attempt to use them.

 

Regardless of what they are attempting to build, there will always be people who insist on using an electric screwdriver and those who insist that only a manual screwdriver will do. Likewise, there are project managers who become so enamored of a particular methodology that they insist on using it even if a better method exists. We have to recognize which tools are most suitable for the job and use them appropriately — whether we are building a home or developing an IT solution.

 

Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner fellow, said “We believe the most successful organizations do not end up with ‘fit for no one’ IT. They have traditional IT using traditional waterfall [methodology] and traditional vendors, and also have non-linear IT, with lightweight governance, using agile methodology,” (Follow this link for the full article titled: “CIOs must combine traditional and agile IT projects” http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240212482/CIOs-must-combine-traditional-and-agile-IT-projects)

Having built massive applications in various different flavors and technologies with diverse teams, we have come to realize that there are certain elements of your own touch that you sprinkle into the recipe of project management. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to project management. Instead of searching for a silver bullet, an organization needs to expose itself to well-known methodologies and tweak them as needed. At AhaApps, we have experimented with different methodologies, but for most projects, we stick with a hybrid of waterfall and agile methodologies.

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