all articles

Upward Spiral: The Spiral Project Management Method

date icon

Is your project a high-risk endeavor? One where the deliverable needs to be as close to perfection as possible upon release? If so, then you might want to consider the spiral project management method.

Boehm’s Project Management Method

In 1986, software engineer Barry Boehm published a paper describing a new, highly iterative project management process that arranges activities in a spiral pattern. This spiral method could incorporate elements of waterfall, incremental, prototyping, and other project management methods to fit a projects risk patterns.

The 4 Spiral Quadrants

Each quadrant of a spiral represents a development phase, namely:

1. Analysis This is where you determine your objectives, analyze your capabilities and constraints, and, if this isnt the first spiral loop, explore design changes that would better align the project with your targets.

2. Risk Evaluation This phase is all about assessing and planning around risk. You evaluate which options involve the least amount of risk while staying close to the goals defined in quadrant 1, and decide on which approach you should take in quadrant 3.

3. Development and Execution Here, you proceed with developing the product based on the best matching project management method (whether its waterfall, agile, or otherwise). This phase also includes testing.

4. Planning the Next Iteration This phase reviews the finished product from quadrant 3 and compares it to the current iterations stated goals. Any fixes and issues from this iteration need to be resolved before moving on to the next.

After completing a loop at quadrant 4, the process goes back to quadrant 1 for another iteration loop. This continues until the product is finally released.

Easy Projects free trial

The Pros

One of the best things about using the spiral method is the way it manages risk. Every phase and iteration goes through a review process, so youll have an easier time monitoring project health. And the process iterative nature means that you’ll have a simpler time incorporating changes later on in the project life cycle. This is ideal for highly customized projects, or projects in highly volatile markets.

The Cons

You should know that the spiral project management method is very costly, both in terms of money and time. The project can get very complex as well, especially in the intermediate stages of the project where you’ll be generating massive amounts of documentation. The spiral method isn’t right for simple or low-risk projects you’re better off with a simpler model like Agile or waterfall.

Like any other project management method, the spiral method is highly situational. It excels at high-risk, high-budget projects that require lots of customization. The projects can get very complex, but the built-in risk management features can help you mitigate this. This makes the spiral project management method a very specialized, but very effective tool to add to your project management toolbox.

 

Follow us

Find Out How Easy Project Management Can Be!
Try for Free

Related Posts

post cover
PM 101

4 Common Fails of Project Monitoring

post cover
PM 101

What is PERT?

post cover
PM 101

What are Project Controls?

Nice! You just took the first step to achieving game-changing results.

To ensure your demo is tailored to your team’s specific needs, we're connecting you with a product specialist to better understand your requirements.

support illustration

Schedule a 10-minute meeting to start your trial

The calendar is loading... Please wait

It’ll take you 8-minutes to see
Easy Projects features in action:

  • Project Management
  • Financial Management
  • Resource Management
  • Custom Reporting
  • Artificial Intelligence
happy illustration

Nice! You just took the first step
to achieving game-changing results!

Create your account right now. Have a great start with your 14-day trial!

For the best experience please access Easy Projects from a desktop PC or tablet or download Easy Projects app at