When working on a project, you should consider the project management methodology that is best for the type of project you are planning. Project Management Methodology is a set of guidelines to plan and accomplish defined goals of a project. The two most popular schools of thought are Waterfall and Agile.
The waterfall method has been around since 1970. It’s what clients typically expect when they are working with a project manager. It’s a linear approach.
Agile methodologies were formally launched in 2001 and some have considered it to be the “best way to approach a project.” However, there isn’t necessarily one methodology that is better than the other. Each has their own pros and cons. It’s important to choose what works best for your project, team, and client.
The Waterfall Methodology
The waterfall model is a traditional approach to project management. It’s a set of linear tasks that are completed in a sequential order. This model requires you to finish each stage before starting the next one. Requirements are gathered before you plan an approach to the project. This plan, also called the “design,” is considered the “blueprint for the project.” After a plan has been developed, it’s handed down to the development team for implementation, then once complete, it’s verified that it meets all of the requirements defined in Phase 1. If the implementation meets the requirements, then it is deployed, even if modifications are needed.
The biggest disadvantage to the waterfall approach is that it’s nearly impossible to predict everything that is needed at the beginning of the project. During testing, new ideas or changes to the functionality may deviate from the original requirements. However, if the development meets the requirements defined in the first step, then it must be deployed before work on the new feature begins. At that point, they have to start over at the beginning of the waterfall — gather new requirements, come up with a plan, execute the plan, and then verify that the work meets the new set of requirements. This methodology is very rigid and doesn’t leave room for flexibility. The requirements must be defined in detail before any work is started and the plan should not be deviated after it’s been designed.
The Kanban Methodology
Agile project management is a relatively new methodology for running a project. It allows for more flexibility than the waterfall approach. There are several Agile project management methodologies. Some are geared towards a big project, some for product development, and some for services. While web development agencies build brand new websites, oftentimes they provide ongoing maintenance services. For services, Skvare prefers to use the Kanban methodology.
Kanban is an approach to project management that is helpful for developers who work on multiple projects or features simultaneously. It utilizes a “kanban board” to visualize the progress of a feature. Kanban cards are created and progress to different phases such as backlog, in progress, testing, done. The goal is to move the card to the done column and make sure the work in progress is limited.
Tasks do not need to be done in a linear fashion and allows for more flexibility in a project. After the task has been developed, the client will review the implementation and verify the job is complete. If it fails the test, then it moves back into the In Progress column. At this point, it’s possible that a new idea may come to fruition. If so, a new card is created and added to the backlog, then work may be started without fully completing the previous task. This helps get things done quicker. It makes the client happy by getting a feature they are satisfied with faster than the traditional waterfall method. However, since requirements are changing and new features are added on the fly, it makes it difficult to predict the timeline and budget of the overall project.
So Which is Better?
It’s best to choose a methodology that works for your team. In the waterfall model, requirement gathering is the most important phase of the project. It must clearly define when the project or feature is complete. This phase is typically done by an Account Manager and/or Project Manager. Since it’s nearly impossible to predict everything, often the overall timeline will need to be adjusted. With that being said, it’s best to use the waterfall methodology for smaller projects. The Kanban method is great for ongoing maintenance. It allows you to get more done and work on tasks as ideas arise. It is geared more to developers and allows different team members to work on different tasks at a time. For example, a developer may pick up a task from the backlog of Project A and start working on. When the task has moved to the testing/verification column, they can start working on a new task from Project B. Both methodologies have their own pros and cons. In general, waterfall is best for projects while Kanban is better suited for ongoing services.