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The more time you spend in the world of project management, the more project management methodologies you’ll need to learn. Just as a master carpenter might own hundreds of specialized tools, compared to the basic hammer and saw that a novice woodworker might need, an experienced project manager should be familiar with a wide variety of project management techniques and know when each one is appropriate for use.

What are the Most Common Project Management Methodologies?

While there are dozens of project management methodologies in use today, most of them are variants of the following basic types:

  • Agile
  • Waterfall
  • Critical Chain
  • Critical Path
  • Lean Project Management

Project managers should familiarize themselves with the project management methodologies on this list, and should also understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different subsets and variations of each approach.

What are the Different Types of Agile Management?

When it first gained popularity in the early 2000s, agile project management was a revolution in software development. In recent years, the basic concepts behind agile management have been adopted in many other industries and have given rise an entire family of related methodologies:

  • Scrum: one of the most common agile methods, Scrum allows teams to adapt to vague or frequently-changing business requirements.
  • Kanban: a visual style of project management used by organizations in fields as diverse as software development, manufacturing and marketing.
  • Scrumban: a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban methodology.
  • Extreme programming: XP is based on multiple short development cycles, rather than a few longer cycles, with the goal of improving product quality.

These methods, and other agile methods, continue to gain popularity as more organizations discover the flexibility and speed that the agile approach can deliver.

What are the Alternatives to Agile?

Despite its benefits, agile project management is not right for every project or company. If you need an alternative approach, there are many to choose from:

  • Waterfall: the most traditional PM methodology, waterfall is a sequential approach in which each phase is dependent on the completion of the preceding phase.
  • Critical path: another sequential approach which focuses on a sequence of activities which must be completed on time in order to meet the overall project timeline.
  • Critical chain: similar to critical path methodology, but with an emphasis on resource availability.
  • Six Sigma: used in many industries, Six Sigma methodology places a strong emphasis on process control and quality management.
  • Lean project management: a process-based approach, based on concepts developed in the manufacturing industry, with the goal of reducing waste and improving efficiency.

As you can see, today’s project managers have a tremendous range of available options. Using a flexible, configurable project management solution like Clarizen can help your organization take full advantage of each project management methodology, without the need to change your existing team structure or workflows.

Angela Bunner
Angela Bunner, VP of Solutions Engineering