The project management universe is broad, yet project management techniques, planning, and control are the common thread that links this discipline together.
These strategies help make work easier and more effective and can be implemented on any project, no matter the field or industry.
There are many project management techniques to choose from; so, let’s see what are the best known and most effective in this article.
Why are project management techniques important?
When starting a project, there are so many unknown variables that it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
This is where having a set of project managementprocesses and techniques helps.
This allows you to keep all the moving parts of a project organized within a coherent set of activities, without leaving anything to chance.
Still, by no means all project management techniques are executed in the same way.
Based on the type of project, as well as the team and corporate culture, you can choose a strategy that best suits your needs.
Also, within the same organization, different techniques might be preferred for different projects.
The rule of thumb is: the technique should fit a project, not the other way around.
6 project management techniques, project planning and project controlling
1. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
When you first visualize a project, whatever its size, you may feel overwhelmed.
Among the most common reasons why projects take longer, cost more, and ultimately fail is because the work lacks proper structure.
Therefore, project managers need to structure the work into smaller, and more manageable tasks – a process that is often called Work Breakdown Structure.
A WBS turns large project tasks into manageable blocks of activities by levels and dependencies.
This allows the project team to easily understand and complete their work.
To adopt this technique, you first start with the end result of the project and work backward to delineate the whole sequence of activities that the team must complete to get to the finish line.
2. Gantt Charts
Gantt charts are a great project management technique for both newbies and professionals.
They are a graphic representation of all the activities that a team needs to complete to complete a project.
By using a Gantt chart, you can visualize dependencies of activities, the time required for the work, and how the length of each activity will affect start dates and deadlines.
3. Critical Path Method (CPM)
The Critical Path Method is one of the project management techniques used to painstakingly plan all project activities.
In this case, the so-called “critical path,” that is, the shortest path to project completion, is calculated and activities are planned accordingly.
CPM involves the creation of a project model that includes a list of all activities or a WBS, the completion time for each, potential dependencies, milestones and deliverables.
Having this information, the longest completion path can be calculated in accordance with the planned activities.
By following this method, you can identify which activities are critical to your project and which ones are movable and can be pushed back without extending the schedule.
This technique is most suitable for complex projects involving many task dependencies.
The Waterfall methodology is one of the oldest project management techniques.
By using this strategy, activities will flow in a linear manner through 5 stages:
- Requirements collection – where you get all the necessary documentation;
- Planning, creating a list of activities;
- Implementation – tasks are completed;
- Verification, where final results are reviewed;
- Maintenance, where output is adjusted where necessary.
The Waterfall methodology works excellently in projects that have distinct phases and require only a few iterations.
Kanban is one of the most straightforward project management techniques to use.
Its philosophy lies in the creation of three columns:
- To Do
So, you simply move tasks from one column to another.
Kanban is particularly effective for simpler projects or project teams prone to multitasking.
The Scrum technique is one of the most popular Agile methodologies in project management.
Here you would work with the so-called “sprints,” in which you focus on a specific feature or end result. These sprints usually last no more than two weeks.
At the end of each sprint, you should hold a review meeting with your whole team, provide suggestions for improving the next sprint, and then continue with your work.
Ultimately, the Scrum method allows each project to be completed with maximum efficiency.
Also, this technique often allows projects to be completed sooner than other traditional techniques, which is convenient for companies that need to focus on speed-to-market.
The Scrum methodology is best suited for software development project teams and, generally, for complex projects that require multiple iterations throughout their lifecycle.
Each of these project management, project planning, and project controlling techniques discussed in this article comes with its own pros and cons.
Depending on the type and size of the project, a project manager will choose which strategy works best.
Regardless of which technique is adopted, good project management software can assist in managing and achieving results in a faster and easier fashion.