In order for a project to be completed and delivered successfully, it needs to be managed well from the get-go.
Ultimately, the most effective way to do this is to implement project management techniques, especially when digital transformation is at play.
These techniques take into account the project as a whole and serve as your guide to completing your tasks on time and with the best possible results.
There are numerous ways that the project management process can be approached by project managers and their teams. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each technique offers something unique.
Let’s take a look at seven of the most popular project management techniques that can help take your project to the next level.
#1: Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
When you first view a project, regardless of its size, you may feel overwhelmed. There is so much that needs to be done to complete the project.
One of the most common reasons that projects take longer, cost more, and outright fail is because there is no structure to the work. There is no planning.
Project managers need to organize the work into considerably smaller and more manageable tasks, a process which is often referred to as work breakdown structure (WBS).
To use this project, you will create a graphic (or task map) with the final project at the top and then boxes below with individual tasks and so on to represent different stages of the project.
Basically, this allows you to view which tasks need to be completed when.
If there are certain tasks that rely on others, make sure this is represented in the graphic. It isn’t uncommon for some tasks to need to be completed before the next task(s) can even be started.
When implemented properly, WBS can make any project feel less overwhelming due to the organization and flow. It is much easier to view and complete smaller tasks than larger ones.
#2: Gantt Chart
A Gantt chart is yet another visual technique for project management.
It is beneficial to project managers because it displays the work that must be completed on certain days. It offers a quick way for project managers to determine the progress of the project.
Gantt charts are designed to help with the planning and scheduling of tasks, but they can also help you plan and schedule whole projects.
You can schedule the entire team’s work, plan out milestones, adjust schedules, and link task dependencies.
Dependent tasks are utilized when there are certain tasks that can not be started until the one before it has been successfully completed.
Tasks can be assigned to individual members and notifications can be automated to ensure everyone on the team is on the same page and aware of upcoming deadlines.
With a Gantt chart, you will be able to view the project’s start date and end date, individual project tasks, when each task should start and finish, which team member is working on each task, how long each task takes, milestones, and task dependencies.
#3: Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
Program evaluation and review technique (PERT, for short) is a special form of project management that aids in scheduling and working out time estimates for the project.
This particular technique works by breaking down all tasks into more detailed tasks through the use of WBS.
Then, these activities are added to a Gantt chart so that they can be identified as dependent. With this information, you can develop a visual map of the flow of tasks and their dependencies.
On this map, arrows are drawn from one task to the next based on the order that the tasks need to be completed.
A node is the representation of an event. In addition, the earliest and latest times are identified for each task, as well as the potential slack time for all tasks.
In other words, this project management technique will allow the input of the optimistic time of competition, the pessimistic time of completion, and the most likely time of completion, improving the overall accuracy of the timeline of all tasks.
This is considered one of the easiest and simplest project management techniques, and because of this, it is perfect for novice project managers.
However, it can be used by seasoned project managers as well.
Basically, the Kanban technique consists of creating three separate columns for your to-do list, your doing list, and your done list.
You and your team can then move tasks from one column to the next as they are completed, being worked on, or completed.
This technique is great if you don’t want to put a lot of stress on your team, but you want to ensure there is an emphasis placed on continuous delivery.
It allows team members to see exactly what needs to get done each day, helping to balance the overall workflow.
You can have a visual Kanban board, or you can opt to use a virtual one.
Either way, tasks are placed in the “to-do” column in the order of importance of necessity. Team members will begin on the first task in the lineup, and once it is completed, it is moved and the next task (aka card) is started.
Scrum is considered a project management technique that has an overview of the project that can be altered as needed throughout the project after evaluation of the results to a certain point.
It is a popular technique for agile projects.
This technique consists of a team working on individual tasks of a whole project for a pre-determined amount of time, which is often referred to as a sprint.
A specified feature or deliverable will be worked on during each sprint. These sprints tend to last no more than two weeks.
A “Scrum Master” will be in charge of project discussions, but the group, as a whole, will decide how to eliminate obstacles that may be hindering the completion of the project.
As a general rule, there are daily meetings for project status updates.
After each sprint is completed, a review meeting should be held with the entire team. At this time, it can be discussed what could have been done better so that the next sprint can be improved.
In the end, the Scrum method allows each and every project to be completed with maximum efficiency and results.
Further, this technique often allows for projects to be completed earlier than other traditional techniques, which is beneficial for companies who need to focus on speed-to-market.
#6: Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) works to implement agile projects at scale.
Because companies and projects can vary in both requirements and size, the SAFe technique has four different levels of organization, which include essential, large solution, portfolio, and full.
This particular technique works great for companies as they grow, since it allows teams to work more efficiently and productively by responding faster to the market condition changes, customer needs, and new technologies.
This technique has been shown to improve efficiency across the board.
This is likely due to the fact that teams are able to make quicker decisions, optimize operations, communicate better, and remain customer-centric.
#7: Critical Path Method (CPM)
This particular project management task is one that is used to help more accurately and efficiently schedule all tasks of a project.
Basically, the CPM is designed to calculate the shortest route to the completion of the project and then identify the placement of tasks.
Many project managers will combine CPM and PERT to identify three time estimates: shortest time, realistic time, and longest time.
First, you must identify the tasks that must be completed for the project.
Next, you will establish interdependencies. For instance, task B is unable to be completed until task A is finished.
Diagrams can be created for the different time estimates, and it is important for each task to have an estimated duration.
The Critical Path Method works well for teams that have complex projects that consist of a number of task dependencies.
It helps to monitor and control the tasks on the critical path to success, which can improve project delivery on time.
The project management technique that you choose will determine just how smoothly your project will go.
Each of the aforementioned methods has its pros and cons, depending on the size and type of project.
If you’re looking for more ways to increase your overall productivity and efficiency, consider implementing a Product Data Management (PDM)!