Project management methodologies and frameworks provide clear guidance often based on best practice that continue to develop and evolve. These approaches emerge and adapt in order to better support the current work economy but, are also one of the reasons why organisations can fall behind the curve – it’s easy to get stuck in one way of working by hiding behind a methodology or framework that has become a bit of a monster.

Organisations contact Wellingtone to get help in blending the right approaches for their reality, considering what is already out there, typically:

  • Waterfall which gives us a sequential way of working and is best for situations when we can predict what is expected to be delivered and /or how we will deliver it (business process)
  • Agile provides an iterative approach focused around the concept of continuous improvement originally designed for digital delivery which can be utilised if the end result is not defined and /or the Customer wants to see value quickly but over a period of time (software development)
  • Hybrid methodologies are becoming more common and are often designed to blend waterfall and agile principles so best utilised for project that cross the Business and IT barrier
  • Lean and Six Sigma are focused on obtaining and analysing data to identify areas for improvement and removing waste and inefficiencies from processes
  • Critical Path provides a clear view of a more systems thinking approach allowing users to see the bigger picture and is best used when there are lots of interdependencies between change and BaU

There are a number of reasons why methodologies and frameworks become monsters in our organisations, and you may have experienced some of them yourself.

Methodologies: A Helicopter View

At Wellingtone, we support the organisations we work with to improve their capabilities by developing methodologies and frameworks that suit their reality. Below we can see some of the common sense-checks that take place to understand what is really needed (as well as what is happening now!).

Particular Predictive Iterative Adaptive
Scope Defined upfront at the beginning Defined for upcoming iteration and a high-level vision for the rest The scope is set in the form of features
Change At initial phases/stages can be accommodated leading to cost implications later Accommodated throughout with less cost impact during the planning of the next iteration Accommodated ad-hoc with rapid changes every 2-4 weeks meaning less cost impact during the planning of the next iteration
Risk Accumulates risk over time, can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes Iterations and constant watch naturally reduce the risk exposure Risk is dealt with as it comes up and incorporated into the process
Customer Feedback Customer feedback is received at the end of the project with customer involvement focused on the beginning and end Customer feedback is received at the end of each iteration Customer feedback is received at the end of each rapid iteration, so customers are involved/engaged continuously
Complexity Used for projects where the product to be delivered is well understood with little complexity Used where a change in objectives/ scope need to be managed and complexity reduction is required as the project progresses Used in a rapidly changing environment, where scope/ requirements are difficult to define in advance
Delivery/Value Delivery happens at the end only once Delivery happens at the end of each iteration and customer gets value earlier in the project Delivery happens very rapidly after every 2-4 weeks with Customer receiving ‘value’ frequently

These examples are not the only checks that need to be made as designing appropriate methodologies and frameworks will always have to consider context such as nature of the business, its project, the culture, the maturity of the PPM environment too. But these are good places to begin exploring.

The PMO Perspective

PMO teams often have their finger on the pulse of what is emerging in the profession, such as PM Bricolage, and serious play, and the #noprojects or #noestimates movement. It is imperative therefore that any changes made to existing ways of working is done so as a collaboration between the PMO and the delivery managers.

Education is also key. Most changes from one type of methodology or framework require a mindset shift from delivery to leadership, therefore considering the educational needs of the Customers of the methodology is imperative to its success.

In Summary

There is no one page that holds all the information we need to compare all the ways of working that are out in our organisation. To begin looking at this internally, make sure that as a team there is an understanding of the level of maturity you are currently operating at. Next have an open conversation about the changes that will benefit (or not) the organisation, followed by design and feedback. If the change is big, make sure you create an publish a roadmap – do not under-estimate the importance of this step if you want to be successful!

You can read more from Wellingtone about these (and more) methodologies by visiting our website

On This Page

Monthly Newsletter

By: Emma Arnaz-Pemberton

Emma Arnaz-Pemberton
Consulting Director FAPM, MCMI, MPMI, MIoD PMO-CC, MoR, MSP, PRINCE2
Categories: Project Management

Published: 22 February 2023

Book onto an Event