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 Project Management & Software Development Methodologies Summary

The Project Management Institute (PMI®) has come a long way in standardizing the "accidental profession" of project management. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) helps unify the language and structure of how we manage projects. Unfortunately, the PMBOK® doesn't teach methodologies, leaving us to learn them 'on the job'. Just like opinions, seems like everybody has a project management methodology (and an opinion on what is a methodology and what isn't), and there is no one 'right answer'.

Maybe the best selling author and Microsoft Program Manager (for their biggest projects) says it best:

"Few people agree on how to plan projects....
It's not surprising then that the planning-related books in the corner of my office disagree heavily with each other...
But more distressing than their disagreements is that these books fail to acknowledge that other approaches even exist."

-- Scott Berkum, The Art of Project Management/Making Things Happen

So here's a high level overview of some of the project management & software development methodologies I've used or read about over the years as a reference. Hopefully this information is useful to you.

Adaptive Project Framework

Similar to the concept of “rolling wave planning” from the PMBOK, the fundamental concept underlying the adaptive project framework (APF) is that scope is variable, and within specified time and cost constraints, APF maximizes business value by adjusting scope at each iteration. It does this by making the client the central figure in deciding what constitutes that maximum business value.    http://www.mariosalexandrou.com/methodologies/adaptive-project-framework.asp

Agile Software Development (Overview)

Refers to a group of software development methodologies based on iterative development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. Most agile methods attempt to minimize risk by developing software in short timeboxes, called iterations, which typically last one to four weeks.  Each iteration is like a miniature software project of its own.  Agile methods emphasize real-time communication, preferably face-to-face, over written documents. Most agile teams are located in a bullpen and include all the people necessary to finish the software.  The term was coined in the year 2001 when the Agile Manifesto was formulated.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agile_software_development

Agile: Crystal Methods

Crystal methods are a family of ‘lightweight’ methodologies (the Crystal family) that were developed by Alistair Cockburn and sixteen other software engineers in 2001. The methods come from years of study and interviews of teams by Cockburn. Cockburn’s research showed that the teams he interviewed did not follow the formal methodologies yet they still delivered successful projects. The Crystal family is Cockburn’s way of cataloguing what they did that made the projects successful.  Based on 4 assumptions about people:
  1. People are communicating beings, doing best face-to-face, in person, with real-time question and answer. 
  2. People have trouble acting consistently over time. 
  3. People are highly variable, varying from day to day and place to place. 
  4. People generally want to be good citizens, are good at looking around, taking initiative, and doing ‘whatever is needed’ to get the project to work.
http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Crystal_Methods and http://www.significantdatasystems.com/ProjectManagement/Methodologies_Overview.html

Agile: Dynamic Systems Development Model (DSDM)

A software development methodology originally based upon the Rapid Application Development methodology. DSDM is an iterative and incremental approach that emphasizes continuous user involvement.
Its goal is to deliver software systems on time and on budget while adjusting for changing requirements along the development process. DSDM is one of a number of Agile methods for developing software, and it forms a part of the Agile Alliance.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Systems_Development_Method

Agile: Feature Driven Development (FDD)

Is an client-centric, architecture-centric, pragmatic, iterative and incremental software development process. It is one of a number of Agile methods for developing software and forms part of the Agile Alliance. FDD blends a number of industry-recognized best practices into a cohesive whole. These practices are all driven from a client-valued functionality (feature) perspective. Its main purpose is to deliver tangible, working software repeatedly in a timely manner.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feature_Driven_Development

Agile: Lean Development (LD)

Is a translation of lean manufacturing principles and practices to the software development domain. Adapted from the Toyota Production System, a pro-lean subculture is emerging from within the Agile community.  There are 12 principles of Lean Development: 
  1.   Satisfying the customer is the highest priority. 
  2.   Always provide the best value for the money. 
  3.   Success depends on active customer participation. 
  4.   Every LD project is a team effort. 
  5.   Everything is changeable. 
  6.   Domain, not point, solutions. 
  7.   Complete, don't construct. 
  8.   An 80 percent solution today instead of 100 percent solution tomorrow. 
  9.   Minimalism is essential. 
  10.  Needs determine technology  
  11.  Product growth is feature growth, not size growth. 
  12.  Never push LD beyond its limits.

