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Are PM Methodologies Really Necessary?

Posted on | September 30, 2010 | 10 Comments

Before we try to answer this question (not that it hasn’t been asked and answered before), let’s not get fixated on the term “methodology” and think outside the box for a moment.

A structured and organized way to manage projects, a basic set of guidelines, is the simplest way I have found to the term “methodology”. So, the question “are PM methodologies really necessary?” can be changed to “is a PM structure really necessary?” or “is a basic set of guidelines for PM really necessary?”.

How would we answer the question now? I hope it is with a “yes”.

A structured, basic set of guidelines, or methodology (however you want to call it from now on) provide:

• Best practices – A collection of past project experiences in the organization (or industry) are put together to ensure future projects go the best traveled road

• A repeatable process – Can be repeated, most of the time, in future projects

• Common language – All involved will speak the same terminology and everyone will understand it

• Reusable templates and tools – Templates and tools can be reused in future projects

• Set expectation from team – The project team already know what is the minimum expected

A methodology has to adapt to the way the organization works and not the other way around. Where we have to be extremely careful is in making sure that this methodology is dynamic and not static. Remember, all projects are unique. This does not mean that the methodology has to be unique for every project. It does mean that the methodology has to be flexible enough to be adapted to the uniqueness of each project.

Let’s face it, most would argue in favor of some level of structure for projects to be performed more efficiently, but this need is soon rejected when bureaucracy and limitations are put in place instead. Don’t you think so…? Well, I do.

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10 Responses to “Are PM Methodologies Really Necessary?”

  1. Aaron Pankonin
    October 1st, 2010 @ 9:35 am

    Is it necessary? No.
    Will it increase chances for your project’s success? Yes.

    There are a lot of bad projects out there and there is a lot of resistance to follow the PMI structure. Most practioners fight this daily.

  2. Teaman
    October 4th, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

    Does it REALLY increase the probability of success????? Can’t a project have a low likelihood of success regardless of whether or not a PM Methodology is used? Can’t projects succeed even without a PM Methodology?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a proponent of PM Methodologies. Being an advocate I intrinsically believe it helps, but that is a lot different than being able to “prove” it will increase chances for success.

  3. Sanjiv Shirodkar
    October 6th, 2010 @ 6:22 am

    Project Management is all about completing a project with minimum variance on the Time, Money and Quality axis. Any approach that helps minimise this variance will be considered necessary because we all have limited resources.

    PM Methodologies are like office bags. Does one need them? Not really. But if you adopt one it spares you from the daily trouble of getting organised and helps in keeping your keys, icards, credit cards etc together.

  4. Brian OC
    October 19th, 2010 @ 9:13 am

    Great supposition – I’d argue that successful projects are delivered using 90% common sense & experience, 5% structured admin and 5% luck anyway !!

  5. parallel project management
    November 27th, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

    Will a structured approach help. Yes a common structure can offer all the benefits you describe but successful projects are delivered by people not processes.

  6. Andrew Lees
    December 6th, 2010 @ 8:37 am

    Project management methodologies provide enormous benefit for projects after the fact.

    Project management is about lessons and learning from them, even in a successful project, things could always been done better or in a different way and the more projects that are run and the more lessons learned are captured the more efficiently and more easily the chosen project management methodology can be adapted to the environment, and projects can be more efficiently delivered going forward. Without a structured approach the discipline of capturing these lessons and the tools to capture these lessons are not present or overlooked.

  7. upravljanje projektima
    April 15th, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    I agree with Aaron.

    “Is it necessary? No.
    Will it increase chances for your project’s success? Yes.”

    So, I always use it.

  8. Executive Coach
    April 22nd, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

    The major reason there needs to be a methodology is for the communication. You hit the nail on the head when you said, “Common language – All involved will speak the same terminology and everyone will understand it”

    Whether people realize it or not, you have to have a method to get anything done. You need to be able to communicate with your team. It is the method/procedure that allows us to talk the same and get things done.

  9. TAFE
    January 26th, 2012 @ 9:01 am

    Only if they are followed in spirit to improve the efficiency of the project. One should evaluate whether PM is relevant and necessary for his or her project especially smaller projects.

  10. Teresita
    January 23rd, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

    “Are PM Methodologies Really Necessary? -” ended up being
    a pretty pleasant post, . Keep composing and I am going to keep reading!
    Many thanks -Jenna

    Feel free to surf to my web-site Teresita

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