January 2019 Chapter Meeting

January 15, 2019
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Nick & Angelo's Ristorante
7376 Oswego Road
Liverpool, NY 13090
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Project Management Methodologies

For our January meeting we will hold a panel discussion on Project Management Methodology.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), a methodology is defined as ‘a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline. Lean practices, Kanban, and Six Sigma are examples of project management methodologies.’ They are essentially processes that aim to assist project managers with guidance throughout the project, and the steps to take to completing the tasks. Different methodologies have different strategies that aid in managing issues should they arise during the project’s delivery.

So, which one should you choose?

There are many methodologies to choose from, each with their own set of rules, principles, processes, and practices. Which methodology you should implement depends entirely on the type of project you will undertake. The point of selecting a project management methodology is to maximize the use of resources and time.

One thing to keep in mind is that while there are a number of methodologies to choose from, there is no such thing as the ‘right’ methodology. Meaning, there won’t be the one methodology that is perfect to use for every single project. Projects vary in scope and requirements, which means the right methodology to implement will also vary.

We will take a look at some of the more popular methodologies and discuss them with a panel that adheres to their process. These include.

  1. Agile

One of the more recognizable project management methodologies, Agile is best suited for projects that are iterative and incremental. It’s a type of process where demands and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customers. Originally created for software development, it was established as a response to the inadequacies of the Waterfall method (info on it later below), the processes of which did not meet the demands of the highly competitive and constant movement of the software industry.

Agile project management stems from the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. A declaration cemented in 2001 by 13 industry leaders, its purpose is to uncover better ways of developing software by providing a clear and measurable structure that fosters iterative development, team collaboration, and change recognition.

Made up of four fundamental values and 12 key principles, they are:

Values

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan
  • Principles
  • Customer satisfaction through early and continuous software delivery
  • Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process
  • Frequent delivery of working software
  • Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project
  • Support, trust, and motivate the people involved
  • Enable face-to-face interactions
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress
  • Agile processes to support a consistent development pace
  • Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility
  • Simplicity
  • Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designs
  • Regular reflections on how to become more effective

 

Because of its adaptiveness, Agile methodology is commonly used to deliver more complex projects. It uses six main deliverables to track progress and create the product which are the product vision statement, product roadmap, product backlog, release plan, Sprint backlog, and increment. With these features, it establishes itself as a methodology that places an emphasis on collaboration, flexibility, continuous improvement, and high quality results.

Best suited for: Projects that require flexibility and have a level of complexity or uncertainty. For instance, a product or service that hasn’t been built by the team.

Agile is a methodology that has methodologies within itself, such as Scrum and Kanban. While some may argue that they should be considered more as frameworks, they are used to develop and deliver a product or service and carry their own set of characteristics and terminology which I think makes them worthy enough to be included on this list.

  1. Kanban

Kanban is another popular Agile framework that, like Scrum, focuses on early releases with collaborative and self-managing teams. A concept that was developed on the production line of Toyota factories in the 1940s, it is very visual method that aims to deliver high quality results by painting a picture of the workflow process so that bottlenecks can be identified early on in the development process. It operates on six general practices, which are:

  • Visualization
  • Limiting work in progress
  • Flow management
  • Making policies explicit
  • Using feedback loops
  • Collaborative or experimental evolution

 

Kanban achieves efficiency by using visual cues that signal various stages of the development process. The cues involved in the process are a Kanban board, Kanban cards, and even Kanban swim lanes for those looking for that extra bit of organization.

  • Kanban board: What’s used to visualize the development process, a Kanban board can be either physical (a whiteboard, sticky notes, and markers) or digital (like Zenkit’s online project management tool).
  • Kanban cards: Each Kanban card depicts a work item/task in the work process. Used to communicate progress with your team, it represents information such as status, cycle time, and impending deadlines.
  • Kanban swim lanes: Flowing horizontally, Kanban swim lanes are a visual element on the board that allows you to further distinguish tasks/items by categorizing them. Their purpose is to offer a better overview of the workflow.
  • While there are no set rules of Kanban per-se, it works by using a Kanban board to represent the stages of development from the beginning when ideas are produced, to the work in progress, to when the work has been completed. The board’s basic structure is three columns labelled as ‘To-Do, Doing, and Done’?—?which is rather self-explanatory.

 

Kanban: one of the many project management methodologies

Like most Agile frameworks, Kanban made its mark within the software development industry. However, due to its flexibility it has gained traction in other industries, and is one of a few project management methodologies that can be applied to any project that requires continuous improvement within the development process.

Like Scrum, Kanban is fitting for projects with smaller teams, who need a flexible approach to delivering a product or service. Kanban is also great for personal productivity purposes.

  1. Waterfall

One of the more traditional project management methodologies, Waterfall is a linear, sequential design approach where progress flows downwards in one direction?—?like a waterfall. Originating in the manufacturing and construction industries, its lack of flexibility in design changes in the earlier stages of the development process is due to it becoming exuberantly more expensive because of its structured physical environments.

The methodology was first introduced in an article written in 1970 by Winston W. Royce (although the term ‘Waterfall’ wasn’t used), and emphasizes that you’re only able to move onto the next phase of development once the current phase has been completed. The phases are followed in the following order:

  • System and software requirements
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Testing
  • Operations

 

Waterfall is a project management methodology that stresses the importance of documentation. The idea is that if a worker was to leave during the development process, their replacement can start where they left off by familiarizing themselves with the information provided on the documents.

Pre-Agile saw the Waterfall methodology being used for software development, but there were many issues due to its non-adaptive design constraints, the lack of customer feedback available during the development process, and a delayed testing period.

Best suited for: Larger projects that require maintaining stringent stages and deadlines, or projects that have been done various times over where chances of surprises during the development process are relatively low.