How to pick a Project Management Methodology

Companies that perform project after project usually pick a project management methodology, such as PRINCE2 or Agile, and stick with it. That way, all their projects follow approximately the same project management processes. Teams learn what works and what doesn’t, and everyone learns what to do and expect.

The approach you choose depends a lot on the environment in which you work. Complex environments with large projects, widely distributed teams, or multiple vendors usually need a robust project management methodology with formal, well-documented procedures, standardized forms and documents, and project management software like Microsoft’s Enterprise Project Management Solutions to keep track of everything. Simpler, smaller projects would bog down with that kind of overhead but run just fine with a more informal approach.

If you want a ready-made methodology to adopt, check out the following resources:

  • Many organizations have developed methodologies based on the project management principles outlined in the Project Management Institute’s® Project Management Body of Knowledge (affectionately known as PMBOK®). Project Management Institute® (PMI®) is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
  • PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a methodology used to manage government projects in the United Kingdom as well as private-sector projects around the world.
  • Iterative, rolling wave, and agile methodologies work well when the solution for the project isn’t clearly defined. You use iterations to gradually identify the solution as you work on the project.
  • TenStep, Inc. offers a project management approach that (predictably) takes 10 steps from start to finish. This approach can be adapted to large, medium and small projects. If you register with the website (for free), you can mine a mother lode of additional project management wisdom.
  • Project Planning, Scheduling & Control by James P. Lewis (McGraw-Hill) bucks the trend in project management books by providing an easy-to-read, and even amusing, description of one way to manage projects.
  • A Management Framework for Project, Program, and Portfolio Integration by R. Max Wideman (Trafford Publishing) tries to simplify project.

Featured excerpt from Practical Project Management, Bonnie Biafore and John Riopel

Related Content

Webinars (watch for free now!):
Share the Knowledge: Integrating Your Project Lifecycle Methodology with Microsoft Project
Shared Understanding Among Project Stakeholders: A New Methodology for Agile Project Management

The Most Basic Project Management Framework
Simple, Powerful, Proven: Logical Framework Approach
What is Agile Project Management?

Written by Bonnie Biafore
Bonnie Biafore is the author of O'Reilly's Microsoft Project: The Missing Manual (2007, 2010, and 2013 editions) and Microsoft Press' Successful Project Management: Applying Best Practices and Real-World Techniques with Microsoft Project. She's recorded Project Essential Training (for 2010 and 2013), Project Management Fundamentals, Managing Small Projects, and other courses for As a consultant, she manages projects for clients and wins accolades for her ability to herd cats. She has also written a humorous novel about hitmen and stupid criminals. You can learn more at Bonnie's website or email her at
Share This Post
Have your say!

Leave a Reply