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Through the years, project management experts have developed project planning tools and techniques to promote productivity, ensure quality, and reduce waste. Today, these techniques allow project managers worldwide to facilitate successful results in the most efficient manner
With a number of project management techniques, choosing the best option for your team is an important responsibility that a project manager plays in his role of ensuring that every project he oversees is completed in the best manner.
Let’s talk about some project management tools and techniques you should consider depending on your project type.
Project Management Methods and Techniques
1. Agile Scrum Methodology
The agile scrum methodology is very popular in the software development industry, yet is used in the sales, marketing, and technology fields as well. It has fast grown to be a favorite among agile project techniques due to its flexibility which facilitates feedback, testing, and iteration.
Due to its adaptability, agile scrum is the perfect project management technique to implement if you are dealing with a lot of ambiguity or if your project includes a lot of client involvement.
In agile scrum, teams work on deliverables in short periods, called sprints. Sprints usually last 2-4 weeks. Once a deliverable is created, it gets tested with the test result used to decide on the focus of the next sprint.
In marketing, you can apply the agile scrum methodology in social media management for a newly launched brand. Your posts need to connect with your target audience to succeed on social media. You might even want to ride trends to gain traction. This said it will be important for your team to constantly monitor what type of posts work and what don’t. Whenever a sprint ends, gather your artist, copywriter, and accounts manager and do sprint reviews where they collect and evaluate results. Based on their insights, they can brainstorm on a new approach or identify things they should continue doing more of.
Using the delphi technique in project management can be a good way to consolidate individual observations into a group conclusion. By doing this consistently, you will slowly but surely get a better grasp of the sensibilities of your audience.
2. Waterfall Technique
The waterfall technique is a linear approach to developing projects. Time estimation in project management can be tricky, so using a linear project management methodology such as the Waterfall is preferred since mistakes can be costly. Coupled with the right project estimation techniques in project management, you can come up with a reliable result.
To illustrate this project management tool let’s use an example of event management.
Before booking your suppliers and performers, you’ll have to know your event’s features and program flow. Before you mount your venue, you’ll have to make the floor plan and decor. Failing to iron out your program may cause you to book the wrong performers and pay cancellation fees to replace them last minute. Building your venue without accurate plans may cause you to reserve items in excess.
The waterfall technique works for projects with no ambiguity on project outcomes, and the behavior of significant factors is entirely predictable. This is also the best approach to use when many external suppliers are involved.
3. Kanban Method
The Kanban method is a means to manage workflow, efficiency, and product quality using a kanban board.
A kanban board is a physical or digital surface divided into three columns: To Do, In Progress, and Completed. Project tasks are written on cards called kanban cards. As your team progresses, the task cards will move along each column until they reach the Completed column.
The Kanban method helps you visualize your workflow. It also enables you to maintain quality in your outputs by ensuring that the cards under “In Progress” are always manageable. You can use the kanban method to manage your social media posts, general team tasks, blog content, event guest list, and more.
The Kanban method isn’t suitable for projects with many dependencies because the tool won’t correctly represent them. It might also fail to be effective if your team uses different workflows.
For example, when you organize an event, the programs committee might follow a different workflow from the merchandise committee. Because of this, having just one Kanban board for the whole event team may not work.
On the other hand, the process of blog copywriting is almost always researching, outlining, drafting, composing, and editing. This makes Kanban an excellent method to use for this arena.
4. Gantt Chart
A Gantt chart is a horizontal bar graph where project tasks are listed on its left side, and the rectangles on the bar represent the duration at which a task is going to be worked on.
Project monitoring tools and techniques as detailed as the Gantt chart are good for projects with many dependencies because they will allow you to see which tasks can run in parallel and which can only be started when another one is finished (dependencies).
For example, let’s say you’re preparing an integrated marketing campaign for a product launch. Your PR, social media, production, and events teams depend on one another.
The PR team would need your events team's event details to seed the information to the media. Your social media team would need your production team's assets so that they can use them for posts.
It wouldn’t be as simple as estimating the tasks and adding them all to properly assess how much time you'll need to finish the project tasks. Instead, use a Gantt chart to visualize your project timeline and task dependencies properly.
5. Critical Path Method
The critical path method (also known as the CPM technique) involves monitoring a project's critical path: the longest sequence of related tasks in a project. For example, two tasks can run in parallel when mounting a press conference: venue logistics and press kit creation.
These tasks are independent of each other. However, you can only send out invites to press once the press kit is finished. This makes press kit creation a dependency on giving out guest invites. Together, they form a path. The longest path in a project is called a critical path.
Mounting the venue
Press kit creation
(Dependency: Press kit creation)
Imagine that mounting the venue takes eight days. Creating the press kit and sending out guest invites takes 15 days. This makes the latter the critical path. Any delay in these tasks will cause the whole project to be delayed, so critical path management is essential.
If you need to use schedule compression techniques when there’s a threat of delay, you’ll want to apply them on your critical path to meet your deadlines. Meanwhile, for tasks related to mounting the venue, a little bit of a delay can be afforded without adjusting the finish date of the whole project.
The CPM project management method is perfect for projects with many interdependent moving parts because it helps project managers prioritize and manage resources effectively.
6. Hybrid Project Management
If you’re not yet sold on integrating just one methodology, you may want to consider a hybrid project management approach. This means taking two or three project management methods and applying them to your project.
For example, use the waterfall technique to plan your integrated marketing communications campaign. But every day, do a daily stand-up to align with your team, which is an agile scrum ceremony. Every two weeks, you and your team can align on your progress, similar to how a sprint review is done.
Using this approach will allow you to provide accurate timeline estimates for your client. At the same time, you and your team can be constantly aware of how you can modify your project planning methods to achieve your goals. The hybrid project management approach can fit any project type, depending on your use. It allows you to maximize the pros of the project management tools and methodologies and mitigate their weaknesses. A downside here is that it’s not easily duplicable because the method would be highly specialized to your project’s needs.
Refine Your PM Techniques with a Project Management Tool
Project management techniques are frameworks and methodologies you can use to facilitate progress in your projects. They all have their strengths and limitations, so no one is better than the other. The best project management technique to use would be the one that can fully support your project needs.
Using a project management tool like Workamajig will help you manage your project from start to finish, efficiently. You can create, estimate, schedule, and deliver projects faster and smarter with this creative project management tool. Workamajig supports all the project management methods and techniques mentioned above, and will help you manage your projects like a pro!