Agile: Scrum

Is an iterative incremental framework for managing complex work (such as new product development) commonly used with agile software development.  Chickens & Pigs”, “process skeleton”, “Scrum Master”, “Product Owner”, “Team”, etc.    At the Daily Scrum all are welcome, but only key people can speak - the "pigs" - which are the team, the "scrum master" and the " Product Owner" who represents the stakeholders.  The meeting is 15-20 minutes long and happens - on time - at the same time and place each day.  During the meeting, each team member answers three questions:  What have you done since yesterday?

What are you planning to do by today?  Do you have any problems preventing you from accomplishing your goal? (It is the role of the Scrum Master to remember these impediments.)  Other formal meetings occur between "sprints" (Iterations to review the last sprint and plan the next.)http://www.significantdatasystems.com/ProjectManagement/Scrum.html

Critical Chain

Developed by Eliyahu Goldratt, Critical chain focuses on resources by keeping them 'levelly loaded' but asks that they be flexible and adaptable to changing start times to benefit the project schedule. Wikipedia Article on Critical Chain

Event Chain

From Wikipedia: "Event chain methodology is an uncertainty modeling and schedule network analysis technique that is focused on identifying and managing events and event chains that affect project schedules. Event chain methodology is the next advance beyond critical path method and critical chain project management." Wikipedia Article on Event Chain

Extreme Programming (XP)

XP is a deliberate and disciplined approach to software development. Risky projects with dynamic requirements are perfect for XP. These projects will experience greater success and developer productivity.  XP is a refreshing new approach. XP is successful because it emphasizes customer involvement and promotes team work.  http://www.extremeprogramming.org/rules.html


GEDPRO is a consulting company that has published an "Open Project Management Methodology" and provides templates that make it 'easy to manage projects'.

Here's hoping!

GEDPRO Overview
GEDPRO/Open Project Management Methodology


Developed by the Swiss government and based on the German V-Modell, HERMES is a 6 step 'concrete' process:
  1. Initialization,
  2. Pre-analysis,
  3. Concept/Evaluation,
  4. Realisation/Implementation,
  5. Deployment,
  6. Finaisation
Including two different project types (System development & System adaptation) that determine steps 3 and 4 (hence the "/" in the list above).
The HERMES Method

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

Is a set of concepts and policies for managing information technology (IT) infrastructure, development and operations.

ITIL is published in a series of books, each of which covers an IT management topic. The names ITIL and IT Infrastructure Library are registered trademarks of the United Kingdom's Office of Government Commerce (OGC). ITIL gives a detailed description of a number of important IT practices with comprehensive checklists, tasks and procedures that any IT organization can tailor to its needs.

The IT Service Management sets are:
  1. Service Delivery, 
  2. Service Support, 
  3. ICT Infrastructure Management, 
  4. Security Management, 
  5. The Business Perspective, 
  6. Application Management, 
  7. Software Asset Management  
  8. Planning to Implement Service Management,  
  9. ITIL Small-Scale Implementation

Integrated Master Plan/Integrated Master Schedule (IMP/IMS)

From PM Toolbox: "IMP/IMS is a project planning and controls paradigm that defines done not only in physical percent complete but also in the planned maturity of the deliverables."
PM Toolbox's IMP/IMS Reference

Iterative and Incremental

Developed in response to the weaknesses of the waterfall method, Iterative is characterized by loops (iterations) back through the core steps of the project to facilitate 'progressive elaboration' (peeling the layers of an onion) to work towards the needed deliverable(s). Wikipedia Article

Lewis Method

Author of "The Project Manager's Desk Reference", Dr. James P. Lewis has a 16 step methodology described as a 'logical path'. There are other versions of this methodology using fewer steps.

