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Getting a Master's Degree in Project Management: To Do or Not To Do
Leadership 10 min read

Getting a Master's Degree in Project Management: To Do or Not To Do

If you run a Google search for "Master's Degree in Project Management" you will get over 3 million results for schools across the US and around the world. Granted, those results are not solely listings for schools offering programs, but still — scary. If you try to narrow down your search results by going to a site like gradschools.com and filtering by "Business & MBA" and "Project Management" tags you will still get 327 results. Better, but not exactly a walk in the park. Finding the right program is a big venture. There are two questions you really need to ask yourself before you go hunting: (1) Is a Master's in Project Management (MPM) what you really want? Would you prefer alternatives routes, such as your MBA or PMP certification? (2) And if you do decide on the MPM, what are your personal requirements when choosing a program? Want a better project management tool that your team will actually use? Start your free Wrike trial today! The Great "Project Management Degree" Debate There are conflicting views about whether getting a Master's degree in Project Management is worth the time and money. According to a US News article, 43% of project managers in the US have only a Bachelor's degree. If you follow The Great Project Management Degree Debate, you'll know there are varied opinions on the value of the degree at all. Some people say get the Master's in Project Management, some people say go for a general MBA, some people suggest alternative certificates (e.g. PMP) instead — and then there are others who say don't bother with any of them since experience beats all degrees. Confused yet? We browsed through forums and articles and tried to gather a consensus on whether or not people in the field think you should get your Master's in Project Management: The Pros & Cons of a Master's in Project Management Pros: 1. Employability "Through teaching an MPM program at a local university for the past five years, I wholly believe that the students that have come through this program are much more employable once they have completed the program." — JD McKenna, Project Manager, USA "I have my Masters of Project Management and this qualification stands out in my CV when applying for great jobs. I know lots of guys with MBAs who are still in lower management positions. A Master's in this great field is definitely sought after and sticks out more than an MBA." — Anonymous, USA "My recommendation falls someplace in the middle. I would recommend that you get a Master's in Project Management [focused on] your field of expertise or interest." — Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, Project Manager, Indonesia   2. More Informed Execution  "I am now in a PM role (with certification) and I definitely think the MPM has helped me understand with more clarity why we do things the way we do and has certainly helped communicate [decisions].... The MPM is really interesting. You get to meet a range of other students with other PM experiences that you learn from and it is challenging and I think personally rewarding." — Anonymous "I hold both an MBA and an MPM degree. I disagree that these two degrees are essentially the same. My bottom line answer is: advanced learning never hurts, so go for the degree. It may not guarantee you your next job. But it should definitely help you when it comes to executing in that job." — Dave Violette, Program Manager, USA "For those going through a Master's program who have already had more than a few years of work experience, PMP certification, and specific large or complex project management experiences, the MS in Project Management will likely have far more meaning to employers and ROI to you - not just financial ROI, but the ability to get the most out of curriculum.... A Master's in Project Management would be an excellent addition to the journey." — Mark Price Perry, VP of Customer Care, USA Cons: 1. Experience and Accomplishments Count More "Good project managers become such by practicing and continuous self improvement. Yes, they need to know the theory, but professionalism comes from applying, adapting and improving it. For that reason I don't think one-off long theoretical study is what would bring you to the next level." — Stan Yanakiev, IT Project Manager, Bulgaria "The qualification has not really helped me at all in getting a job, its only in combination with experience (how do you get that initially) or certification.... As a way to further your career, I am not convinced that the MPM has quite the aaahhh factor that we would like as recognition of our efforts." — Anonymous "I would look dubiously on a PM candidate that has a Master's in PM but no experience. Advanced degrees are more meaningful after you have been in the field." — Mark Price Perry, VP of Customer Care, USA "I would value experience over master's level certification. I would recommend that you look at practitioner-based courses as well. You can take PRINCE2 without any prior experience, and it will be cheaper than a Master's." — Elizabeth Harrin, Director of the OTOBOS Group, U.K. "I liken project management to riding a bike, you can read as many books on the subject as you like, but until you get on and actually ride a bike you know only the theory and not the practice.... As a hirer of project managers I look for experience, then certification, and finally qualifications. Even for trainees I look not necessarily for project management experience but