What are the 5 project management methodologies?

Being a project manager, it’s one of the most important tasks to select the appropriate project management methodology to accomplish the project on time while maintaining quality. Every project management methodology underpins a set of predefined steps that will result in the successful completion of the project; however, every methodology has its own rules, principles, and approaches that lead to the progress of the project and manage the complicated issues that may crop up while the project is getting delivered. Pursuing a comprehensive project management certification may help you learn the nitty-gritty of different project management strategies and help you choose the best one for your project.

While there are so many project management methodologies available, it becomes daunting to choose the right one. Selecting the right methodology relies entirely on the project’s scope, management tools, and availability requirements. Though all the project management methodologies are perfect, not all may be ideal for every project. Let’s learn about the top five project management methodologies in detail, the type of project they will fit for, and their pros and cons.


Agile is more of a mindset or framework than a methodology. This methodology gives more importance to personal interaction than non-personal processes and tools, and therefore one of its strongest features is to adapt to the changing scenarios and showing consistent results as per the feedback. It primarily works on iterative and incremental work sequences known as ‘sprints’.

When team members collaborate strongly with upper management and their clients, different approaches, directions and solutions are found. The Agile methodology is easily adaptable and offers flexibility to support face-to-face interactions and collaborating practices without affecting the flow of the project.

The methodology is highly suitable for projects that comprise a certain level of uncertainty and complexity. Under Agile methodology, more emphasis is placed on seeking continuous improvement in the form of high-quality results and get a competitive edge in the market.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Agile

  • Advantages: Highly flexible, adaptable and involve small incremental changes leading to low risk
  • Disadvantages: Needs close collaboration between different departments and relies on fast communication, which can be difficult in various organizations. Furthermore, the lack of a well-defined plan may pose serious problems in management.


Even though Kanban is technically based on the Agile framework, it is regarded as a separate methodology. It was initially created for improving the production lines of Toyota factories during the 1940s; however, other companies also started implementing it. Kanban is primarily used for designing project workflow so that major shortcomings can be detected during the initial stages of product development.

The methodology is highly suitable for projects that depend majorly upon continuous improvement in the process of development. Furthermore, the methodology is used by people for their personal use and to create action plans.

Advantages and disadvantages of Kanban

  • Advantages:  Highly flexible, adaptable, simple to implement minimalistic tech support, and offers transparency in the task’s progress.
  • Disadvantages: Not suitable for complex and long-term projects and for tasks that need to be completed in a certain time limit.


Lean as a project management methodology primarily aims to enhance the customer value by utilizing the least number of resources, i.e., avoiding wastage. Like Agile, the Lean methodology emerged from a Japanese manufacturing company that developed it to reduce the wastage of resources and time and improve the quality.

The Lean project management methodology identifies three types of wastages, known as the ‘3Ms’, which are:

  • Muda: Refers to removing a process or a course of actions that are of no use to a project.
  • Mura: Reducing workflow processes causing delays that can impact scheduling and operations.
  • Muri: Refers to eliminating managers who slow down their employees and overall process through time-wasting practices like micromanaging, poor organization etc.

Lean is best suited for organizations seeking transformation in their conventional method of work.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Lean

  • Advantages: Useful for eliminating wasted human resources and improving the productivity of the team, helpful for managing project budget and also useful for recognizing big business problems.
  • Disadvantages: Expecting the team to be ready for constant transformation can be challenging, and thus the implementation of the methodology will require a lot of commitment from the team members.


The waterfall methodology adopts a linear and sequential approach towards project management in a single direction similar to a waterfall. The methodology was evolved in the construction and manufacturing industry, where work plans are structured and rigid, and any changes in the process may cost a huge loss of money and resources.

The methodology is best suited for organizations that abide by the deadlines for accomplishing the project and follow complex work structures wherein one task can be taken up only if the previous task has been completed.

Advantages and disadvantages of Waterfall

  • Advantages: Highly reliable, predictable and can accommodate both big and long-term projects, helpful for tasks requiring dependencies.
  • Disadvantages: Lacks flexibility even in the initial stages of the project and requires considerable time to maintain the documentation process.

Six Sigma

Like other project management methodologies, Six Sigma was first developed by Motorola engineers during the mid-1980s. It primarily focuses upon enhancing the quality of the project and its overall success by determining what is essential for the project and what is not working in favor of the project. It mainly comprises quality management tools guided by empirical and statistical data and inputs from experts to minimize the number of errors.

The methodology is best suited for organizations or companies seeking to enhance their operating efficiency and quality of output by using data.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Six Sigma

  • Advantages: Helps in quality and value enhancement, prevents wastage, ensures success.
  • Disadvantages: This May not help in cost reduction, difficult to implement as it requires the participation of all the employees which may be difficult at times.

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