The full 16 steps are:
  1. Concept is Developed
  2. Develop a Problem, Vision, and Mission Statement
  3. Generate Alternative Project Strategies
  4. Select and Evaluate the Strategy
  5. Ask: Is the Evaluation OK?
  6. Develop an Implementation Plan
  7. Ask: Is the Plan OK for all Stakeholders?
  8. Signoff Project Plan and Setup a Project Notebook
  9. Execute the Plan
  10. Ask: Is Progress OK?
  11. Ask: Is the Definition OK?
  12. Ask: Is the Strategy OK?
  13. Ask: Is the Plan OK?
  14. Ask: Is all work complete?
  15. Conduct Lessons Learned Review
  16. Closeout Project
  The Lewis Method Introduction

Managing Successful Programs (MSP)

From the MSP website: "A methodology that comprises a set of principles and processes for use when managing a programme. A programme is made up of a specific set of projects identified by an organisation that together will deliver some defined objective, or set of objectives, for the organisation. The objectives, or goals, of the programme are typically at a strategic level so that the organisation can achieve benefits and improvements in its business operation."
MSP Website


A four phased life cycle approach (Initiation, Planning, Execution, Closure) each phase has several steps. What makes Method 123 stand out is that they have a software solution that provides templates, and "Everything you Need" to manage a project from end-to-end, making it more of a PMIS than just a methodology.   Method 123 Lifecycle


PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management, providing an easily tailored and scaleable project management methodology for the management of all types of projects. The method is the de-facto standard for project management in the UK and is practiced worldwide.  http://www.prince2.com/

Rapid Application Development (RAD)

A type of software development methodology which uses minimal planning in favor of rapid prototyping.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_application_development

Rational Unified Process (RUP-IBM)

Is an iterative software development process framework created by the Rational Software Corporation, a division of IBM since 2003. RUP is not a single concrete prescriptive process, but rather an adaptable process framework, intended to be tailored by the development organizations and software project teams that will select the elements of the process that are appropriate for their needs.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Rational_Unified_Process


The spiral model is a software development process combining elements of both design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top-down and bottom-up concepts. Also known as the spiral lifecycle model, it is a systems development method (SDM) used in information technology (IT). This model of development combines the features of the prototyping model and the waterfall model. The spiral model is intended for large, expensive and complicated projects.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_model

Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

In systems engineering and software engineering, is the process of creating or altering systems, and the models and methodologies that people use to develop these systems. The concept generally refers to computer or information systems.

In software engineering the SDLC concept underpins many kinds of software development methodologies. These methodologies form the framework for planning and controlling the creation of an information system[1]: the software development process. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Development_Life_Cycle

SDLC: Joint Application Development (JAD)

Is a process used in the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to collect business requirements while developing new information systems for a company. "The JAD process also includes approaches for enhancing user participation, expediting development, and improving the quality of specifications." It consists of a workshop where “knowledge workers and IT specialists meet, sometimes for several days, to define and review the business requirements for the system.[1]” The attendees include high level management officials who will ensure the product provides the needed reports and information at the end. This acts as “a management process which allows Corporate Information Services (IS) departments to work more effectively with users in a shorter time frame.[2]”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_application_design

SDLC: Waterfall

Also called the "traditional" model, was one of the first software methodologies adopted from manufacturing and construction. Called 'highly structured', 'stiff', 'unflexible', etc., the waterfall method is a linear, step-by-step methodology commonly used for projects where re-work or iterations are too costly or prohibited by time or other constraints. Marios Alexandrou Wikipedia


Self described as "The World Standard For New Product Development", Stage-Gate® appears to be a proprietary methodology, highlighted by:
  1. Assess (Idea-to-Launch Maturity)
  2. Implement (New Product Development, XPress, Technology Development)
  3. Improve (Lean and Advanced)

Sure Start Methodology: (Microsoft Solutions Framework)

Sure start is the methodology created by and for Microsoft's Dynamics suite of ERP solutions, including NAV, AX, GP, SL, CRM, etc. The methodology is similar to the Method123 offering in that it includes templates and a very structured approach, and is Microsoft's "official" ERP implementation methodology.

V-Modell (V Model)

Developed in Germany, the V Model is largely regarded as an extension of the waterfall method. The "V" in the name comes from the fact that the visual depitcion of the model is based on the "V" shape. The top left (starting point) of the "V" is Requirements Analysis, down to the bottom of the "V", Coding, then back up to the top right Acceptance Testing.
Wikipedia Article
PDF Overview
Here's a great link for V Model (Thanks Edmund Kiensat). Edmund also notes that the V Model is required for IT projects for the Federal Goverment in Germany: V Model In-Depth