Keeping Up With The Project Management Methodologies

Key Takeaways
Learn about the use of traditional and modern project management methodologies in project execution to keep up with the world advancements

The right project management methodology will lead to a project's success
The right project management methodology will lead to a project's success

Have you ever looked at a cockroach and noticed how, against all odds, it refuses to give up?

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving business world, we understand that staying abreast of the latest project management methodologies isn't just an option; it's a necessity.

Wait -- what does a cockroach have to do with this?

Well, if we want longevity in this industry, we must learn how to fight, fight, fight, and never give up!

Yes, that is the reality! We either learn about the changes and adapt, or our business will fail!

But don't panic; we are here to help!

We are passionate about the intricacies of project management and the transformative power of well-executed strategies. So, we've made it our mission to explore, dissect, and clearly present these methodologies.

Today's rapidly changing business landscape demands project management methodologies to evolve and adapt.

Yes, our preferred project planning methodology has its cons, so finding a methodology that works better and solves those problems is worth looking into.

Change is inevitable, and we should stay ahead of our competitors.

To help keep up with project management methodologies, we'll venture into traditional project management approaches and methodological examples like Waterfall, where each step leads to project completion. We'll dive into another project management methodology example, such as agile, which has taken the business world by storm, allowing teams to adapt during a project life cycle.

But that's not all – we'll also unravel other methodologies and explore how they fit into project management.

Why are project management methodologies critical?

As a project manager, attempting to navigate the intricate world of project execution without a methodology can lead to missed deadlines, misallocated resources, and a general sense of disarray. That sounds like a disaster we wouldn't want to be in.

Rise and Shine! Project Management Methodologies Are Evolving

Different organizations need different project management methodologies are adaptable
Different organizations need different project management methodologies are adaptable

What is program management methodologies?

Project management methodologies play a crucial role in successful project execution. They help us define clear objectives, break down complex tasks into manageable milestones, allocate resources effectively, and establish a timeline that keeps everyone accountable.

Without a project management method, we will be like navigators without a compass. A tragic end, wasted time, wasted energy!

Project management methodologies foster collaboration, communication, and transparency among teams, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal.

Traditional project management methodologies like the waterfall, PMBOK, and PRINCE2 are the most popular methodologies used in rigid industries.

But even these industries tend to use hybrids to be more efficient, significantly when the good old step-by-step predictive approach from waterfall methodology doesn't quite cut it.

If working in a more rigid industry or governmental organization, we might find that traditional waterfall, PRINCE2, or PMBOK are used more often, although hybrids can be found there, too.

There is no one-size-fits-all in project management, as different industries have different goals and production methods and thus need different project management methodologies. Software developers tried using traditional project management methodologies that did not align with their needs, leading to frustrations and negative performance.

That's why software developers had to design project management methodologies to address their needs. The end result is a productive team and successful projects.

We should find a methodology that aligns with our team and project if we want to succeed.

But first, how do traditional and modern project methodologies differ? We help you understand in this next section.

Traditional vs. Modern Project Management Methodologies

Traditional methods require stable environment while modern methodologies
Traditional methods require stable environment while modern methodologies

Traditional methodologies thrive in projects with well-defined, unchanging requirements and a stable environment. They're akin to constructing a meticulously designed building where changes are costly and time-consuming. However, their rigidity can become a drawback when unexpected changes or uncertainties arise, as they may require substantial adjustments to the entire plan.

The most iconic example is the Waterfall methodology, which follows these linear processes.

  • Initiation: The project's goals, scope, and requirements are defined.
  • Planning: Detailed planning of tasks, resources, budget, and timeline.
  • Execution: Implementation of the plan, often in a linear sequence.
  • Monitoring and Control: Tracking progress, managing risks, and making adjustments.
  • Closing: Final delivery, testing, and project closure.

When it comes to modern methodologies, we find that they are built to thrive in today's dynamic and ever-changing landscapes. Agile methodologies, including Scrum and Kanban, have gained prominence for their adaptability and customer-centric focus.

Modern methodologies shine when we deal with projects that demand rapid responses to changes, innovation, and close collaboration. They prioritize delivering value early and often, welcoming alterations even late. This adaptability empowers teams to respond effectively to evolving customer needs and market trends.

