In its simplest form project management is the co-ordination of a company’s business into smaller, bite-sized chunks – ‘projects’ – which involve communication and cooperation across different parts of an organization.

But since the advent of project management in the early 60s, it has been an area of business that has seen a number of different approaches, methodologies and techniques. A typical project management methodology will tell you what needs to be done to manage a project in its entirety, describing each and every step in the project life cycle, so you know precisely which tasks need to be completed and when.

A project management methodology will keep a project going in the right direction and in theory can then be used with the same approach on further projects you undertake. But which of the many available is best and which are most relevant to businesses today? We look at the two most prominent and widely-used methodologies around:

Agile Methodology – this project management methodology’s origins were very much in IT but has long since been used across other industries. Using Agile gives the user particular capability to identify issues and make quick changes that will get a project back on course. Essentially it’s a trouble-shooter, good at cutting bottle-necks and adding clarity to a project where there was none to ensure it comes in on time.

Waterfall Methodology – this is much more linear and sequential than Agile and is generally considered to be the better option, assuming that all goes to plan. If things need changing or there is an issue however, then Waterfall is seen as rather limited. This is perhaps best with projects where you are as certain as possible that it will proceed without major hiccups along the way.

But can we say which of these is best? No chance! No methodology can suit every purpose or project. Certain industries will prefer certain techniques and approaches and project managers will have their individual preferences for project planning too. So it’s really horses for courses and project managers can take the bits from different methodologies that best suit their needs to create their own. As long as your project management methodology is under-pinned by the right technology, then you won’t go far wrong.

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