Top Project Management Methodologies

Behind every successful project, there is a methodology that helps organize complex critical tasks in the process. However, not every project or organization utilizes the same methods. For a project to run smoothly and be delivered successfully, the organization needs the right management tools, an excellent team, and a detailed procedure.

The most crucial task for a project manager is to choose the right Project Management Methodology for the team. With thousands of ones to choose from, they have to consider several factors.

Choosing the right project management methodology to manage the team's work need not be difficult. This article has compiled a definitive list of the most used project management methodologies to help you pick the right one for you.

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What is a Project Management (PMO) Methodology?

Before we answer the above question, let us first define a 'methodology.'

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defined a methodology as a set of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline.'

Therefore, they are techniques that help project managers during the project process. Now that we have understood what a methodology is, let's know what a project management methodology is.

In simple words, a project management methodology consists of principles and practices that help manage projects. Each method has its own set of rules and regulations that guide it.

Top 15 Project Management Methodologies

Now, let's look at an overview of the most commonly used methodologies.

1. Waterfall Methodology

The waterfall methodology is a traditional project management methodology. In this principle, every step is carried out systematically and linearly. What this means is that tasks and phases are completed one by one.

Waterfall project management includes the following stages:

  1. Gathering the requirements in a document
  2. Creating models and then analyzing them
  3. Designing the models
  4. Construction or coding
  5. Testing
  6. Installation and maintenance of the system.

This methodology is most commonly used for manufacturing and construction projects. This methodology uses a Gantt chart for its tasks.

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2. Agile Methodology

The linear method of the Waterfall approach has its own set of disadvantages. Hence, the agile methodology was adopted to fix the limitations of the Waterfall method.

In the process of project management, one can expect it to go through many changes. With the limitations of the traditional methods, it was challenging to adapt to the changes. Hence, project managers started to adopt other flexible practices that allowed the teams to revise their work according to the project’s needs.

The evolution of Agile Project Management has produced several sub-methodologies like scrum, kanban, and lean. The primary features of agile methodology are that it offers collaboration, is quick to deliver, and is open to any data-driven changes.

In this methodology, the team's work is added to a backlog, which can then be worked in phases or cycles. The project managers or product owners control the backlog and set priorities for the team to work.

3. Scrum Methodology

Scrum is a kind of Agile project management. In this method, the team's work is divided into short cycles called "sprints." Daily meetings are organized called "daily scrum meetings" after a two-week process. These sprints typically last for 1-2 weeks. Similar to Agile, backlog work is utilized here.

During the sprint, the Scrum Master leads the teams. Their work is reviewed in the "sprint retrospective." The review is essential for any changes that need to be made before starting the next sprint.

Although scrum can be used in any industry like event planning, it is used mainly in software development.

Related Article: Agile vs Scrum

4. Kanban Methodology

Agile project management also includes the Kanban methodology. The term "kanban" comes from the manufacturing industry. It has since evolved to represent a framework with a visual representation of tasks as they move from column to column on a board called the kanban board.

In this methodology, the backlog works on a continuous roll through columns as the team works on each task. Every column on the board represents a specific stage or phase of the project.

What makes Kanban useful and fun to use is that the teams get a visual overview of the tasks that need tackling. Therefore, it increases their productivity as they can put their energy into individual tasks more effectively.

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5. Extreme Programming (XP) Methodology

Another kind of agile project management is the eXtreme Programming (XP) methodology used for software development. It has short development cycles and multiple releases, which improves team productivity. The customer requirements are taken into account to adapt the project accordingly.

This methodology has a complete set of rules based on five essential values:

  • simplicity
  • communication
  • feedback
  • respect and
  • courage

6. Adaptive Project Framework (APF) Methodology

This methodology is also called adaptive project management (APM). It is a form of agile project management methodology specifically to adapt to changes in the projects. Its primary focus is to enable teams to respond to changes in the best way possible effectively.

In this method, teams must predict the risks involved in the project and prepare for them accordingly. The decisions that they make must be continuously evaluated. Therefore, communication and collaboration must be the two most important points of focus in this method.

7. Lean Methodology

Lean project management methodology originated from the manufacturing industry. Its primary focus is on maximizing the project’s value and minimizing any waste generated during the project process. The waste is referred to as the 3Ms: Muda, mura, and muri.

Let's look at these terms:

  • Muda (wastefulness): It refers to the consumption of resources without adding value to the customer.
  • Mura (unevenness): refers to any overproduction in an area of the project.
  • Muri (overburden): It refers to too much pressure on the resources.

Hence, using the Lean methodology, a project manager reduces these wastes.

Although this methodology is useful in manufacturing, other industries like construction and software development also adopt it.

8. Critical Path Method

The critical path method is also called the critical path analysis. With it, you can identify and schedule essential tasks.

In this methodology:

  • You have to figure out the critical tasks to meet your project goal.
  • Estimate how long it takes to complete those tasks.
  • Obtain the above information and then use it to schedule a "critical path." This path is to help get the project delivered as quickly as possible. The teams have to meet milestones so that they can move on to the next task.

The CRM method is mostly used for smaller or mid-sized projects.

9. Critical Chain Project Management

The critical path method helps determine the amount of time required to get a vital task done. However, realistically, the time taken may differ and can cause problems to the timeline. Here's why critical chain project management comes in. It helps solve those issues by giving time to other aspects of the projects, such as delays or resourcing problems.

