Is your project management methodology still relevant today?

– by India Murphy

In the last six months there have been significant changes to our working environment, but does your current project management methodology reflect these new developments? Noetic explains how to check if your methodology has adapted to the new normal and why it is so vital to do so.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can be a popular attitude towards project management methodology, but after facing a global crisis like COVID 19, organisations are learning that there are always benefits to re-evaluating. The key to reflecting on your methodology and its relevance is by reconsidering the questions you ask when choosing one. Maintaining a contemporary outlook doesn’t mean having to try the buzzworthy methodology trends, but instead, it is about surveying the industry landscape, learning from previous projects and looking towards tomorrow when choosing your approach.

Asking the right questions

According to the Harvard Business Review, questioning is the key to unlocking value within organisations. We’ve collated some questions for you and your organisation to ask, ensuring that your project management methodology is still relevant and valuable in a post COVID-19 working world.

1) Is it flexible?

The Working From Home (or #WFH) phenomenon has proven that organisations who can be flexible with their approach and quickly adapt to changing circumstances will ultimately succeed. Incorporating elements of flexibility in your project management methodology is vital to account for the unexpected, allowing teams to adjust course when requirements change opposed to having to start from scratch. Methodologies like Agile and Hybrid provide this flexibility, enabling you and your team to manage disaster when it is least expected.

Asking a very specific question about the flexibility of your methodology will also help to determine if it is the right strategy. Could it handle a second wave of COVID-19? The likelihood is that this won’t be an isolated incident – how are you preparing for a similar event in the future? Although it is impossible to consider and prepare for all circumstances, ensuring your approach is elastic and variable will enable you and your organisation to survive the next curveball.

2) Does it best utilise your team’s strengths and weaknesses?

The astronomical rise in remote working has likely changed the way your team is used to working. With less supervision and increased autonomy, how has your team coped and what has it revealed about their strengths and weaknesses? If the challenge of self-managing from home has resulted in greater productivity and results for your team, then it is worth adapting the Scrum Methodology for future projects, allowing teams to self prioritise. Perhaps an employees’ inconsistent performance is due to the difficult balance of working from home and managing family commitments, trying the Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) approach can help to reduce stress with a mono-task focus.

3) Has this approach worked before?

Reflecting on previous projects and the methodologies applied can be a useful tool when wanting to adapt to new circumstances. If the methodology has been applied to a project with similar requirements, does it still stand up to the current working situation? If so, what else can you incorporate to maintain its relevance? A methodology such as Waterfall could have proven its success through the challenge of Covid 19 but might lack in addressing future problems such as sustainability. Combining elements from the PRiSM strategy with Waterfall can enable your organisation to remain flexible in not only it’s management approach but also in its environmental impacts.

Does your methodology enable you to learn from events like coronavirus and incorporate these findings into the process? The PRINCE2 method emphasises the importance of documentation and learning from the past, this approach can help to lower risk even when it is difficult to implement changes later down the track.

4) Asking your employees

The greatest insight into whether a process is effective is by asking those involved. Getting honest feedback from your employees about your current project management methodology will help to identify the benefits and disadvantages of your chosen strategy. Asking your employees about their experience of working from home and what changes they’d like to see implemented as they return to the workplace will highlight what is missing from your existing approach. For example, team members might request for more transparency during a project. You can incorporate this into your current method by utilising the documentation focus and regularly scheduled meeting elements from the Integrated Project Management strategy. Scheduling and time management might be recurring issues for another team, the Critical Path Method can help to address these issues with its emphasis on prioritisation and schedule mapping.

5) Assessing the industry

Often the secrets to the most effective project management methodology can be found in your competitors’ success. By assessing the industry landscape and tuning into what others are doing, you can find a method which will help to distinguish a point of difference. While the Integrated Project Management approach might work best for larger firms with more resources, the Critical Chain Project Management method would be better suited for smaller medium enterprises by capitalising on resource efficiency and concentration on more complex problems.

The right fit

Even if after asking these questions you still haven’t found the project management methodology right for your team, then contact us. With over twenty years’ experience assisting organisations across public and private sectors to build high-performance teams, Noetic can provide you with a project management strategy that is best suited for your team.