they should at least have participated as team members in a project environment as this environment is completely unlike a normal operational environment." — Julie Goff, Australia 2. MBA is More Widely Recognized "Experience and accomplishments count more than a degree in Project Management. So I would recommend that you complete your MBA first. If Project Management is a module that's good, but for a major, choose something like Finance, Marketing, Supply chain Management, or IT Management." — Satnam Bansal, Business Manager, USA "I found that project management courses in universities are normally aimed at the construction industry. So all the work examples were for building something. An MBA is more widely recognised than a PM masters and assures the business people you can understand where they are coming from." — Julie Goff, Australia (again) 3. More Important is a Positive, Strong Character  "Allow me to add another attribute which, I believe, is more important than experience and certification. The job of a project manager is very dynamic and will require him to handle all sorts of situations; in other words, a project manager is a problem solver by nature. Due to this, a project manager needs to have a positive and strong character to carry the pressure in his job." — Wai Mun Koo, PMO Director, Singapore Other Factors to Consider When Selecting a Program If you went through a long, strenuous, detailed process when applying for your bachelor's program, consider this: graduate school is typically even more competitive. Before you decide which program to select, you need to figure out the potential ROI for completing your Master's degree. Do some long-term planning and roadmap the next five to 10 years of your career. You may be wondering: what can I do with a project management certification? Will a Master's degree help you reach the end of your 10-year plan? What do you hope to gain from the degree? Would you be better off with an MBA or PMP certificate to accomplish your 10-year plan? After collecting advice from forums and articles, here are a few factors you should consider when applying for programs: MPM vs. MBA vs. PMP While we were surfing through the discussion forums based around whether or not to get a Master's in Project Management, we saw a lot of strong business leaders calling for people to get their MBA or PMP certificate instead. Consider all your options; in fact, most people recommended a combination of two or all three. MPM vs. MBA — Both degrees have long-lasting value and show dedication to your craft. MPM is a great choice for people who want to dig into the details and nuances of being a project manager, while MBA is the path you should take if you want to go into higher levels of management that require a wider berth of business knowledge, big-picture mindsets, and the language that comes along with being an Executive. MPM vs. PMP — Both are great for people who want to be better project managers. MPM is a great choice for people who want to stay in project management roles for the next decade. If you don't plan to stay in project management forever, or you want to put off getting a full-blown degree, perhaps PMP certification is enough to give you the knowledge you need for the next 3-5 years of your career. Online or Onsite With the advent of the internet, more and more universities are offering programs online. If you want access to a specific university's resources without the hassle of moving across the country or across the world, consider an online degree. Just remember that you'll lose the great libraries, convenient walk-in access to office hours, and so-bad-it's-good campus food. General or Specialized Some Master's programs give you a general knowledge of project management and all that it entails. Other programs are industry-specific: construction, IT, etc. If you know what field you'll be working in, and you plan to stay in that field long-term, a specialized Master's program might be a better fit. Another tip: some programs offer general MPM programs, but many of their class offerings are industry-focused. Research the course offerings before committing to a program. Theory or Hands-on With the wide assortment of MPM offerings, some universities are theory-based (e.g. write an essay, a term-paper, a detailed thesis), and some are hands-on learning (e.g. create project plans, develop project schedules, learn to track budgets). Don't settle on the first program you find — or the first program that accepts you — make sure they're offering the type of education that suits your goals. Is Higher Education right for you? A Master's in Project Management can be a great asset, or a great waste of time and money. Do your research, read program reviews, and get feedback from your peers before committing to a new degree. At the end of the day, the decision is in your hands, but you don't have to make the decision alone. What made you finally decide to go for your MPM degree or vote against it? Give us your feedback and help out other project managers with your personal recommendations. Sources: http://www.projectmanagement.com/discussion-topic/16656/Should-I-study-a-masters-in-Project-Management http://www.projectmanagement.com/discussion-topic/18467/Need-Advise---Masters-in-Project-management http://www.projectmanagement.com/discussion-topic/6357/Value-of-Master-of-Science-in-Project-Management http://projectmanagement.ittoolbox.com/groups/career/projectmanagement-career/is-swapping-mba-for-ms-project-management-worth-it-5479871 http://www.projectmanagement.com/discussion-topic/19985/Is-the-PMP-a-better-investment-than-the-MBA-

