9 Project Management Types For A Project Manager

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 December 2022

Published 12 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project management is a technique that applies specific processes and principles to plan, initiate, manage and execute an organisation's project. When you use the right project management method, you can complete your project on time without affecting your project's outcome. Understanding project management types can help you determine which method to choose for a particular project. In this article, we discuss the various project management methodologies with the advantages and disadvantages of using them and explore projects that use these methodologies.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

9 Project Management Types

Here are nine different project management types:

1. Waterfall

The waterfall model is an old project management method that is a traditional and linear approach to managing a project to success. In this method, a project manager first determines the project's overall requirement and creates a plan before the project begins. The project management process runs like a waterfall, and all stages complete a strict sequential order to complete a project. For instance, the team members complete one phase of a project before beginning the next one. This method primarily focuses on the importance of documentation.

The main idea behind documentation is that if an employee leaves midway during the project, their replacement can start by going through the documentation. One of the most significant advantages of using a waterfall strategy is that every team member knows their responsibilities and roles. One major disadvantage of using this is that a client does not get to view the project until completion. Usually, project managers prefer using the waterfall model in short-term projects requiring strict standards like government and military projects.

Related: What Is a Project Manager? (Duties and Qualification)

2. Agile

The agile method manages a project by breaking it into several phases and short segments or sprints. A project team first completes one segment before commencing another one. Usually, every project has three to five sprints, and after completing each sprint, the project team re-evaluates the completed work and makes necessary changes according to the requirement.

Usually, project managers prefer the agile method when a client does not have a clear vision and when clients want to receive products faster. One advantage of using agile is that a team requires no planning, and the project team can complete projects in various sections. Some other features include adaptiveness, planning and simple creation of project procedures. Though agile promotes flexibility, teams using the agile method may not estimate the accurate project completion cost.

Related: 37 Common Agile Interview Questions With Example Answers

3. Kanban

Kanban is an agile method that stresses the importance of continuous workflow and focuses primarily on the organisation. The Kanban breaks down the project into smaller chunks and stages based on the workflow. This project management method provides flexibility to your project and focuses on efficiency and visualisation of workflow. When a project manager uses Kanban boards, they can get visual signals representing the different phases of a project. It helps you categorise phases of your project into “to-do”, “in-progress," and “done”. Using these Kanban boards, the project team and client can see progress in tasks.

One of the significant advantages of using Kanban is flexibility, and it allows teams to organise and prioritise their task without missing any project deadline. Team members may misuse the board that can cause errors during the development phase. A manager uses a Kanban board or cards in projects that require continuous improvement during the development process.

4. Scrum

Scrum is a project management method that puts the principles of agile into practice. Using the scrum method, self-organising teams can develop complex projects. Scrum works using five principles, namely courage, commitment, focus, respect and openness. The goal of scrum is improving communication, speed of development, and teamwork. This method works by breaking up a project into manageable sprints and helps a project manager discuss every detail of the project in real-time.

Interestingly, clients and team members can view, discuss and analyse completed work at the end of every sprint. Before moving to the next sprint, a team member can make required modifications. This reduces efforts of rework and helps to complete a project on time and within budget. One advantage of using the scrum method is that every team member focuses on a particular project component. It can become challenging to find a replacement when an employee leaves a project in the middle, as there is no proper documentation.

Related: 16 Types of Scrum Master Certifications and Their Benefits

5. Lean

Lean is one of the project management types that focuses on a customer-first approach and efficiency. Lean allows a project manager to do more with less. This method primarily focuses on team engagement, waste elimination and gives importance to the concept of Mura, Muda, and Muri. Muda emphasises on eliminating the procedures and processes that add no value, while Mura focuses on eliminating variables to balance the workload. Muri helps in eliminating excess workload that can help in avoiding employee burnout.

One advantage of using lean methodology is that it improves efficiency and reduces the overall project cost. By using this method, organisations can eliminate waste and drop out of unnecessary processes. This can make a significant impact on an organisation's bottom line. Manufacturing industries primarily use the lean method to manage and run their projects.

6. Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a quality management process that primarily focuses on eliminating errors in development. This process works by first identifying and removing the cause of the error. This process ensures consistency in output and project quality. In the Six Sigma process, project managers use quality management tools that depend upon statistical and empirical data to reduce errors. When an organisation uses six sigma methodologies, they work using two methods, namely:

  • DMAIC: It refers to defining a problem, measuring the success of current processes, analysing data to detect potential defects, improving the process and controlling how an organisation carries out a project in the future.

  • DMADV: It refers to defining a problem, measuring the essential parts of a project, analysing the data to develop designs, designing the new processes, and verifying the project's quality.

A major advantage of using Six Sigma is that it works by analysing and interpreting data, giving an organisation a chance to analyse and organise their data to complete a project. This is a data-driven project management method. It can help an organisation or project manager determine customer's needs. Due to higher implementation costs and employee training, start-ups and small organisations rarely prefer Six Sigma.

7. Critical path method (CPM)

CPM project management creates a list of tasks that require complex operations and set dependencies between these tasks. It helps in determining the most complex factor that can adversely affect project completion. Teams that utilise CPM estimate each task's time of completion and define the efforts required to complete a project. This helps create an outline for an entire project and provides the client with an accurate project schedule.

Projects with a series of well-defined tasks that follow a set order usually prefer the CPM method. Construction project widely uses the CPM method because every team member knows each task's timeline and is aware of their tasks. But, if a client requests modification during the project development phase, it can disrupt the entire schedule.

8. Critical chain project management (CCPM)

CCPM is an alternative to the CPM method because CPM focuses on time, whereas CCPM emphasises resources like people, physical space and equipment. This project management method comes into action after preparing the initial project schedule and creating task dependencies. As a result, project managers can choose their team and resources within a fixed budget. This method does not advocate multi-tasking. Instead, it gives importance to the critical tasks at hand.

One advantage of using CCPM is that it helps in conserving resources and ensuring that the project remains with a pre-defined budget. Even with so many advantages, the team that works on only one project at a time can use CCPM.

9. PRiSM

PRiSM or the project integrating sustainable model of project management is a sustainable project management type that enables an organisation to implement environmental sustainability to accomplish every project. This helps in benefitting both the organisation and the society. Organisations that use PRiSM method emphasise the planet, people, prosperity, process and product. Using this strategy, organisations can reduce their negative ecological and social impact when working on different projects.

The industrial sector, energy-related sector and real estate widely use the PRiSM method for accomplishing their projects. On the downside, organisations can use PRiSM only on environmental projects.


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