What Are the Types of Project Management Methodologies?

What is project methodology?


It is a structured approach or set of guidelines that outlines how a project is planned, executed, monitored, and completed to achieve its goals.

And here is a list of project management methodologies to choose from for the next project:

  • Waterfall
  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Scramban
  • Lean

Now let's discuss these popular project management methodology types and define each project methodology:

Waterfall Methodology

The traditional, straightforward project management methodology is the Waterfall Methodology. The tasks are completed sequentially. The process flows downwards, just like a waterfall. This means one task must be completed for the next to start.  

Waterfall projects begin with a comprehensive and detailed requirements analysis phase, which minimizes changes later in the process. Since it relies heavily on documentation, detailed documentation at each step ensures a thorough understanding of the project's progress, objectives, and functionalities.

So, does this mean the method is rigid?

Yes! This methodology is less adaptable to changes once the project has progressed beyond the requirements phase. And boy, if we think of altering requirements or functionalities, it will be complex and costly due to the linear nature of the process!

This methodology is also rigid to a customer's feedback and adjustments. So, this method wouldn't be convenient if we wanted- stakeholders' input, especially when the project is in the later stages.

When to use waterfall methodology

The Waterfall methodology is perfect for projects where stability, predictability, and detailed documentation are paramount.

We can use the waterfall methodology if our project has a defined end goal, and we are sure it will not change as it progresses.

We can use the waterfall methodology if there will be no customer involvement during the stages.

We can use this methodology in a regulated industry that needs documentation and extensive project tracking, as the waterfall method uses Gantt charts for planning and scheduling.

And lastly,

We can use this method if there will be a need to bring new people into the project midway, as we can get them up to speed quickly without changing anything.

The waterfall approach is great for manufacturing, construction, and software development projects where a customer only requires the end product.


The linear project management approach can be frustrating, especially if our project needs adaptations as it progresses.

This led to adopting the Agile approach, a set of project management principles and practices prioritizing flexibility, collaboration, customer feedback, and iterative development.

Well, Agile originated in the software development industry but has since been adopted in various fields to manage projects with changing requirements and uncertain environments.

The Agile project management methodology allows teams to revise projects when needed instead of waiting until the completion of a project to review and amend. Contrary to what many may believe, the flexibility in Agile project management makes project delivery fast, unlike the Waterfall methodology.

Agile emphasizes the importance of communication and collaboration among team members. It values interactions leading to understanding and effective problem-solving. Agile principles sprung from the need for adaptive project management.

Agile involves customers and stakeholders throughout the project to ensure that the final product meets their needs. Regular feedback guides development and adjustments.

Common Agile Methodologies:

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Lean

We will discuss each of these methodologies below in detail.


Daily Scrum help team members discuss their projects
Daily Scrum help team members discuss their projects

Imagine we're working on a project, let's say, building a fancy new app. It will be impossible to do everything at once, and we will need to break down the work into smaller, manageable chunks. That is where Scrum methodology comes into play.  

Scrum is one of the most popular Agile methodologies that organizes work into time-bound iterations called sprints, where a cross-functional team collaborates to deliver a final product.

Let's make this explanation even simpler:

Think of Scrum as a game plan where the project is split into time-boxed iterations called sprints. These sprints are like mini races, usually about 2 to 4 weeks long. In each sprint, my team takes on a specific set of tasks; by the end of that sprint, I have something tangible to show for it.

Before the start of each sprint, our small teams, led by a Scrum master, huddle together and decide what we will work on in that sprint. This huddle is called the Sprint Planning.

Now, during the sprint, we have these short daily meetings called Daily Scrums, like a quick catch-up over coffee. Everyone talks about what they did yesterday, what they're doing today, and if they're facing any roadblocks. It keeps everyone on the same page and helps remove any hurdles in our way.

At the end of each sprint, the team holds a sprint review or sprint retrospective where we get feedback, hear what's working and what's not, and adjust our game plan for the next sprint in app development.

Scrum is all about teamwork, transparency, and constant improvement. We can equate it to having a bunch of mini victories that lead to the big win in the end – our awesome new app, in this case!

When to use Scrum methodology:

Do our projects have a touch of complexity, a sprinkle of uncertainty, and a need for collaboration and adaptability? Here's when Scrum shines.