Basically, in this methodology, the focus is on the resources used to complete the project—for example, the number of members in a team, office space, equipment, etc. The focus is on balancing these resources rather than prioritizing or scheduling tasks.

The industries that use this methodology include construction, software development, and technology development.

10. New Product Introduction (NPI)

As the name suggests, this methodology is suitable for introducing new products. It is also called new product development (NPD). It includes all stages of the process, from defining, developing, and launching a new product.

This method typically includes the following stages:

  1. Defining the project and product specifications
  2. Understanding how feasible the new product will be
  3. Developing the prototype of the product
  4. Evaluating the prototype through testing and analysis
  5. Large-scale manufacturing of the product
  6. Assessing the worth of the product's success in the market post-launch.

11. Outcome mapping

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) designed this project management system. The outcome mapping methodology is different from the other ones because it hopes to create behavioral changes that can last for a long time.

In developing countries, charities mostly use this methodology to bring about some change in the community. Therefore, it focuses on the long-term impact of the project.

Outcome mapping methodology includes two phases: the design phase followed by a record-keeping step that tracks the project results.

12. Six Sigma

Consistency holds top priority in this methodology. Six Sigma is a methodology that removes any defects in the projects. There are different types of methods available under Six Sigma, such as Lean Six Sigma and Agile Sigma.

Organizations use the Six Sigma DMAIC process to improve business processes. It includes: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control.

On the other hand, organizations use the Six Sigma DMADV process to create new products or processes. It includes: Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Verify.

13. PRINCE2 Methodology

PRINCE2 stands for Projects In Controlled Environments. The UK government created this certified methodology for IT projects. It helps project managers gain the best knowledge of available practices and processes.

Unlike the traditional approaches, the PRINCE2 methodology is guided by seven principles.

Since many governments adopt it, this method is not always suitable for small projects.

Related Article: PMP Interview Questions and Answers

14. Rapid Application Development (RAD) Methodology

This methodology is a form of agile project management methodology. Its primary aim is to make faster software development possible.

Feedback is collected with rapid prototype releases and iterations, used for further planning according to the user's requirements.


PMI stands for the Project Management Institute, which is a not-for-profit membership association. It is also a project management certification. It is responsible for establishing guidelines and rules for project management.

On the other hand, PMBOK stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge. It is a book published by the PMI.

Why is Project Management Methodology (PMM) Important

There are several benefits to a project management methodology. Here are some of them:

  • Minimizing any risks associated with the project
  • Helping the team members to develop their skills
  • Offering tools that help analyze the project timeline and costs it will take
  • Keep track of large-scale complex projects.
  • Helps managers gain control of essential tasks involved in the project to deliver value to the organization
  • Realistic planning of projects   
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How to choose the right Project Management Methodology

As we have seen above, there are plenty of different project management methodologies to pick. But how do you know which one is right for your organization's team?

There are a ton of factors to consider when choosing a project management methodology. Here are some things to think about:


Project management methodologies guide the project from beginning to end. The first step to take before choosing a method for your team is to evaluate the project in-depth.

For example, if the project needs a large and diverse team, you need to pick a flexible methodology.

Another example is if you can predict your project’s result, then a more structured methodology might be suitable. In this case, the Waterfall methodology is useful. On the other hand, if you do not have a clear idea of the result, you can pick an Agile method.

When evaluating a project, also consider these:

  • Budget
  • Time
  • Size of the team
  • The complexity of the tasks
  • Expectations from the stakeholders
  • Type of the project and the industry it is catering
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The team that is working on the project must be familiar with the management methodology that is being used. 

An important thing to consider is the team itself. What are its strengths and weaknesses? How many members of the team? You can pick a methodology that best suits their interests. For example, if the unit is collaborative, then you can choose the Agile method. On the other hand, if there are limited resources, you can pick CCPM.

When evaluating your team, also consider these:

  • Experience of the team members
  • Training required to learn the methodology
  • Self-organization abilities of the team
  • Preparedness and
  • Team location (remote, on-site, etc.)


A few things to consider here are the organization's values, culture, systems, and principles. All these aspects of an organization directly impact the type of project management methodology you choose. Some methods are useful only for smaller enterprises, while on other hand, some are suitable for large organizations.

When evaluating your organization, also consider these:

The organization's experience with different methodologies

  • Culture and values
  • Organization's size and hierarchy
  • Available resources


Some of the methodologies require the active involvement of the stakeholders at every stage of the project. So, you need to pick a method that better suits your stakeholder's availability.

Taking the stakeholders' requirements into consideration is also essential. If the stakeholders frequently make changes to the project, you need to pick a more flexible methodology.


To pick the right management tools for your project, you can answer these questions:

  • What are the software tools you are currently using?
  • What are their limitations and capabilities?
  • Are the capabilities of the tool meeting the methodology's requirements?


In summary, the most important job a project manager has to do is to pick the right methodology for the team. Each methodology has its own sets of rules, strengths, and weaknesses. Choosing the right one will help the project run faster and more efficiently.

We hope that with this article, you have gained valuable insight into the different available methodologies. Project management methodologies have evolved, and it has become increasingly essential to fulfill all requirements of the end customer. Similarly, client-stakeholder collaboration helps deliver the project's scope effectively.

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Last updated: 03 Apr 2023
About Author

I am Ruchitha, working as a content writer for MindMajix technologies. My writings focus on the latest technical software, tutorials, and innovations. I am also into research about AI and Neuromarketing. I am a media post-graduate from BCU – Birmingham, UK. Before, my writings focused on business articles on digital marketing and social media. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.

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