There is a lot of debate regarding which project management methodology is the best and practitioners of each different method defend their choice fiercely. The battle between PRINCE2 vs Scrum vs AgilePM rages on despite the fact that there are many project management professionals who argue the case that there is no strict need to choose just one project management methodology.
Each project management methodology has its own set of project management processes and these help to govern the way in which the method is applied. Using a project management methodology helps the practitioner to keep the project on track and assists in increasing the chances of project success. Given that projects can be extremely costly affairs, the success rate of any method is always going to rate highly as a priority when choosing which method to adopt. The three biggest names on the project management methodology list are PRINCE2, Scrum and AgilePM.
Project Management Methodology Overview
PRINCE2 is a contraction of PRojects IN Controlled Environments (version 2) and it was originally developed for the IT industry. Its success rate for IT projects soon led to the realisation that it could easily be tailored to suit other sectors and therefore, benefit those as well. The PRINCE2 project management methodology can be implemented for any project – regardless of size, type, location and field.
The PRINCE2 project management methodology provides a structured approach to projects and ensures that the product to be created is the main focus of all PRINCE2 project team members. The PRINCE2 project management methodology consists of:
- 7 PRINCE2 project management Principles
- 7 PRINCE2 project management Themes
- 7 PRINCE2 project management Processes
Amongst some, there is the misconception that the PRINCE2 project management methodology is highly rigid and does not allow for any flexibility. This is unfounded and even more so since the 2009 revamp which streamlined the PRINCE2 method and ensured that PRINCE2 can be easily tailored to suit any project.
Scrum is a project management methodology from the same non-traditional family as AgilePM. It has become very popular in recent years because it is very simple, highly flexible and relatively easy to implement.
The Scrum project management methodology moves away from the conventional project management roles and instead only has three roles to carry out the project management processes:
- Product Owner
- Scrum Master
The duties and responsibilities of the customary Project Manager are divided amongst these Scrum roles and with communication and collaboration, the project progresses via “sprints” as described below in the overview of the AgilePM project management methodology. Although the Scrum framework is very simple, it is highly beneficial for complex and innovative projects. Well suited to the IT (and particularly software) fields, the Scrum project management methodology works well for any project that requires a highly flexible approach and the need to have workable products at the end of each sprint.
The AgilePM project management methodology was developed as an alternative to the conventional “waterfall” or “sequential” forms of project management processes. Often used in the IT industry, the AgilePM approach is to focus more on co-ordination of incremental development than on planning. This may sound risky, however, the AgilePM project management method works in “sprints” which are short and concise task sessions where the agreed upon work packet is completed within an agreed upon time frame.
Sprints are generally rather short task sessions that are aimed at high productivity within a small timeframe. There is also emphasis placed on collaboration and this enables the various AgilePM teams to communicate amongst themselves to assist one another in completing the product. After each sprint, the progress is assessed and the next sprint is adjusted accordingly. At the end of the final sprint, each component of the product will be complete and it can then be assembled or compiled into the final AgilePM project product.
The AgilePM manifesto states that it values:
- Responding to change over following a plan
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Working product over comprehensive documentation
- Individuals and interactions over project management processes and tools
The AgilePM project management methodology allows for changes to be implemented more easily throughout the course of the project which will ensure that the final AgilePM product is still relevant at the time of completion and will provide for what is required of it.
How well are these methods recognised in the field?
When deciding which project management methodology to study, or to adopt within your organisation, it is necessary to consider how well recognised that particular method is within the field of project management. This can vary according to the nature of the organisation and the opinions regarding any specific method can also be influenced by personal preference and how projects have traditionally been managed within the organisation.
PRINCE2 is the leading project management methodology in the UK and is currently used in more than 50 countries worldwide. Both the method and the certifications required to become a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner are internationally recognised. The PRINCE2 method can be implemented in projects that are spread out over various geographical locations as there is often no need for face-to-face meetings between all the members of the PRINCE2 project teams.
Due to the generic nature and the tailoring aspect of the PRINCE2 method, it can used for any project (in both the private and publics sectors) and this makes it highly versatile in the world of project management.
Scrum training and the Scrum project management methodology are globally acknowledged and this method is used by many Fortune 500 companies across the world. Due to its success rate and popularity, Scrum has become the number one project management methodology amongst the AgilePM project management processes.
The fact that Scrum is so well suited to complex projects means that it is a firm favourite where projects need to ensure that the most important products on the “wish list” are achieved as early on in the project as possible.
Recognised internationally, the AgilePM project management methodology has begun to increase drastically in its popularity over recent years. There are many project management professionals who require this level of flexibility and need their product to remain current and relevant to business needs.
The nature of the AgilePM project management methodology means that changes can be implemented during the developmental process and this can result in huge savings of both time and money. AgilePM is well suited to projects where the working requirements of the product are more likely to be amended prior to the completion of the project.
Can these project management methods work well together?
The belief that different project management methods cannot be blended together successfully is a myth. This has very clearly been proven by the recent release of the PRINCE2 Agile method which is a perfect hybrid of the two approaches to project management. Retaining the well constructed aspects of PRINCE2 and its distinct framework, the method incorporates additional flexibility and quick reactions from the tactics of AgilePM.
Due to Scrum being so closely related to AgilePM, there are numerous features of this method that can be adopted by any fusion of these three project management methodologies. PRINCE2 will provide a safe and defined structure to the project, whilst the Scrum and AgilePM methods will allow for flexibility and up-to-date change resolution throughout the course of the project. Although PRINCE2 Agile is still new in the field of project management, it has already gained a loyal following who view its progressive nature as the way forward.
What are the pros and cons of each of these methods?
Quite often the advantages and disadvantages of any given project management methodology are directly influenced by personal preference and the specific needs of the current project and the organisation. What is beneficial in one instance can be considered a shortcoming in another. It is important to bear this in mind when considering the pros and cons of PRINCE2, Scrum and AgilePM.
At the end of the day, the best way to choose your project management methodology is to determine your specific needs and which method will provide for these.