The 6 Most Effective Project Management Methodologies

There are many project management methodologies to choose from when deciding on which certification will best suit your career as a Project Manager. Each methodology has it’s supporters and, of course, it’s detractors but the key lies in finding the methodology that best works for you and the style of project management that your organisation will benefit from the most.

It is always best to do your homework before committing to one methodology by weighing up the positives and negatives of each. While one might focus on key areas that are important to your organisation, another may involve more thorough planning, which is also a vital aspect of project management. Here we will outline 5 project management methodologies that have been proven to be effective and enjoy popularity amongst Project Managers to this day.

Critical Chain Methodology

The critical chain methodology lays it’s aim very strongly on ensuring that the resources needed to complete the project are available and, should any resource issues arise, ensuring that they are quickly and efficiently.

Each of these projects has a set of vital elements that are called a critical chain (sometimes referred to as the critical path) which determines the project’s timeline. Resources are then made available to the critical chain whilst ensuring that there are enough additional resources available to be assigned to other tasks, enabling the work on each task to be done at the same time. The Project Manager will then reassign resources as and when they are needed. This methodology will perfectly suit project teams that contain members with multiple skills.


During an Agile project, there is a strong focus on change management – preparing for and adapting to change when, for example, there is a change in assignment in the project team.

Feedback is also considered to be a very important component, whether it be communication between teams that are involved in the project, feedback from the client or between the project manager and management. This means that everyone has a firm understanding of the production process and the direction that it is heading in.

Waterfall Project Management

This is considered to be the traditional method of project management. During a waterfall project, everything is done in a planned and predetermined sequence. The project is first conceptualised and planned after which development starts with quality assurance implemented.

Once the project has reached it’s conclusion, maintenance is carried out. The requirements of the project are set out in the very early stages of planning and are rarely altered unless there is an absolute need for it.


PMP (Project Management Professional) is considered by some to be an agreed upon set of standards and conventions as set out in the PMBOK (Project Management Body Of Knowledge) in project management rather than a project management methodology. It does, however, remain tremendously popular among Project Managers, especially in the US.

PMBOK contains 5 main process groups that are to be followed during a project namely; Initiating Group, Planning Group, Executing Group, Controlling Group and Closing Group. It also follows 10 knowledge areas namely:

  • Project Communication Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Human Resources Management
  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Procurement Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Stakeholder Management
  • Project Time Management

In order to qualify for the PMP exam, a very rigid set of prerequisites need to be followed:

  • 35 hours of formal project management training
  • Secondary diploma
  • 7500 hours directing and leading projects


  • 35 hours of formal project management training
  • Four year degree
  • 4500 hours directing and leading projects


The PRiSM (Projects integrating Sustainable Methods) methodology takes into account any environmental factors that may be affected by the project. It was developed by GPM Global to a repeatable methodology and focusses largely on projects that are on a bigger scale.

What sets PRiSM apart from other project management methodologies is that it is one of very few methods that requires Project Managers to be accredited, and rewards them for that fact. It is a methodology that is primarily used in the construction and infrastructure sector where work has a likelihood to have a negative effect on the surrounding environment.


Possibly the best known and most popular project management methodology in the UK and throughout Europe, PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) prides itself on the fact that it can be tailored to meet the needs of any project, regardless of it’s size and industry. It follows a very strict set of processes and principles that, when followed correctly, ensure that the project can in fact be considered to be PRINCE2.

The terminology that is used in PRINCE2 remains the same during each project, ensuring that communication runs smoothly and roles and responsibilities are assigned to each member of the project team, which ensures that each team member knows what they are responsible and accountable for.

Choosing Wisely

It is easy to see that each project management methodology has it’s positive and negative points, depending on the needs of the organisation and the types of projects that it will be undertaking. There are a number of factors that need to be considered before making a decision such as the cost of certification, the amount of staff members that will have to receive training, the reputation that accompanies the methodology and, of course whether it will suit the environment in which it will be utilised.

Other factors that will come into play is whether it will give you a competitive advantage, the effect that it will have on daily operations, the core values of the organisation where it will be used and whether the stakeholders will be likely to agree with the choice that you have made. In the end, the project management methodology that wins out should be the one that gives you the best chance at delivering a successful project as often as possible.

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