Comparing Project Management Methodologies [Infographic]

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Comparing Project Management Methodologies

There’s more than one way to tackle a project. In Project Management, in fact, there are quite a few formal approaches, or methodologies, each with its own procedures, terminology, and strategic advantages. Here’s how five of the most popular methodologies stack up.


A linear approach to completing projects
Tasks done step-by-step, in order
Complete each before moving to the next

Waterfall Process:
define a goal
break down goal into smallest steps
list steps in order

Pros: [thumbs up]
simple and intuitive
easy for non-PM professionals to understand
easy to control and delegate

Cons: [thumbs down]
not flexible
can’t track progress within stages
can’t alter sequence

Best For: [checks]
short-term projects

Critical Path

Another linear, step-by-step approach.
Works for interdependent tasks.
Includes time buffers for each task (“slack”)

Critical Path Process:
list all tasks
set duration for each
determine max time frame (“critical path”)
schedule based on task dependencies

Pros: [thumbs up]
easy to monitor progress
promotes on-time completion

Cons: [thumbs down]
not flexible
many paths can get confusing
frequent milestone checking needed

Best For: [checks]
short-term projects
business projects
event planning


Phased approach
Increases product quality
Reduces waste

Lean Process:
Define desired value
Identify value stream
Eliminate Waste
Respond to client demands

Pros: [thumbs up]
gets big results with small teams
good for tight deadlines

Cons: [thumbs down]
predictable outcomes
low innovation
requires decisive action

Best For: [checks]
ongoing processes


named after a rugby lineup
team-based approach
involves short, intensive work “sprints”

Scrum Process:
List desired end goals (“backlog”)
Plan work “sprint”
“Scrum master” leads team in sprint
Check progress daily
Repeat sprints until goals met

Pros: [thumbs up]
gets fast results
high motivation and productivity
breaks up long processes

Cons: [thumbs down]
requires team cohesion
requires team autonomy
cumbersome with big teams

Best For: [checks]
mid-length projects
small teams
product development


stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments
standard in UK government and Europe
each stage managed separately
heavily planned and documented

Prince2 Process:
propose and plan project
break down stages into “work packets”
manage completion of work packets
review at end of each stage through closure

Pros: [thumbs up]
strong oversight
clear responsibilities and stages
scales up or down

Cons: [thumbs down]
extensive documentation
less agile

Best For: [checks]
large scope projects
long-term projects
government work
business changes


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