Project Portfolio management – getting the best organizational fit

Computer And Software

It’s no secret that more and more organizations are adopting a project portfolio management process to help them take on and deliver projects that meet their business needs. But with so many processes to choose from—Waterfall, Agile, KANBAN, card wall, etc.—which one is right for your organization?

Back to basics

Before we get into some of the details about the popular project management methodologies that are out there, let’s take a step back and understand the primary reasons why organizations are formalizing the ways in which they manage projects.

  • The need to plan, prioritize, and approve work
  • The need to track and report on progress
  • The need to encourage collaboration

The good news is all project management methodologies check these boxes, but that doesn’t mean you can pick any of them and expect a revolution—there’s more to successful project management than that.

Establishing a Project Management Office (PMO) is key, and whether it’s a single person you dub as “The Project Manager” or a team of experienced, certified professionals, the PMO helps determine which projects an organization should take on, how they’ll be managed, and encourage buy-in and adoption among project stakeholders and resources.

So many methodologies, so little time

While the list of project management methodologies may be long and confusing, the truth is finding the right method for the job should be your goal. Does that mean that instead of using one, you’ll need to use them all? No—of course not. But by learning some of the main differences between them, you’ll start to understand which you should focus on for the types of projects you encounter most often.

Waterfall and Agile methodologies tend to be used for larger, more complex projects and in organizations with more mature project management practices. Waterfall projects typically move in a linear fashion, which each of its deliverables running on parallel or overlapping timelines. Agile, however, takes a more iterative approach that uses development cycles that build toward a large outcome at the end. Other options like card walls and task lists are also great options for smaller or shorter-term projects that could benefit from some level of organization, but don’t require the level of complexity or rigor of large projects.

Ultimately, there is no one best approach to project management. Each has its pros and cons, so fitting the methodology to the project—or even creating a “hybrid” approach with elements of a few is often a good option. With projects coming in many shapes and sizes, your focus should be on choosing the right tool for the job.

Be sure to use the right project management method for the job. Learn more