Every Project Manager has heard of one – but who actually has one? A “Methodology” that is. Whether you’re a manager, consultant, trainer, team member or student, you need some form of methodology for implementing projects. But:
- What is a methodology?
- How does it help you manage projects?
- How do you select and implement one?
Choosing a Project Methodology
A Project Methodology is simply “the steps you take to deliver a project from start to finish”. It will:
- List the phases, activities and tasks you have to complete.
- Describe every task in detail so you know what to do.
- Include templates so you don’t have to start from scratch.
- Come with practical examples to guide you.
- Give you a project roadmap ahead.
So how do I select a suitable methodology?”
1: Define your Requirements
It’s critical that you select the right methodology for your needs. So the first step is to define what those needs are by identifying the…
- Content you need: A Methodology includes content that tells you step-by-step, how to deliver projects. You need to identify the types of content you need. For instance, should the content list every phase, activity and task in the project life cycle? Should it apply to your industry specifically, or be more generic? Should it have particular processes which are relevant to your company?
- Features you need: The methodology should also include features that help you manage projects. For example, you may decide that it should be customizable, able to import your existing templates, able to change the terminology and add your own branding.
2: Review Your Internal Methodologies
Every project organization has its own existing internal project methodology, whether it’s simply a set of documents, templates or forms that are used for projects. So why re-invent the wheel if you have something that works in-house? Review your existing methodology, templates and forms to determine whether they meet the requirements you’ve defined above.
3: Research External Methodologies
There are a number of methodologies available for immediate adoption in the market place, such as MPMM. Go to Google and type “Project Management Methodology” and see what’s available. Compare each methodology you find to your requirements and determine the best fit. If you find a methodology that has an 80% fit, then as long as it’s customizable then you’ll be fine. Adopting and customizing a third-party methodology can save you an enormous amount of time and energy.
4: Evaluate the Creation of a Custom Methodology
Another option is to create a methodology of your own from scratch. It’s more time consuming to build a custom methodology than customize an existing one, but it may help you create unique processes for projects if you need them.
5: Select and Implement Your Methodology
Having assessed all of your available options, you now have the information you need to make your decision. Choose the methodology which is the best fit for your organization and then implement it by:
- Adopting and customizing the methodology
- Training your teams in the methodology
- Publicizing your new project methodology
- Using your new methodology for projects
- Improving your new methodology
And there you have it. By taking these 5 steps, you can select and implement the right methodology for your projects.