In industries where the landscape changes rapidly, or competition is fierce, Scrum's short sprints keep us agile, responding quickly to market shifts.

When working on something new and innovative, Scrum's iterative approach lets us experiment, learn, and adapt as we discover what works best.

When we have complex projects requiring different expertise, Scrum's cross-functional teams can combine their skills to tackle those intricate puzzles.


Kanban board has to do and done sections for seamless project management
Kanban board has to do and done sections for seamless project management

Kanban means Billboard in Japanese.

You are welcome!

Now that you have learned a Japanese word let's see how Kanban methodology helps project management.

Project managers, can you imagine juggling multiple projects– work stuff, personal stuff, and everything in between? It is exhausting!

Instead of trying to handle everything at once, imagine having a visual board, like a to-do list on steroids. That's Kanban for you! A graphical method that focuses on continuous flow. This Kanban board has columns representing different stages of work, moving from "To-Do" to "Done." The emphasis is on limiting work in progress and optimizing workflow.

With Kanban, we don't just pile on the tasks. We limit how many tasks can be "In Progress" at once. It's like not juggling a gazillion balls in the air – we only handle as many as we can manage without dropping any. And because it's all out there on the board, everyone on our team knows the progress.

When to use Kanban methodology

Here are some scenarios where Kanban truly shines:

When we have a constant stream of tasks with varying sizes and complexities

If we are all about efficiency and want to minimize idle time and unnecessary work, Kanban's limits on work in progress prevent overloading and boost productivity.

Kanban's adaptability keeps us agile and responsive in industries where the pace is lightning-fast, and priorities shift on the fly.


Let's continue with the illustration of building an app, shall we?

When building this cool app with Scrum, we have these sprints where we plan and work in short bursts. But with Kanban, we have this billboard with a smooth flow of tasks. Scramban takes a pinch of Scrum's time-boxed sprints and mixes it with Kanban's continuous flow. The end results? We have got ourselves a Scramban!

With Scramban, our tasks flow on a board, just like in Kanban. But instead of waiting for the end of the sprint like in scrum, we decide to pull in new tasks whenever there's space.

Now, those regular check-ins from Scrum? Yep, we keep those. We can still have our daily standups to catch up with the team and discuss what's cooking. And the Scrum ceremonies like Sprint Planning and Sprint Review? We blend those in, too, but only when necessary.

Think of Scramban as a "make it our own" approach. We can adjust the Scrum parts to fit our team's needs. Maybe make our sprints shorter or longer or add more Scrum ceremonies as needed.

When to use Scramban methodology

If we're looking for a method that lets us blend the best of Scrum and Kanban, adapting to changes while keeping things organized, then Scramban is the hero.

Also, we can use Scramban when our project already uses Scrum, but we need more flow and adaptability, as it lets us tweak the process without a complete overhaul.

Lean Project Management

Lean methodology eliminates waste and optimizes on value delivery
Lean methodology eliminates waste and optimizes on value delivery

While not strictly a project management methodology, Lean principles are often used with Agile. Tired of massive waste, Toyota developed the Lean method to optimize value delivery and continuously improve processes.

And, if we are to continue with our extraordinary app example, Lean Methodology means focusing on what truly matters in the end product. We're not cramming our app with features users won't use, and we're not wasting time on processes that don't contribute to the app's success.

When to use Lean methodology

Lean methodology is ideal for projects that optimize efficiency, eliminate waste, and deliver maximum customer value.

It's particularly suitable when dealing with projects with well-defined objectives but requires a streamlined process for achieving them.

We use Lean when we want to minimize unnecessary steps, reduce resource usage, and focus on creating a product or service that precisely meets customer needs.

Other project management methodologies are:

  • Critical Path Method (CPM): Project management technique used to determine the longest sequence of tasks in a project that must be completed on time to ensure the project's overall timeline is met.
  • PMI/PMBOK:  A comprehensive guide and framework that outlines best practices, processes, and knowledge areas in project management, providing a standardized approach for effectively managing projects.
  • Extreme Programming: XP is characterized by practices like continuous integration, test-driven development, pair programming, and frequent releases. It emphasizes technical excellence and close collaboration between developers and customers.
  • Six Sigma: Essential in minimizing bottlenecks and defects in a project. Six Sigma also teams up with Lean to develop Lean Six Sigma- a project management methodology aimed at streamlining and perfecting our projects.


