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As the role of project management continues to expand, the ways in which tasks are carried out can be assigned to a multitude of methodologies. A recent study on the state of Project Management in Manufacturing reported that 74% of respondents that experienced a high level of success used a variety of methods to get the job done. So, what does this mean? It means that people are open to a few different ways of performing tasks, so long as they work.

Juggling Methods

Managing multiple methodologies takes finesse. That’s one of the reasons why every textbook and Cliff Note on project management methodologies will tell you to stick with just one way of getting things done. That being said, each method has its own considerable strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, a combination seems the most fitting answer of all. In order to oversee a diversity of methods, it’s important to have an understanding of how to unite them all together, towards a particular goal.

Predictability

Projects don’t always follow a precise path and using one specific project management method may not make sense in the ultimate scope of things. Managing multiple methodologies ensures that the slack is picked up in one area, where another is lacking. The key to managing a project successfully is the ability to adapt and adjust. If you are aligning your efforts with a specific method in mind, you may be missing other opportunities to streamline work. Combining the most successful means of doing a certain job, means you have the highest possibility of achieving your goal.

Losing Sight

There comes a point in which a project manager may be following a strict methodology to their detriment. Carefully created methods like Waterfall, Scrum, 6 Sigma and Lean all fail to address simple upsets. This happens when the project manager is following a certain schedule so closely and looking for appropriate outcomes they forget about other things.  A project manager can lose sight of the big picture if they are focusing too much on following the specific rules of a plan, rather than managing and leading. A methodology should be used to provide directional guidance and be able to turn on a dime when appropriate.

People Not Methods

At the end of the day, will a scientific equation ever be able to account for real-life experiences? Most likely not and hence another big problem using just one method. Don’t underestimate the help of every employee when implementing multiple methodologies. Everyone should be on board to enhance their own professional experience and contribute to a project’s success.

Project Management over Process

Even if you incorporate every aspect of a project in a well-delineated schedule, staff may have an issue with the way it is carried out. Rather than constraining teams to a very specific way of doing things, allowing the project to be open to a variety of solutions is what will truly help it flourish. Of course, project governance must always be in place to ensure nothing runs off track but overall, multiple methodologies encourages independence and a less strict way of doing things.

Use all the tools you have. There is no one slapping you down and telling you to stay in a box. If getting the job done means considering multiple methodologies, no one will fault you for trying your best to make that happen.

Angela Bunner
Angela Bunner, VP of Solutions Engineering