Five Project Management Methodologies

Project managers worldwide understand that it takes more than one project management methodology to deliver excellently on a task because project management is an ever-growing industry involving several different actions. 

To this end, many project management methodologies have evolved to help project managers ensure projects flow faster and teams are more efficient. Therefore, knowledge of various methods becomes imperative for the modern-day project manager. 

In this post, we will be discussing the meaning of project management methodologies, five of the most commonplace methodologies, and the type of tasks to apply each of them.


What are Project Management Methodologies?


The Project Management Institute (PMI) has defined methodologies as “a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline.” In project management terms, we can easily define project management methodologies as a collection of tools, principles, and processes that help project managers plan, execute and manage a project. 

It’s a framework that helps you to manage your project better. The end goal is to enable team collaboration towards actualizing a shared dream.


Five Popular Project Management Methodologies


It is a generally accepted principle in project management that no “one size fits all” approach to project success. The choice of methodologies you choose to use for your project says a lot about the type of project, how you work, and how you communicate with your team members.  

Here are some of the most popular methodologies:


  • The Waterfall Project Management Methodology

The waterfall methodology is the oldest of all the methodologies. Computer scientist Dr. Winston Royce first introduced it in 1970 to tackle the many complexities of software development. Since then, many have adapted it to other tasks requiring a systematic approach.

As the name goes, it is a process whereby work is broken down in a linear, sequential manner – the work process goes from top to bottom like a waterfall. There can be overlapping or simultaneous execution of stages. You can only proceed with the subsequent development stage in this project management methodology after completing the previous step.

Requirements and steps must be outlined in full at the beginning of the project. It is primarily used in construction-type projects and projects where the outcome of one step is a precursor for the next to occur. 


  • The Agile Project Management Methodology

The Agile PM methodology came about due to the failures of the linear approach used in traditional management methodologies like the Waterfall. Agile also traces its origin to the software industry when, in 2001, seventeen IT representatives put together what became known as  “The Agile Manifesto.” 

The methodology, unlike the Waterfall, focuses on adaptability to changes. The agile methodology prioritizes flexibility, collaboration, fast and effective processes over systems. For this reason, many project managers don’t view it as a methodology in the real sense. Many use it as a project management principle, and as such, combine it with other methodologies. 

It is best suited for small projects with many interdependent, iterative and incremental parts. 


  • The SCRUM project management methodology

The scrum methodology is, in some way, an approach to the Agile management method. It involves short “sprints” and daily meetings – presided over by the Scrum Master who leads the Scrums. Scrum methodology prioritizes the team project and communication. 

With the use of daily  Scrum meetings, involving the sprint planning, demos, presentations, and sprint retrospectives after every sprint, the manager can ensure that each team member is up to speed and that the project is on track. 

The methodology is best suited for short-term projects – not longer than a 30days timeframe, or projects that can be broken down into shorter timeboxes – involving small teams. Scrum is also best preferred if major project stakeholders/clients are involved in the project’s development. The Scrum meetings help fill them in on completed tasks and the backlogs. 


  • The Kanban project management methodology

The Kanban methodology is built on the principles of Agile. Like the Scrum methodology, Kanban is also about collaborative and self-managing teams. However, unlike Scrum, Kanban focuses on visualization of the work process.

This project management methodology originated from the manufacturing industry and operates on visualization of the work process, limiting the work in progress, making policies explicit, and using feedback loops. The methodology tries to outline the stages, prospecting for possible risks involved in each stage, using the Kanban boards – which are simply visual planning boards.

You can use Kanban if your project involves a team of remote workers. Anyone can use the Kanban methodology; however, it works best for flexible projects, evolving and continuing.  


  • PRINCE2 project management methodology

PRINCE2 means Projects in Controlled Environments, and it has been the official project management methodology of the UK government since 1996 – a majority of the UK governmental projects apply PRINCE2.   

It is a structured methodology that divides projects into manageable stages and fashions a plan for each step. Each stage is designed as an independent project, with techniques, processes, input, and outputs of their own. This methodology follows seven principles, themes, and procedures. These principles, themes, and practices define the methodology’s WHY, WHAT, and HOW.

PRINCE 2 is better suited for large projects with many complex independent parts and fixed requirements.  However, an examination is required to be a certified PRINCE2 practitioner, especially if you intend to practice in the UK.



In selecting a methodology to apply to your project, it is essential to remember that each methodology has its pros and cons. These five are just some of the most popular, but there are many more project management methodologies you can apply to your project to optimize productivity.