A project management methodology really provides the high level PM framework and all the steps needed for the successful delivery of a project. The chosen methodology should list all the project phases, activities and tasks required for successful completion of the project. It may also describe all these phases, activities or tasks in more detail and should also include all templates project manager may require.
Many projects are not well-suited to a traditional SDLC approach because the end-product cannot be fully specified and documented at the outset. These projects are not necessarily suited to an entirely Agile approach either, where it may not be desirable, or even possible, to deliver “bite-sized” chunks at regular intervals in order to refine what the end product will be. Even certain large, complex IT projects are ill-suited to an Agile approach because they require a measure of discipline and control. So choosing a right project methodology at the outset is important for the successful completion of the project. In order to select the right project management methodology, management must first define the requirements. This will include describing what content is needed, for instance must it list every project phase, action and activity. Must it be industry specific or can it be generic and should it also include the processes specific to your industry or organization. Further management must define the features it should include for managing the projects, such as reporting and tracking features and importing and exporting of information. Another very important step is to review what is already present. This could be an existing methodology, documents and templates. If something that works 90 per cent already exists then maybe the existing methodology only need a bit of tweaking, why reinvent the wheel? Maybe the management only need a few more templates or documented and formalized processes. A bit of research on existing methodologies that are out in the market is always helpful. These may come packaged with all the requirements, templates and features described already and can then easily be adopted for the specific needs. If neither the current methodology nor any market available methodologies provide for what is needed, then management can also look at taking best of both worlds and customize their own and existing methodologies better suited to the needs. This may be a bit more time consuming, but the benefit here is that it will closer fit your exact requirements. While choosing a project methodology management must assess it on the following critical factors
Commitment and support from top management
The essence of top management support relate to effective decision-making to authorize business process change. So the choice of a particular project methodology is always influenced by the degree of top management support for it.
The organizational structure involves an organization’s internal pattern of relationships, authority and communication. Structure is comprised of formal lines of authority and communication and the information as well as data that flow along these lines. The organisational structure plays a key role while determining which project methodology to choose. A top down structure is best suited to SDLC while a flat organisation structure entails good for Agile.
Organisation communication plays an important role in risk mitigation while choosing progress methodologies. It provides opportunities for clarification, for making sense of the organization’s priorities, and for members to decide on which methodology is best suited for the project at hand.
It can be defined as the collective programming of mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another. The organisational culture should always be taken into consideration while choosing a project methodology. A collaborative and corporate organizational culture supported by long-term management, team working, collaboration & open communication is good for Agile methodologies while a conservative & rigid culture might be better suited to SDLC methodologies.
It is inevitable that the success of an organization depends upon its staff or employees. A highly trained work force can accept a complex methodology like Agile otherwise such methodologies will create confusion among relatively less trained workforce.
Also the choice of project methodology is also dependent on the following aspects
Aspects specific to project management methodology that deserve further exploration by management include the following
Scale – how big the change will be?
Simple: are you going to organize your projects?
Personal: are you going to automate estimation and planning on you projects
Collaborative: are you going to support a team? Are you going to share information? Do you need to centralize team communications?
Enterprise: are you affecting the whole company? Are you going to bill to your clients using your projects’ data? Do you have virtual teams all around the globe?
Do the organisation & team paradigms favour a traditional or agile approach to project management?
Are you going to buy the product and support it by yourself?
How much budget the management has? Large budget will allow the management to consider standard SDLC methodology and a small one might tempt them to take up Agile.
Conducting a Risk Assessment
The risk assessment should be undertaken to determine pros and cons of different methodologies under discussion. Effective project management encourages the review of all sources of risk, including people, technology, finances, law, physical structures, or organizational hierarchies. Documentation should be created after the review, and each risk should be rated for probability of occurrence and potential seriousness of impact.
The second main area of project management methodology that can add value to management is progress tracking. This can be done with various levels of formality, involving weekly team updates, reports to stakeholders, baseline and variance reports, and earned value analyses. A project methodology which allows a seasoned project manager to promote efficient reporting will always have an advantage over any other methodology.
A project methodology which has a well-defined follow-through process will always have a lead against other methodologies as effective project review is good both to team motivation and to anticipated marketing efforts.
Finally, when all options have been assessed and management has decided on a specific project management methodology, the most important action is that of implementing that selected methodology. In order to fully implement that methodology management must ensure that everyone adopts that methodology, and provide appropriate training on the new methodology, communicate that methodology to all stakeholders, and continuously endeavour to improve the chosen methodology.