7 Top Project Management Methodologies: Which Is Best?

Every project manager understands that choosing the right methodology is essential to getting the job right. While there are project management methodologies a-plenty, we have narrowed it down to seven popular ones and what they’re best suited for.

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A project management methodology is essentially a set of guiding principles and processes for managing a project. Your choice of methodology defines how you work and communicate.

How Do You Choose a Project Management Methodology?

Choosing project management methodologies (PMM) is one of the first decisions you will have to make as a project manager. What methodology you pick will have a thorough and ongoing impact on how you and your team works. Many project management methodologies have their pros and cons for different project types. Some are geared for speed, some for comprehensiveness.

Types of Project Management Methodologies:

On paper, PM methodologies are tool agnostic, i.e., you should be ready to do any methodology although of what PM means you use.

In reality, most project management tools are specialized to use some of the methodologies. This will be a part of what methodology you finally choose to use.

Below, I’ll give a breif look at 7 of the most popular project management methodologies.

1. Agile Methodology – Collaborating to Achieve Whatever Works Iteratively

The laws are outlined in the agile manifesto outlines four values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;

  • Working software over extensive documentation;

  • Customer collaboration over contract agreement;

  • Responding to change over resulting a plan – so being agile is more of a philosophy and set of conditions and principles to understand, sooner than a process to apply to a project.

Agile projects are defined by a series of tasks that are conceived, executed, and adapted as the situation demands, rather than a pre-planned operation. Being agile encourages teams to respond to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work processes.

Agile is another from other project management methods which usually assume that things concerning the project are predictable, and so it indicates adaptability to changing situations, adequate and continuous communication among the project team and between them and the client. Agile methodologies are great to use in changing environments where there is potential for changing or growing conditions such as software and game development.

2. PRINCE2 Methodology – Controlled Project Management That Provides Nothing to Chance

PRINCE2 is a full stack waterfall project management methodology that combines principles, themes, and processes. It was designed by the UK government in 1996 basically for IT projects. ‘PRINCE’ stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It is a highly process-oriented methodology, dividing projects into multiple stages, all with their plans and processes to follow. The methodology describes inputs and outputs for every phase of a project so that nothing is left to chance.

The system maintains the support of the course taken by a business, and so the first step is knowing an apparent demand for the project, who the target customer is, whether there are real benefits, and a thorough cost assessment. A project board has the project and is responsible for its success. This board represents the structures for the team, while a project manager oversees the lower level day-to-day activities. This methodology is based on eight high-level processes and provides organizations more significant control of resources and the ability to decrease risk ultimately.

As a methodology, it’s particularly thorough – it is an excellent framework for how to run large, expected, enterprise projects.

PRINCE2 is designed for large scale. IT projects so would never work in an agency as a project management methodology. However, the importance of developing a good business case with KPI’s and value earned, precise tasks and responsibilities, managing change, and risk is helpful when we consider managing projects for our clients.

3. PMI’s PMBOK Methodology – Using Accepted Standards to Waterfall Project Management

The PMI’s project management methodology is not a methodology but a set of rules which refers to the five process levels of project management, which they represent their Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). These are beginning, planning, executing, controlling, and closing.

This is not a framework of standards, conventions, processes, best practices, terminologies, and guidelines that are taken as standards within the project management industry. It includes many designs and techniques of project management by which to assess or make the way you manage your projects or the methodology you use.

It is, therefore, more theoretical, which you can be certified in which, although popular in IT, doesn’t operate in the agency world. You can’t run a PMI or PMBOK project, but you can take advantage of the standards to create a universal language and best practice about a project. In relating to PRINCE2, you could conceivably consider PMI’s PMBOK and PRINCE2 as complementary to one another rather than two distinct or separate waterfall approaches.

There are methodologies like the Adaptive Framework methodology in which the project scope is shifting, but the time and the cost are fixed, making it likely to adjust the project scope during the performance to get the maximum business value from the project. Still, others like PRiSM, Critical Path, PERT, and many, many more exist but are not so important to the world of project management in agencies.

4.  Scrum Methodology – Allowing a Small, Cross-Functional, Self-Managing Team to Deliver Quick

Scrum is a project management methodology which introduces principles and manner to change delivery. Within software development, Scrum is one of the most popular and straightforward frameworks to put the principles of agile in practice.

