Team meeting with people discussing

Exploring different types of project management methodologies

November 27, 2018

Article updated July 19, 2022

Project management approach/methodology guide

Project management can be an intimidating subject to learn about because the field is so broad. While project management has some basic philosophies and practices, there's a whole range of methods and project management leadership styles to choose from. It's best to be familiar with the most common options in order to choose what will best fit your project, organization, and personal leadership style.

What is project methodology?

Project methodology is a defined set of practices, techniques, and processes that determines the best way to develop, oversee, and deliver a project through continuous implementation. These methods help to ensure a project is successfully completed and rolled out. This scientifically proven, systematic approach enhances the design and execution of a project. The purpose of project management methodology and presentations of related data is to create an effective model for decision-making and problem-solving through specific approaches.

A project management approach or methodology is used to:

  • Define the needs of stakeholders
  • Make sure the team understands expectations
  • Estimate costs
  • Complete tasks using a methodological approach
  • Find conflicts early
  • Make sure solutions are implemented quickly

What are the different types of project management methodologies?

Traditional project management methods use a linear system of processes broken down into stages. A modern project management approach/methodology uses alternative methods that focus on other areas or are designed to suit specific areas of business. Here are a few of the most common methodologies.

PMBOK guide

This isn't a methodology in the strictest sense of the term, but the PMBOK Guide is so foundational to project management that it must be mentioned. PMBOK comes from the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. This guide is a comprehensive catalog of best practices, methods, and ideas. So while this isn't a methodology in itself, it's an important source to turn to while learning about methodologies and choosing what will be best for your work.


The name of this methodology is an acronym for "PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2." This method was developed by the UK government and has spread to be used outside the UK, too, mostly for projects in the private sector. PRINCE2 is a documentation-oriented approach that presents a suite of process-driven methods.


CPM stands for critical path method, and it focuses on the crucial tasks necessary for successful completion of a project. This is a sequential method that depends on completing one task before moving on to the next. Using CPM can really help you determine how long a project will take to complete.


The purpose of this methodology is to minimize waste and maximize customer value. This method results in value generation and customer satisfaction using a highly optimized process flow that reduces waste and emphasizes high value. Lean is often a good choice for highly complex projects like manufacturing and construction.

Six Sigma

Motorola developed this method to eliminate defects in the product or service. This is one of the most popular methods worldwide because it ensures accuracy and speed of a process while minimizing or eliminating waste. This method can be a good choice for projects with very little budget and works well for projects that will be scheduled for a timeline of three to nine months.


Critical chain project management implements the theory of constraints and buffers to establish task durations and track resource-dependent activities. This method is a great choice for multi-project environments.


This method is used in software development, and teams use it to produce their product in 30-day "sprints" along with a monthly "scrum session." In order for the deliverables to be broken down into 30-day production intervals, teams that take this methodology on need to be collaborative with no strong restraints on budget or time.


This program is enjoyed for its simplicity and flexibility. By dividing tasks simply into categories of "to do," "in progress," and "done," it's easy to keep track of the progress of the project and adapt and change at any time. Kanban is highly visual and keeps users constantly up to date on project progress.

Choosing the right project management method

Choosing the right methodology for your project may be time-consuming, and the process might be complex at first. But it's worth investing the time and effort into making the right choice because the right method will lead to greater success in the long run.

How to decide which project management methodology to use

There are a few ways to decide which method might be best for your organization. You can, of course, do the research and decide for yourself which might work best for your team. The Project Management Institute has developed the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) to help with this decision-making process. The goal of OPM3 is to strategically align project outcomes with the right project management methodology and presentations of results. It isolates the criteria for success and failure to determine which project management methodology is best.

While making a decision without the assistance of OPM3, it is important to consider:

  • Constraints
  • Stakeholders
  • Organizational goals
  • Core values
  • Risks
  • Complexity
  • Project size and cost

Next, you'll need to take steps to make the final decision on the best project methodology to deploy:

  • Determine the drivers of the project and identify the primary goals.
  • Identify the parts of the project the methodology will impact.
  • List any possible methodologies that might be a good fit for the project.
  • Compare and contrast each methodology in relation to the project.
  • Decide which methodology is going to offer the best results with the fewest risks.
  • Get feedback on the decision and then buy into the methodology.
  • Implement the methodology.
  • Monitor the process and methodology and modify it as needed.

These methodologies are not one-size-fits-all. The best fit can vary by situation, by organization, and by project. A streamlined process map can go a long way in helping you decide the best approach for each project. The most important thing to remember is that evaluating which methodology will best fit is always worth the time and effort invested.

Customizing your own project management software

No matter which methodology you choose to implement, using custom business applications throughout the different phases of completion can make the process that smoother. Quickbase offers no-code app development solutions that are a fast and simple way to create an app according to your standards.

Using point-and-click functionality, you'll be able to make custom apps tailored to the needs of your organization and the project management methodologies it uses. The no-code interface offers the potential for anyone on your team to contribute and learn how to develop an app that meets your needs. The software is also adaptable, so you can make changes on the fly. Just like methodologies, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for project management tools, and that's why using custom business apps can make a huge difference to the degree of project success enjoyed.

Keep up with changing methodologies, adaptations needed mid-project, and fluctuating business needs with a flexible and powerful platform.