PRINCE2, which stands for "PRojects IN Controlled Environments," is a widely recognized and practiced project management methodology in many industries that the UK government created for its projects.

It provides a structured framework for effective project management, emphasizing best practices, clear roles and responsibilities, and a focus on business justification. PRINCE2 is often used in various industries and sectors, both public and private, to manage projects of all sizes and complexities.

The PRINCE2 methodology is guided by seven principles that dictate the seven crucial processes a project manager needs to use in each project.

The seven principles are:

  1. Continued business justification:  A project must be sensible businesswise, clearly show ROI, and justify resources and time.
  2. Learn from experience: Team members should learn from previous projects.
  3. Define roles and responsibilities: Team members should know their roles, what others are doing, and who the decision-makers are.
  4. Manage by stages: Manage large tasks into smaller manageable tasks.
  5. Manage by exception: Only inform the project board in case of a problem.
  6. Focus on products: Project deliverables should be known well in advance as product requirements determine work activity.
  7. Tailor to the environment: We can scale and tailor PRINCE2 methodology to our needs.

When to Use the PRINCE2 Methodology

The PRINCE2 methodology doesn't require a number of prerequisites, making it a good choice for project managers working on large projects with multiple stakeholders.

It is also good for teams without any other project management methodology since it has clear steps to follow.

It is best to use PRINCE2, particularly in environments where regulatory compliance and reporting are essential. And if projects involve complex requirements and potential risks.

We can also use this methodology if our project requires a standardized approach where all roles and responsibilities are clear and require splitting massive projects into more manageable work packages.

Project Management Methodologies vs. The Digital Era

The emergence of the Digital Era has significantly impacted project management practices, reshaping how projects are planned, executed, and monitored. Traditional project management methods, while effective, have evolved to integrate technology, adapt to rapid changes, and leverage data-driven insights. The Digital Era brings new tools, communication methods, and collaboration opportunities that transform how projects are managed and delivered.

On the other hand, Digital transformation has fundamentally changed project management by offering enhanced communication and collaboration, agile adaptability, continuous monitoring, and remote working flexibility where project managers can assemble project teams globally, leveraging diverse expertise while maintaining high collaboration and data-driven decision-making.

How are organizations selecting methodologies based on project requirements and team dynamics?

Experiment different project management methodologies to find what works for your company
Experiment different project management methodologies to find what works for your company

Organizations choose project management methodologies based on project requirements and team dynamics. Many choose methodologies based on hybrid approaches that combine different project management methods and techniques to cater to unique project needs.

For instance:

Kanban with Scrum: Using Kanban to manage the flow of work within a Scrum framework, allowing flexibility while maintaining key Scrum practices.

It is also best when we experiment with different methodologies on smaller projects to see what works best for us. We can adapt and refine our approach based on the lessons we learned.

The number of team members involved also guides the decision, as methodologies vary in how they accommodate them. For instance, smaller teams might find Agile methodologies like Scrum more effective, while larger teams may benefit from methodologies like PRINCE2.

Moreover, understanding the metrics and documentation essential for success and compliance is vital – some methodologies emphasize certain metrics, and industries might demand specific documentation for regulatory purposes.


  • Project management methodologies provide structured frameworks for planning, executing, and completing projects.
  • Different methodologies suit varying project complexities, team dynamics, and industry requirements.
  • Whether traditional (Waterfall, PRINCE2) or modern (Agile, Lean), methodologies offer efficient collaboration and risk management tools.
  • The choice of methodology impacts project success by aligning strategies with project goals and tailoring approaches to team strengths.

Ready to steer projects in a modern way? We help agencies ace their project management strategies and beat deadlines. Get ready for an adventure. Book a call with us now!

Business operations consultant Juliana Marulanda
Juliana Marulanda - ScaleTime Founder
Juliana Marulanda is a business operations expert, speaker, and the founder of ScaleTime. With over 20 years of experience across Wall Street, the non-profit sector, technology startups, and family-owned businesses, she now helps service-based businesses.
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