Scrum isn’t a project management methodology but a framework for the continuous development and maintenance of complex products. Scrum is a light approach and describes a simple set of roles, meetings, and tools to efficiently, iteratively, and incrementally deliver consistent shippable functionality.

Scrum advocates using a small, cross-functional organization of up to 9 people who work on items in a backlog – a set of user stories – that have been defined and prioritized by a Product Owner.

At the end of each sprint, work is then reviewed in a sprint review conference to learn together with the Product Owner if it gives the Definition of Done.

Scrum is promoted and served by a Scrum Master who facilitates and leads the scrums, sprint reviews, managing the development team to do their best work as well as a starting a ‘sprint retrospective’ after each sprint, to secure the team is continually optimizing and improving.

Scrum was initially being designed for software development, so while there are agile artifacts from Scrum though that can be leveraged – scrum does not fit easily into the usually more strategic and productive agency world. That’s not to state it cannot work, on construction projects – agency project managers can act as scrum masters and consumers as product owners in one big happy hybrid team. But it’s usually more complicated than that, with fixed budgets and range giving substantial constraints.

5. Kanban Methodology – Improving Pace and Quality of Delivery

Kanban is a project management methodology focused on lean principles and a strict process to increase efficiency. But associated with Scrum, Kanban is a more evolutionary change, a softer landing into the world of agile as it’s less prescriptive.

Kanban is light on the process; plastic doesn’t have prescribed roles and tries to improve throughput by increasing the focus of the team on the things that matter. The core systems are visualizing the workflow, limiting work in progress, including the lead time, making process policies specific, and continually evaluating improvement opportunities.

Kanban’s focus is on work that is frequently released, faster, and with better quality. It’s excellent for operational or maintenance environments where priorities can change often. Kanban focuses on measuring Lead Time – how long it takes, after being notified, to deliver.

6. Scrumban Methodology – Checking Work in Progress like Kanban with a Daily Stand up like Scrum

Scrumban is a comparatively new hybrid project management methodology that combines a different scrum and Kanban approach to project management. It takes the versatility of Kanban and adds some of the structure of Scrum to create a new way to manage projects.

Scrumban adds some versatility to Scrum by withdrawing sprints and providing an adaptive way of planning. You could see it as continuing some much-needed building to Kanban with meetings that can help with collaboration and optimizing the process.

Scrumban can be helpful for product development where there is an unclear vision, where there are changing requirements or no clear roadmap and if the process needs to include support and maintenance work in the process.

7. Lean Methodology – Streamlining and Eliminating Waste to Produce More with Less

Lean is a project management methodology focused on the theme of efficiency. Arguably the Godfather of Agile – Lean is all about doing more with less. It works by recognizing the value and then maximizes it through continuous development by optimizing the flow of value and reducing wastage.

It implies you can do more with less by addressing the three dysfunctions that produce waste; Muda, Mura, and Muri, also recognized as the 3Ms.

  1. Muda: Muda is about destroying waste eliminating process or anything that’s not ultimately adding a charge to the customer. In the world of digital, this could be removing rounds of revisions.

  2. Mura: Mura is about eliminating variations eliminating the overhead that variances to the standard process create. For us, this could mean standardizing claims and support operations.

  3. Muri: Muri is about removing overload the optimal position is working at 60-70%; any more than that and everything stalls down. We could apply this to be reducing the number of projects we are working on running through the agency.

Lean is focused on improving the way we operate to be laser-focused on delivering value.


Choosing the best project management methodology is essential because it defines how we work. Project management methodologies provide the structures that can guide us toward project success or failure.

When it gets to project management methodologies, there is no one-size-fits-all that works for all business types, sizes, or industries. Whether you are working in a dynamic environment where there’s an urge for growth and change, and so adopt an agile methodology. Or if you are working within very fixed, rigid, requirements, timeline, and budget and thus take a waterfall method, each project management methodology carries its strengths and weaknesses.

Ultimately, the methodology chosen should be analyzed based on its ability to give the most value to the customer, with the least impact on those reading it. How well it meets organizational goals and values, the forces the project team has to deal with, the requirements of stakeholders, some risks involved, the project size, cost, and of course, the complexity of the project.

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