5 Project Management Methods Used By Fortune 500 Companies
Businesses use project methodology to lower costs and save resources. It is important not only to choose a project management methodology (PMM) that fits needed criteria, but to also customize that methodology to specific company and project needs. Fully customizing a project, versus having no methodology at all, can make a firm’s project success rate soar from 66 percent to 82 percent. A project manager (PM) identifies what tasks will help a firm meet its goals, and assigns responsibility for completing those tasks. There are many available methodologies, and Fortune 500 companies use these practices every day to bring new ideas to life.
Project Management in Action
A project management methodology is a written agenda that firms use to achieve goals. Even the simplest organizational changes can benefit from project management. A project manager’s goal is to reduce organizational change implementation costs, save valuable time and make sure that new practices are successfully employed. Depending on a company’s needs, this plan can have a definite shape or change rapidly as staff members make new discoveries. All industries, from construction to information technology, use project management to meet project goals, and most firms that use this practice successfully modify their product management methodology with each use.
It is important that a project manager chooses the correct project management methodology. It is not enough for an organization to buy a project management template or program, fill in the blanks and hope for the best; a project manager must also customize the plan to fit a firm’s culture, industry and risk tolerance to increase project success probability. Frequently, the same organization will employ different methodologies for various projects. When a project manager customizes a project plan, they decrease workload and increase the likelihood that a project will succeed. Projects that meet company objectives increase brand confidence as well as employee morale. When firm’s do not customize their project management plans, several visible problems can surface during execution.
There are several signs that a project is not performing as desired. If project methodology is not working, the project team members may begin to complete tasks off schedule and completely disregard the project plan. Another sign that a project plan is ineffective is when team members deviate from the plan causing bottlenecks when project tasks prove difficult to complete. When a PM does not customize a project plan, the assigned tasks can produce results that do nothing to move the project forward, resulting in wasted company resources. These failures often result if a project leader uses a project template in its entirety without customizing it for each project and organization.
Agile Project Methodology
Generally used to outline information technology (IT) projects, Agile offers PM’s the ability to change project tasks and goals quickly. Firms often deploy this methodology along with other project management methods. The Agile method involves a continuous renewal process called iteration; It operates by conducting a work structure that flows in a continuous loop – finding information, making changes, and reviewing the results – until a firm meets its desired goal. Agile’s flexibility has also made it a common PMM used in the marketing industry. The method involves “sprints,” or large work segments completed in a short time period. This method works well for driven, skilled teams.
Lean development, another methodology rooted in information technology, focuses on producing the best results with the fewest resources. Lean users focus on “optimizing the process as a whole.” With this method, a project manager attempts to devise efficiencies across all project segments. It also heavily considers the impact that human emotion will have on a project’s success or failure. In addition to reducing waste, the method also aims to decrease project life-cycle. Using lean development, project managers attempt to achieve near perfection in every way.
Six Sigma also attempts to strive for near perfection. The term Sigma means a measure of how far something deviates from perfection. Motorola Inc. is responsible for creating the methodology. The company made the process to lower resource use while improving process efficiency and overall profit. When using Six Sigma, PM’s rely heavily on data to make decisions. Project managers using this method also seek to deliver consistency with each project they execute.
Scrum PMM is an Agile methodology offshoot. With this project method, a Scrum Master, rather than a project manager, leads the team. One important task the Scum Master undertakes is to reassign tasks that have fallen behind schedule. A Scrum Master may also designate task groups to complete specific projects. This method is somewhat simpler to work with and gives project teams a clear task framework. The idea behind this technique is to create a more stable project management environment.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
With the Critical Path Method, a project manager outlines all tasks that project team members must complete. This method is appropriate when a project requires that the team completes one task before they can begin another task. After determining all task dependencies, the PM calculates the longest and shortest project life-cycles. A project manager measures critical path project success by how and when the team produces results called deliverables. The PM also outlines the costs associated with each project activity.
Project management is a way for businesses to maximize their time and resources. There are many project management approaches available; however, firms only receive the full benefit of these templates when they customize the methods for each project. It is the project manager’s job to make sure that these customizations are effective. Companies use the many project methods available regularly to bring about successful organizational change.
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