Project management tools and methodologies emerge as the #1 focus to improve digital collaboration, highlighting the need for a more structured approach to work. Before getting started on choosing the best project management methodology, it’s important to think-through the details of your project, while keeping in mind the team that will carry out.
It’s easy to get swayed into a framework with a lot of procedures and moving parts but streamlining will be key to managing an efficient and successful project.
Answering a few questions will get you started on choosing the best framework for your project:
- How scalable is the project - from outline to execution?
- What is the focus of your project: is it task intensive or outcome based?
- How many team members will carry out the project - are they across departments?
These insights will act as a base for choosing a methodology that fits your project and your team.
Although projects will vary, let’s take a look at the most popular frameworks - each of which can be adapted to suit the management needs of most projects.
The Lean Methodology was originally developed for the Japanese manufacturing industry but can be used for businesses of all sizes.
Designed to promote customer satisfaction, Lean focuses on minimizing waste, in both material and processes, that in turn translate into additional value for the end user.
The waste elements are known as the 3M’s: muda, mura, and muri.
Muda: is all about waste elimination, this can be material specific or just time wasted in carrying out your project inefficiently. Whether it’s raw material, overly complicated processes, or too many touch points from your team that’s trying to get work done.
Mura: is all about removing any variances in your workflow. By systemizing the processes between team members, time and resources can be saved. Variances in workflow and the times allotted for them, create too many inconsistencies to properly gauge the time needed for completion.
Muri: is focused on removing any overloads that slow down your processes. Mainly focused on managers, Muri stresses the need to eliminate unnecessary stress or obstacles that hinder your team’s performance. This can be due to having the wrong tools for the job or not having a clear and systematic process.
The Lean method is more about eliminating processes and adhering to a few core principles.
A well known project methodology adopted by developers, Scrum consists of five values: commitment, courage, focus, openness, and respect.
The goal with Scrum is to develop the stages of a project, no matter how complex, through team collaboration and accountability.
Scrum specifies the roles played in managing projects with a project owner, the team carrying out, and in some cases a SCRUM master with an understanding of its proper execution.
Projects are carried out in Sprints - the iterative time in which the goals should be carried out. Sprints are generally in one or two-week increments. Planning involves the entire team where details are outlined for the upcoming sprint.
Daily Scrum’s are an effective component of this framework: short daily meetings limited to 15 minutes, held at the same time everyday. The daily Scrum is where previous achievements are discussed, any obstacles in the way, and the goals to be completed before the next meeting.
Sprint’s are concluded with a review through an informal meeting to discuss feedback. And retrospective reviews are conducted to make iterative improvements for the next Sprint.
Scrum is best suited for teams that need a flexible approach to delivering projects.
Kanban is another popular framework with a visual and agile approach to deliver project stages through to completion.
Developed by Toyota for their production line, the Kanban framework has since been applied to projects big and small as an effective method to involve multiple team members at various project stages.
Visualization is a key benefit with Kanban. The visual board gives you a snapshot overview of the project as a whole, with more details specified within the respective task cards.
Trello comes to mind as one of the most popular forms of Kanban. And Gmelius is a key player if you’re interested in a solution that allows you to reap the benefits of Kanban boards without having to leave your inbox.
Kanban is a flexible approach with no predetermined rules, instead allowing you to adapt project boards, its columns, and cards to fit your particular projects, with ‘To-Do, Doing, and Done’ as the customizable base of your workflows.
Agile is one of the most recognized project management methodologies. Originally created for software development, the Agile framework is best suited for flexible and scalable projects with constant iteration.
Team collaboration is key with Agile. In fact, it was designed because other methodologies complicated the process of multiple members working together on the various moving parts of a project.
Built on a set of values and principles, the Agile methodology is designed to be adaptive, as oftentimes your project scope and deliverables will change throughout the course of the project.
Scrum and Kanban are considered frameworks of the Agile method, highlighting its flexible, adaptive nature to suit your project and the needs of your team.
Pros and Cons of Project Methodologies
As mentioned in the beginning, team’s need to be careful to not be swayed with a methodology that includes processes or systems that are beyond the scope of your project.
The purpose of choosing a methodology should be to simplify your project. Adding tools and processes will only complicate your team’s ability to deliver.
A major con with most methodologies lies in their complexity. Having to add additional tools and waste time managing the data in between them can get in the way of productivity.
The best case scenario is take the answers from the initial questions and build off your current stack of tools.
Whenever possible your team should consolidate resources and avoid complexity. As mentioned Gmelius is one of the solutions that allows your team to continue working as they have, while bridging the tools already in your stack into a cohesive workspace built for teams.
The agile and scalable platform offered by Gmelius allows your team to turn their email inbox, where most project work originates, into a powerful project management framework.
The flexible nature of Gmelius boards employ both Agile and Kanban methodologies to transform internal and external conversations into successful projects.
Shared inboxes for group emails and shared labels named by project can organize and display relevant conversations across your agile Kanban boards. And workflow automation adds a layer of productivity to your team’s project. By systemizing repetitive tasks with your chosen triggers and custom rules, you can keep your team’s boards evolving through the stages of your project.
The synchronization with Google calendar allows your team to track project timelines and final deadlines, with contextual status tags and sync them in real time with your chosen calendar.
By configuring your board for the specifics of your project you can take advantage of the Agile approach and the visual benefits of Kanban. Your team boards can be structured in a ‘Get things done’ style, a ‘ticketing-style board’ that integrates inbox activity to clarify delegation, as well as the ability to customize a blank board for your project needs, without having to add additional tools.
On a final note; when choosing the methodology that will carry out your team’s project, it’s just as important to ask what you should not add to your workflow.