The aim of this article is not to give you an exhaustive analysis of each of the methodologies for project management that are out there, this is covered –to some extent- in other articles under Nuts & Bolts, not even to tell you whether you should apply one or the other, that would be up to you to decide later on, when you have done your research homework. I would rather like to explain a little bit what a methodology is and give you some key points shared by the most of them on how to manage projects.
So why use a methodology?
For some people, the mere mention of the word is despicable and enough to send them running away like the roadrunner being chased by the coyote. But methodologies are really helpful and, unlike what many think, they are not an extra overhead but a powerhouse.
You might be thinking “ought, this is the boring part!” Well, not so fast! It actually isn’t, and I have news for you, you are already applying methodologies in your everyday life. Because, really, what is a methodology? A methodology can be defined as “a basic approach one takes to getting a job done. It doesn’t reside in a fat book, but rather in the heads of people carrying out the work.” And just like you may have a strategy to build a jigsaw puzzle (starting with the corners, for example) so does having a methodology for your projects –whether they are personal or business related – can make your life easier by pinpointing how to plan and what to think at each stage of the process.
Basics covered by most project management methodologies
What are the basics covered by most project management methodologies, then? While there are several methodologies “out there” (PRINCE2, Lean, PMP, Structured Project Management, and more), they will basically help you to understand and move through the following stages of your project:
Where you set your objective, and determine the nature and scope of your project.
2) Planning and design (or development)
Where you estimate the time and resources needed as well as the costs to do the work and to manage the risk during the next stage.
Where you follow processes to complete the work outlined during the planning stage to accomplish you project objective.
4) Monitoring and controlling
Where you observe project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken. This stage runs in a loop and has to be performed regularly until you complete your project in the final stage.
Where you finalize all activities and formally complete your project. This stage can also include gathering of lessons learned to apply to your next project.
What is so cool about applying a methodology?
Well, once you get to learn a methodology and apply it sensibly, you definitely become more organized. And you can work on more projects of your own and have a structure that allows you to progress faster, and with better concrete results and more confidence.
Having the knowledge of a project management methodology allows us to be better project managers not just in our workplace but also in our lives. Indeed, project management processes can be applied to life’s personal projects and activities. And how cool is that!
Keep your eyes peeled for more info on project management for business and life!
See you space cowboy…