Understanding the project methodology
You know what it’s like choosing between your favourite cakes, slices or muffins when ordering a coffee at your local café where the choice can be daunting and you fear you’ll miss out on the best one?
The same goes for project methodologies – it can be daunting and confusing which one to use, with the stakes a little higher than the coffee shop.
Don’t fear says Jan Bryson, managing director project management company Partner&Prosper, the role of a good project manager is having a toolkit that embraces many different types of approaches.
“You tap into each one as you see the need and it’s better that you have the ability to combine them as the project or the client needs,” she says.
For example, she uses the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) framework, but also uses Agile approaches and elements of Prince 2, depending on what the client wants and the event she’s managing.
“I tend to be an integrator rather than a specific follower,” she says.
“PMBOK has been around for a long time with various iterations and inclusions, but it’s founded on a waterfall approach,” Jan explains.
Prince2 recognised that PMBOK was simply a framework, it didn’t give you necessarily all the tools, it was a big thinking approach for experienced project managers.
“So Prince2 said I will give you the tools to do that.”
“Agile was developed out of the IT software development space, and it works very, very well in software development.
“The problem with following a waterfall framework like PMBOK when you’re developing software, is that it’s difficult to predict and design all the requirements at the outset.
“You can spend a long time developing those features but in reality, nobody knows that far ahead what features are required or desired. So, you have to be fairly agile.
“The problem with Agile is everyone is trying to take the Agile approach and apply it to every situation, and it doesn’t always work.
“When I’m planning an event for example, there are certain activities that happen in a set way and set order – that’s waterfall. But then I apply Agile approaches across the board. So, it’s preferable to be a blend that you can apply for the project at hand”.
Overall a strong project manager either knows or has an awareness of the different methodologies. It’s not all about the framework or methodology, it’s about the integration and adaptation to apply what is best for the project and the situation.