What is a project?
Project is a collaborative enterprise, involving research or design that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.
In simple words
Project produces unique results: meaning the product or service at the end of the project should be some way different than the existing (can be an invention or an innovation.)
Project is a common term which is used across various industries. Following are some examples for project classification industry wise
- IT projects
- Construction projects
- Product development projects
- Logistics projects
What is project management?
Project management is the way a person organizes and manages resources that are necessary to complete a project.
Project management is a start to end process which is classified broadly under the following five stages. They are
- Monitoring and Controlling
Project management is a practice that can be found everywhere. Project management does not belong to any specific domain or a field. It is a universal practice with a few basic concepts and objectives.
Regardless of the size of the activities or effort, every ‘project’ requires project management.
There are many variations of project management that have been customized for different domains. Although the basic principles are the same among any of these variations, there are unique features present to address unique problems and conditions specific to each domain.
There are two main types of project management:
- Traditional Project management
- Modern Project management
The traditional project management uses orthodox methods and techniques in the management process. These methods and techniques have been evolved for decades and are applicable for most of the domains. But for some domains, such as IT/software domain, traditional project management is not a 100% fit.
First of all, having an idea of the project management definition is required when it comes to discussing traditional project management. Following is a definition for traditional project management.
PMBOK defines the traditional project management as ‘a set of techniques and tools that can be applied to an activity that seeks an end product, outcomes or a service’.
If you Google, you will find hundreds of definitions given by many project management ‘gurus’ on traditional project management. But, it is always a great idea to stick to the standard definitions such as PMBOK.
Traditional project management is a project management approach that will work for most domains and environments. This approach uses orthodox tools and techniques for management and solving problems.
These tools and techniques have been proven for decades, so the outcome of such tools and techniques can be accurately predicted.
Modern project management practices were introduced to address the shortcomings of the traditional method. The modern project management is driven by pre designed methodologies. There are lots of methodologies which compliment towards the success of modern project management.
Modern project management is a well-understood discipline that can produce predictable, repeatable results. The methodologies of modern project management are highly analytical, usually requiring automated tools to support them on large projects. Like most other disciplines, it is learned through both practice and past experience.
Project management encompasses many different skills, such as
- Understanding the interdependencies among people, technologies, budgets, and expectations
- Planning the project to maximise productivity
- Motivating others to execute the plan
- Analysing the actual results
- Reworking and tuning the plan to deal with the realities of what really happens as the project is executed.
Since we have mentioned that the paper will discuss on IT Projects we will be discussing about Modern Project management and its methodologies.
In order to achieve goals and planned results within a defined schedule and a budget, a manager uses a project. Regardless of which field or which trade, there are assortments of methodologies to help managers at every stage of a project from the initiation to implementation to the closure.
A methodology is a model, which project managers employ for the design, planning, implementation and achievement of their project objectives. There are different project management methodologies to benefit different projects.
Project Management Methodologies
Following are the few of most frequently used methodologies in project management practice:
Adaptive Project Framework
In this methodology, the project scope is a variable. Additionally, the time and the cost are constants for the project. Therefore, during the project execution, the project scope is adjusted in order to get the maximum business value from the project.
Agile Software Development
Agile software development methodology is for a project that needs extreme agility in requirements. The key features of agile are its short-termed delivery cycles (sprints), agile requirements, dynamic team culture, less restrictive project control and emphasis on real-time communication.
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
This methodology is a collection of best practices in project management. ITIL covers a broad aspect of project management which starts from the organizational management level.
Joint Application Development (JAD)
Involving the client from the early stages with the project tasks is emphasized by this methodology. The project team and the client hold JAD sessions collaboratively in order to get the contribution from the client. These JAD sessions take place during the entire project life cycle.
Rapid Application Development (RAD)
This methodology focuses on developing products faster with higher quality. When it comes to gathering requirements, it uses the workshop method. Prototyping is used for getting clear requirements and re-use the software components to accelerate the development timelines.
In this method, all types of internal communications are considered informal.
Rational Unified Process (RUP)
RUP tries to capture all the positive aspects of modern software development methodologies and offer them in one package. This is one of the first project management methodologies that suggested an iterative approach to software development.
This is an agile methodology. The main goal of this methodology is to improve team productivity dramatically by removing every possible burden. Scrum projects are managed by a Scrum master.
Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
This is a conceptual model used in software development projects. In this method, there is a possibility of combining two or more project management methodologies for the best outcome. SDLC also heavily emphasizes on the use of documentation and has strict guidelines on it.
Selecting the most suitable project management methodology could be a tricky task. When it comes to selecting an appropriate one, there are a few dozens of factors you should consider. Each project management methodology carries its own strengths and weaknesses.
Therefore, there is no good or bad methodology and what you should follow is the most suitable one for your project management requirements.
The most used methodology will be discussed in detail in the forthcoming write-ups and which will be followed by roles and responsibilities of Project manager.