Part II: Popular Project Management Methodologies

In our previous article, we provided a short description on project management methodologies, and why they are important. In this article, we will have a look at the most popular methodologies that are currently in use.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

One of the more popular approaches to managing projects is CPM. In the Critical Path Method, all the activities needed to complete the project within a work breakdown structure are categorised. Then, the projected duration of each activity and the dependencies between them are mapped out - this helps to identify which activities can be completed simultaneously, and which activities should be completed before others can start.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

CCPM is one of the newer project management methodologies out there. It was developed as an alternative to the Critical Path method with a focus on resource management. CCPM allows working backward from the end goal; after recognising the deliverables, past experience is used to map out the tasks required to complete the project. Interdependencies between resources are also mapped out and allocated accordingly to each task.

Integrated Project Management (IPM)

IPM - sometimes also called ‘Integrated Project Delivery’ - is a common project management methodology in the creative industries. This methodology emphasises sharing and standardisation of processes across the organisation. The IPM approach came about as a response to the increasingly integrated nature of creative campaigns. Instead of producing just a single ad; the ad is integrated with microsites, digital content, etc. Most creative projects are pieces of a larger campaigns.

Projects integration Sustainable Methods (PRiSM)

PRiSM is a project management methodology developed by Green Project Management (GPM) Global. As hinted by the company's name, the PRiSM approach focuses on accounting for, and minimising, adverse environmental impacts of the project. It is different from traditional methodologies in that it extends beyond the end of the project; it factors in the entire lifecycle of the project post-delivery to maximise sustainability.

Projects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)

PRINCE2 is the official project management methodology of the UK government - which means that most UK government projects use it. PRINCE2 certification can also be obtained to make working as a project manager in the UK easier. Although this methodology is most popular in the UK, it is adopted in many countries worldwide.

PRINCE2 is based on seven principles, seven themes, and seven processes. The seven PRINCE2 principles, for instance, are:

  • Continued business justification;
  • Learn from experience;
  • Defined roles and responsibilities;
  • Manage by stages;
  • Manage by exception;
  • Focus on products; and
  • Tailor to suit the project environment.

A Brief History

Only as recently as the 1950’s did organisations begin to systematically apply project-management tools and techniques to complex projects - such as engineering projects. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, civil engineering projects were generally managed by the architects, engineers, and master builders themselves. As a discipline, project management developed from several fields of application including civil construction, engineering, and heavy defence activity.

In 1970, shortly after the early stages in the widespread adoption of methodologies in project management, Dr. Winston Royce outlined the Waterfall methodology as a response to managing the increasingly complex nature of software development. Since then, it has become widely adopted, most prominently in the software industry.

Now that we have covered some of the more popular methodologies in the project management domain, lets focus on the two most relevant to the software industry:


The Waterfall methodology is sequential and is heavily requirements-focused; a crystal-clear idea of what the project demands is needed before proceeding further - there is no scope for correction once the project is underway. The Waterfall method is divided into discrete stages; collecting and analysing requirements, designing the solution (and approach), and implementing the solution as well as fixing issues, if there are any. Each stage in this process is self-contained, which means one stage must be wrapped up before moving onto another.


Agile, another software development-focused methodology, emerged as a response to the failure of the Waterfall method for managing complex projects. Although Agile ideas have been in use in the software industry for quite a while, it formally came into being in 2001 when several IT representatives released the ‘Agile Manifesto.’

In approach and ideology, Agile is the opposite of the Waterfall method. As the name implies, this method favours a fast and flexible approach. There is no top-heavy requirements-gathering. Rather, it is iterative with small incremental changes that respond to changing requirements.


Scrum is not a fully-featured project management methodology. Rather, it describes an approach to Agile management with a focus on project teams; short ‘sprints’ and daily stand-up meetings.

While it borrows the principles and processes from Agile, Scrum has its own specific methods and tactics for dealing with project management. Agile is the philosophy, and Scrum the methodology. While scrum is agile, agile isn’t scrum. The Scrum approach places the project team front-and-centre of the project. Often, there is no project manager. Instead, the team is expected to be self-organising and self-managing. This makes it ideal for highly-focused and skilled teams, but not so much for others.

In our next article, we take a more in depth look at the Agile and Waterfall methodologies their advantages and disadvantages, and why they are best suited for the software industry.

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