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 Why Use a Project Management Methodology? | PM Tools - PM Tools

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Why Use a Project Management Methodology?

Many Project Managers believe that to enjoy total project management success, you need to manage projects using a formal project management methodology. They say it helps give you direction, it saves you time and it improves the quality of your deliverables. But does it?

Most good managers use a methodology of sorts, whether it be written on post-it notes stuck to their screen, documented in a stack of procedures on their desk, or included in software that they have bought. Regardless of the type of methodology used, there is one common theme – that it typically helps them to manage projects and therefore improve their project success.

What is a Methodology? A methodology is “a set of methods, processes and practices that are repeatedly carried out to deliver projects”. The key concept is that you repeat the same steps for every project you undertake, and by doing that, you will gain efficiencies in your approach.

What is a Standard? So what is the difference between a methodology and a standard? A standard is “a collection of knowledge areas that are generally accepted as best practice in the industry”.

Standards give you industry guidance, whereas methodologies give you practical processes for managing projects. Standards are not methodologies, and vice versa. The two most popular standards are PMBOK and Prince2.

What should be included?

When you buy a project methodology, it should give you:


MPMM is one of the few methodologies that provides all of these features

What will it not do?

A Methodology is not a silver bullet. It will not fix projects by itself or guarantee success. It is fair to say that no methodology “out-of-the-box” will be 100% applicable to every type of project. So you will need to customise any methodology you purchase to ensure that it perfectly fits your project management environment.

Why use a Methodology?

While a methodology is not a silver bullet for projects, it should help you by giving you a clear process for managing projects. After you have customised it to perfectly fit your environment, your methodology should tell your team what has to be completed to deliver your project, how it should be done, in which order and by when.

Using a methodology you can:


Of course, you will need to use the elements of the methodology that are most suitable to each project you undertake. For instance, when managing smaller projects, you will only want to apply lightweight processes to your project. When managing large projects, you should apply the heavyweight processes to monitor and control every element of your project in depth.

But if you can manage every project you undertake in the same way, then you will gain efficiencies with your approach, work smarter and reduce your stress. You will also give your team a clear understanding of what you expect from them and boost your chances of success.

If you want a methodology to help improve the way you manage projects, you are likely to want:


You can discover more about project management methodologies at www.llewellyn-group.com

Rob Llewellyn is an international project and programme management consultant and executive coach.

He operates The Llewellyn Group from the heart of Europe and provides management consulting and coaching services worldwide.
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