By: Le'Mina McNair on October 8th, 2021
6 Project Management Techniques Every PM Should Know
One of the important skills of a successful and flexible project manager is being able to adapt their project management techniques to match the skills of their team. To do this, however, the project manager must have an array of project management techniques and tools in their back pockets, ready to wield them at any time. In this blog, we'll explore the six most efficient project management techniques and how they integrate with project management technologies.
The waterfall or linear method is one of the oldest and simplest project management techniques. This practice works by organizing projects into clear, discernable phases, typically:
Of course, every project manager is different, and therefore, your phases may look different than these, but the concept of a linear timeline persists. This project management technique allows the manager to visualize a project's phases from concept to completion and to see the big picture of what needs to be accomplished. When reviewing possible project management systems, keep in mind that the waterfall method integrates best into project management technologies that can easily break out tasks for each project into phases.
A slightly more in-depth, visual project management technique is the Gantt chart. This method pulls together every task, deadline, and milestone of a project to effectively illustrate progress.
The Gantt chart is best known for helping to adjust timelines based on how a project is progressing. Using the data necessary to assemble the chart, PMs can then factor in changes to a project and adjust timelines accordingly. This capability is invaluable for managers, as they can use dependencies to account for external factors that can lengthen or shorten a project timeline.
When selecting project management technology that will integrate well with a team that frequently utilizes Gantt charts, prioritize project management systems that collect timeline data such as individual task time tracking, conflicting projects, and team member workloads.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Projects of all sizes can be overwhelming when first beginning; even the best project managers may not know where to start or how to divide responsibilities. A work breakdown structure is a hierarchical visualization of deliverables used by project managers to assess workloads and establish deadlines.
Project managers who like to work with their whole team when assigning tasks may find this project management technique particularly effective because it works best when the entire team is involved to provide their relevant input.
While evaluating project management systems to integrate with your WBS, consider that project managers can also utilize a WBS to hierarchically map other things such as budgets and resource allocation.
PERT is an abbreviation for program evaluation and review technique, another effective project management style. The strengths of PERT specifically pertain to helping project managers understand accurate time estimates for tasks, projects, and deliverables.
Integrated with the WBS technique mentioned above, PERT manages probabilities by using statistical methods that take into account all the details used in the completion of tasks, including resources used, time spent, and departments involved.
PERT integrates especially well with project management systems that automatically collect important performance and project data. For example, if you use a project management system that tracks how much time is spent in each phase of one task, PERT will apply those tracked times to evaluate probable upcoming task lengths and provide time estimates.
The Kanban method, while simplistic, is a streamlined project management technique that helps project managers visualize workflows throughout a project. Designed to look like cards on a board, contributors can use the cards to indicate levels of progression and track steps along the way. Kanban is especially efficient for project managers because it emphasizes the continual delivery of tasks without putting too much of a burden on your team.
Integration of the Kanban method with project management technology would allow project managers to not only view a kanban for one project but to also take into account factors across all projects and other kanbans to see the full picture of work being done by the team. Many project management systems are even designed with Kanbans out-of-the-box due to their simplicity and effectiveness.
Critical Path Method (CPM)
The critical path method is a project management technique that allows project managers to utilize all the information available about a project to evaluate its path to completion. Using a WBS or compiled lists of all tasks, the estimated time duration for each task, and any dependencies, the CPM calculates the longest path to completing the project. This includes the earliest and latest possible times the project could be completed, which can be invaluable information for project managers to communicate both to their teams and their clients.
If the CPM is a commonly used method in your project management technique toolbelt, you'll want to integrate it with a project management technology that can either calculate the CPM for you based on collected data or will be able to provide all the data necessary to make the calculations yourself.
Project Management with the Experts
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