The selection of a project management framework can be a daunting and intimidating task… Time, Cost and Quality… Everyone wants these nowadays. The best product/service/outcome delivered in the shortest time possible within budget. Who would want to be a project manager?
It is the art of applying textbook (+ Google) theory and experience within the right context for organisation, culture, people and outcome of your project. Yes, there may be methodologies that can be applied across various project types, but it is crucial to never lose sight of the smaller details. What is the problem you are solving? how it is affecting the person whom has to deal with it? What are the things that really matter?
Here are some of my learnings and experiences from the more common project management frameworks around. I hope these help you bring “your flavor” to your projects:
• Adaptive Project Framework (APF)
This method leans heavily on the process of learning during each phase of the project. Learnings from previous phases are applied to new phases. This works really well when an end goal is in sight but the methods of achieving the goal are perhaps less clear.
I have seen this effectively applied when designing a data validation report to determine if the import of additional data has been effective. The project was kicked off with a simple script to compare values and descriptions, once this was completed it was run as a test, at this point it was discovered that it needed to also look at the traditional volume of entries to design an effective check. These learnings could then be applied and the end product could be enhanced. This process of learning and enhancement can take place multiple times before the desired end product is reached.
• Agile Project Management
Taking the time at various points of your project to test and evaluate, as well as readjusting the goals, this means you are in the AGILE space. It is important to note that fixed goals don’t really go well with the AGILE approach. It is geared toward delivering high quality, rather than meeting quick deadlines.
On a project where the quality of the end product is essential, this is a very useful approach. The process itself allows for re-evaluation and adjustment, we have seen this effectively applied in the design of an automated reconciliation tool. An account type had initial test data that was of low volume, as the live data started becoming available we were able to reassess the impact of the large volumes as well as determine the impact of incomplete and failed postings. This re-evaluation led to more design and build phases which we didn’t foresee at the beginning of the project.
Accomplishing tasks and productivity is the core tenant of this framework. Smaller teams are managed by the Master of Scrums and guided toward completion of daily, weekly or fortnightly sprints.
When a team is in the position of having multiple “projects” and “project items”, it is essential to manage the flow of work and ensure that items progress through the pipeline toward completion. With a team that is largely client based and multiple of these clients being international this can sometimes be tricky. The Scrum approach can be effectively applied when facing these challenges to ensure that the teams are all on the same page and working steadily towards the ever moving goal posts.
• Critical Path Method (CPM)
If you have a short project with tight deadlines that must be met, CPM is likely your best bet. It allows for determining which items have to precede which items and also which items can be completed in parallel. It works well when you assign deadlines for each section so that the progress can be tracked daily.
The critical path method is great to use when items have to follow a certain path through their development life cycles. So during the normal functioning of the agile method when items are re-assessed and the plan adjusted it helps knowing what sections are to be completed before the next can start. For example a development section cannot commence until the design and technical specification has been completed. It is thus critical to know the path of your items to achieve success.
I hope that the examples have supplied a little insight into the management pieces of these schools of thought in the project management framework space. One thing I can leave you with is this, remember that frameworks can be adapted and combined to achieve the end goal of your project. If some of these don’t work on their own create your own unique framework.