What is a project management methodology

What is a project management methodology?  Some project managers assume that success of the project is dependent on a formal methodology.  A formal methodology is said to give direction, save time, and improves project quality.

Many project managers use some kind of methodology: sticky notes on a project board, documented procedures, or software either customized for project management or adapted to it, such as a word processing and spreadsheet programs.

The common theme of these and other methodologies is that they assist project management and can improve project success.

What is a project management methodology?

A methodology is “a set of methods, processes and practices that are repeatedly carried out to deliver projects.”  The key concept is that the same steps are repeated for every project undertaken.  Repetition encourages efficiency in the approach to project completion.

When purchasing or developing a methodology, it should include a core set of processes to follow for delivering projects; a set of templates to help you build deliverables quickly; suite of case studies to help you learn from past projects; an option for customizing the methodology provided; and the ability to import your existing processes into it.

A project manager that is efficient, effective and experienced is necessary, regardless of type of methodology, to ensure projects and completed successfully.

No methodology will be 100% applicable to every type of project. There will be need to customize any methodology to ensure that it perfectly fits the project management environment.

Why use a project management methodology?

A methodology provides a clear process for managing projects.  When customized, the process management methodology tells the project team what has to be completed to deliver the project, how it should be done, in which order and by when.

Using a methodology makes it possible to create a project roadmap; monitor time, cost and quality; control change and scope; minimise risks and issues; and manage staff and suppliers.

Of course, it is necessary to use the elements of the methodology that are most suitable to each individual project.  Managing smaller projects calls for lightweight processes; bigger projects require heavyweight processes to monitor and control every element of the project in depth.

Managing every project the same way will help develop efficiencies; it also enables the project manager and team to work smarter and reduce stress.  A methodology will also give the project team a clear understanding of what is expected from them and boost the chances of success.

What is a project management methodology?  It is a valuable tool in improving the way projects are started, developed, and finished.  Broken down, a methodology provides:

  • A core set of processes to follow for delivering projects;
  • A set of templates to help you build deliverables quickly;
  • A suite of case studies to help you learn from past projects;
  • An option for customising the methodology provided;
  • The ability to import your existing processes into it.

A methodology well-matched to the project management style in place keeps the project on task and eliminates confusion for the project manager and team.

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