Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The different ways of effective project management

With many in the IT community recommending that agile project management should be used for future IT projects in government, I became curious about different project management methods and how they compare to agile project management.  According to Wikipedia, in project management, one must achieve project goals while dealing with constraints such as scope, time, quality, and budget and optimizing inputs.  There a variety of methods used in project management that can depend on the goal of the project that I have outlined below:

-          Traditional project management is outlined as having 5 stages: 1. Initiation 2. Planning and design 3. Execution and construction 4. Monitoring and controlling systems 5. Completion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management). 
-          Six Sigma and lean project management which strive to reduce variation and waste in a project.
-          PRINCE2 is a technique that focuses on outputs, specifically the products that will be delivered.
-          Critical chain project management takes into the account the theory of constraints in terms limited resources to determine planning and project execution.
-          Event chain methodology uses uncertainty modeling and schedule network analysis to manage events and uncertainties in project schedules.
-          Process-based management uses maturity models to improve processes. Incidentally, this  is required by many U.S. governmental contracts, particularly in software development.
-          Benefit realization management focuses on the benefits of project, rather than just products or outcomes, in order for the project to help achieve a goal of the organization. 
-          “In the agile software development or flexible product development approach, the project is seen as a series of relatively small tasks conceived and executed as the situation demands in an adaptive manner, rather than as a completely pre-planned process.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management).  This can also be known as Extreme project management (XPM) which concentrates of managing project stakeholders in a very complex, uncertain project.  The advantages of these techniques is that the product is frequently tested, the client is actively involved within the project, and there is more room for innovation because more changes can be incorporated. 

After reviewing these different types of project management, it seems that elements from all of them could be used to make a project successful.  It would be interesting to learn more how organizations and project managers determine which technique to use.  Most likely, I would guess that consultants and project management associations compare different business cases and recommend a best approach.  It would be interesting to learn more about which project management approaches have been used in government and which have been successful and which have not.

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