When beginning a new project, one of the most important questions an IT project manager must answer is which methodology the project will follow. There are many different project management methods to choose from, and each one requires a different approach to planning, team structure and communication.
Here’s a look at today’s most popular project management processes, and the ways that modern IT project management tools like Clarizen can help project managers lead their teams to success.
The waterfall approach to project management is one of the oldest methodologies, and still one of the most widely used. Waterfall projects are characterized by a well-defined series of sequential phases, beginning with analysis or requirement gathering and continuing on through design, testing, implementation and maintenance. In a traditional waterfall project, each phase begins after the previous phase is finished, and there is no provision for returning to a phase which is already complete.
Success in a waterfall project depends largely on the accuracy of the requirements that are gathered in the early stages of the project, and on the team’s ability to meet the target dates for each phase. IT project managers can use Clarizen’s collaboration tools to share documents with all stakeholders to ensure that a project’s deliverables are properly defined, and use Clarizen’s interactive Gantt chart to keep team members informed about project deadlines.
Agile project management is the most common alternative to the waterfall approach. In contrast to the waterfall method, agile project management involves a series of iterative cycles, called sprints, which allow teams to adapt quickly to changes in requirements or project goals. Agile methods are an excellent choice in cases where the final deliverable cannot be specified in exact detail before work begins.
While projects can be categorized broadly as either agile or waterfall projects, IT teams have several other methods to choose from, depending on customer preferences and specific project requirements. Some methods, like Kanban and Extreme Programming, are variants of the agile approach, while others, like Lean Software Development, borrow concepts from manufacturing and other industries.
Very few IT departments or software development teams use a single IT project management process for every project. Every method has certain benefits, so project managers need to be able to apply the appropriate methodology for each project rather than trying to force all projects into a single mold.
The problem becomes when teams within an organization adopt different methodologies but are still required to work together. Fortunately, sophisticated project management software like Clarizen allows teams to use different methods for different projects while maintaining visibility into resource availability and budget performance across all projects. Teams can work in one methodology while collaborating with other teams that are using different methodologies for concurrent or related projects.
Clarizen’s IT project management software provides an array of flexible tools that allow all project managers, no matter how they organize their projects, to facilitate daily team meetings, track progress during each development phase and share documents such as user stories and release notes.
By simply using the appropriate apps from Clarizen’s app marketplace, teams can share information and work together effectively, no matter which project methodology they choose.
To learn more about how Clarizen can help with the above project methodologies, check out our suite of innovate solutions for IT project managers.