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Posted by on Aug 23, 2012 in PM 101, Project Management | 3 comments

5 Effective Project Management Methodologies and When to Use Them

If you want to make your projects flow faster and with less wasted effort, there are a variety of project management methodologies you can use. Though each of them has their own advantages, they may not apply to the projects your team is working on. It’s probably wise to thoroughly review each methodology too see if it fits well with your project. Keep in mind that you can always adapt your team’s workflow process if it doesn’t perfectly match up. That way, you can maximize the project management methodology’s effectiveness.

1. Waterfall Project Management

waterfall project management Traditional, or “waterfall” project management handles things sequentially, from the concept and planning phase through to development and quality assurance and finally project completion and maintenance. Project requirements are usually defined at the beginning, with little to no alterations to the plan unless absolutely necessary. The waterfall methodology is used most often for large-scale software development projects where thorough planning and a predictable process are paramount.

2. Agile Project Management

Agile project management focuses on adaptability to changing situations and constant, regular feedback – whether it’s from the client or from other members of the team. This is ideal when clients or management need to be in on the production process, resulting in changing requirements and drastic shifts in team assignments. Agile project management is usually ideal for smaller software projects and/or those with accelerated development schedules.

3. Critical chain / path

Critical chain As opposed to waterfall and agile project management, that focus more on schedules and tasks, the critical chain project management methodology is geared more towards solving resource problems. Each project has a certain set of core elements, called a critical chain (sometimes referred as critical path), that establish a project’s minimum timeline. The critical chain methodology devotes adequate resources to this critical chain while devoting enough resources to other tasks such that they can run concurrently, but still have enough of a buffer to reassign resources when needed. This setup is ideal for resource-heavy teams, or for those who have enough flexibility in their team members’ respective skill sets.

4. PRiSM

Projects integrating Sustainable Methods (PRiSM) was developed by GPM Global as a means of creating a methodology that took environmental factors into account while being a repeatable, efficient process that could easily be incorporated into various large-scale projects. PRiSM is unique in that it is one of the few project management methodologies that requires and rewards project managers with accreditation. PRiSM is used primarily for large-scale real estate development or construction/infrastructure projects that may result in adverse environmental effects.


PRINCE2 is a government-endorsed project management methodology, released and supported by the UK government in 1996. It is a very process-oriented methodology, dividing projects into multiple stages, each with their own plans and processes to follow. Like PRiSM, PRINCE2 requires accreditation via exams. PRINCE2 is a complicated yet thorough methodology, but the project manager needs to determine whether or not it will scale properly with their specific requirements.

UPDATE: We’ve collected 5 more project management methodologies for you! Go check it out!

  • Steve Boronski


    Some interesting thoughts thanks for sharing them.

    I would however like to correct your PRINCE2 statement slightly.

    I don’t believe PRINCE2 in complicated, it might appear that way at first glance, and whilst I 100% agree it is comprehensive, it can be used very simply. I aslo believe if you manage a project you would need to do everything within PRINCE2, but probably quite informally.
    1. Get the right people in place and understand what needs to be planned and why.
    2. Plan and break it into reasonable phases
    3. Delivery each stage giving people work to do and reporting progress
    4. Deal with issues and risks
    5. Close the project
    6. Get bossed around :o)
    These are the same for Waterfall, Agile or Prism and PRINCE can compliment and improve them too.

    One final thing, one does not NEED qualifications to use PRINCE2 it is freely available, but it does help project staff apply it and demonstrates credibility. Apparently in Europe 65% of project related job adverts demand PRINCE2.

  • Colin Dawson

    After reading this article, I must say that you have included a lot of great and rewarding information. I have suffered several times in the past when creating a Project Plan, regarding: What to include, how to set it out, how to manage the project etc. However, whilst researching online I came across a great online planning/management tool. It was free so I thought “What the hell” and gave it a go.

    I tell you now, it was the best tool I have used in a long while. Usually, creating an in-depth Project Plan has taken me weeks and even months to complete in the past. This extremely helpful tool, helped me reduce that time significantly.

    It asks you questions, essentially telling you what to include. And if that isn’t enough, Guidance, Examples and online resources are provided also. I totally recommend it to anybody who is considering creating a Project Plan in the future. Visit

  • soniyaraj

    Its really great Article ,This Five Project management Methodologies are important but like prince2 Itil is another methodologie are useful for project,Itil and Prince2 Certification is neccessary , Provide itil and prince2 Certification.

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