Agile Certification Options for Software Developers
Project Management 5 min read

Agile Certification Options for Software Developers

Why pursue Agile certification? Perhaps your employer is requesting it, or you'd like to pump up your resume. Maybe you just want to learn more, or you're getting ready to join an Agile development team.  Whatever the case may be, it's important to note that you don't necessarily need a certification to thrive on an Agile team. After all, credentials alone don't make great programmers, project managers, or Agile practitioners — knowledge, skill, and experience do. But if you're interested in delving deeper into the Agile methodology, learning some high-level applications, and boosting your resume at the same time, certification might be for you. Here's a list of widely recognized organizations offering certification in Agile and its offshoots, Scrum and XP: Agile Agile Certification InstituteTake an exam to prove your Agile expertise and earn one of ACI's 6 professional certifications, including Accredited Agile Practitioner, Accredited Kanban Practitioner, and Accredited Lean Software Development Practitioner.Details: No training necessary; pass the exams and you're certified. You must earn 45 knowledge points every 4 years to maintain certification. International Consortium for AgileChoose from certifications in Agile Programming, Agile Software Design, and Agile Development. Training courses teach participants how to design, develop, and test software while embracing Agile principles like collaboration and adaption to change. In total, ICA offers 13 "Professional" certifications, 8 "Expert" certifications, and 1 "Master" certification (Read the full list of course options).Details: ICA courses typically involve 2-3 days of instruction. Scaled Agile Academy5 certification options, including a two-day Agile Practitioner course that teaches developers to apply Scrum, Lean, and XP-inspired practices to large-scale, Enterprise-level projects.Pre-requisites: 1+ years of experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product management, or project management. Scrum Scrum AllianceLearn the ins-and-outs of Scrum, Scrum software, and the developer's role on the team with the Certified Scrum Developer and certified Scrum product owner program. Take at least five days of formal training from Scrum Alliance REPs, then take the exam to earn certification. (CSD track course list.)Details: Certification is good for two years. Full requirements. Scrum.orgThe 3-day Professional Scrum Developer course sorts students into teams and takes them through the Scrum process, from Scrum tools to completing a sprint to developing software in increments.Prerequisites: Must have studied the Scrum Guide and passed the free Developer and Scrum assessments through Scrum.org's website. Must also have experience with Java and .NET. (Full requirements) International Scrum InstituteComplete their Online Scrum Training Program and take a 50-question, multiple-choice exam to earn the Accredited Scrum Team Member certification.Details: No renewals are required to maintain certification.  ScrumStudy6 certification options, including Scrum Developer Certified. This entry-level certification is designed to teach participants the basics of Scrum so they can fully contribute to their projects and teams.Maintenance: Need to earn 25 re-certification credits every 2 years. Extreme Programming (XP) Agile FAQsThe Extreme Week course is a 5-day workshop for development teams who want intensive, hands-on training in XP. Teams will learn how to self-organize, adapt their designs to changing requirements, and make their development process more efficient.Details: The course is delivered to the team online, so a projector & screen are required, along with a designated space for the team to work together. (Full requirements) ASPE SDLC TrainingThe three-day Extreme Programming Workshop teaches participants the essentials of XP and how to implement it. A combination of lecture and hands-on activities helps teams complete planning, development, and testing for a real software project.Details: Since these labs include live coding, some experience with Java or a similar object-oriented language is required to complete the project. Industrial LogicThe 4-day Extreme Programming Workshop teaches participants core Agile principles, including evolutionary design, customer stories, and development tools and strategies.Details: You’ll need a projector, screen, reliable high-speed internet access, and workstations for your team. (Full requirements) If you hold an Agile certification, hit the comments to tell us about your experience! What courses do you suggest? 

The 7 Wastes that Cripple Knowledge Workers (Video)
Project Management 3 min read

The 7 Wastes that Cripple Knowledge Workers (Video)

Everybody loves a good sequel! The second installment of our Lean video series is here, with all new lessons and 100% more explosions. Okay, not really... but our productivity coach Errette Dunn is back with some dynamite tips to make your daily work more efficient. Watch the video to learn: • How to identify the 7 wastes dragging knowledge workers down • How to cut common wastes and get more done every day • The two essential questions you need to answer to get the most value out of your work Bust through your productivity roadblocks by hitting ‘play’ now!   Like this video? Download the PDF guide with a summary of the 7 wastes and share it with your team! More helpful videos are on their way, so subscribe to the Wrike blog RSS feed and never miss a new release! Also Watch: • Product Development Tips from the Wright Brothers (Video)

What Is Swarming in Agile and How Can It Boost Productivity?
Project Management 5 min read

What Is Swarming in Agile and How Can It Boost Productivity?

For Agile teams, flexibility is the name of the game. Team members are always prepared to change focus or alter their working style to achieve the best results for their project. And this flexibility works in their favor — the 2018 Standish Group Chaos Study results showed that Agile projects are statistically twice as likely to succeed than Waterfall projects. Agile methodologies, tools, and processes have seen a significant boost in organizations worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic, with adoption doubling in non-IT teams between 2020 and 2021.  Agile’s flexibility and adaptability have proven crucial to modern project management, so it can feel odd to imagine Agile teams focusing their sole attention on one task. But that’s exactly what a new concept, swarming in Agile, does — and it can prove essential in managing fast-moving projects. In this article, we’ll explore the swarming Agile definition, examples of how to succeed with swarming, and the advantages and disadvantages of this technique.  What is swarming in Agile? Let’s start off with a swarming Agile definition. Agile swarming takes place when multiple team members with available time and appropriate skill sets all direct their attention to work together on one feature or user story, i.e., they swarm the task until it is complete. The goal is to deliver high-quality results quickly by directing all available people power until the feature is up to scratch. Agile swarming is a very useful technique for fast-moving projects, as targets of swarming can be finished quickly before smoothly moving on to the next priority. Kanban teams are especially likely to use swarming, as it helps them ensure workflows are continuous and maintain Work-in-Progress (WIP) limits. Swarming is also closely linked to Scrum. Evaluating the tasks in their team’s sprint backlog and swarming a top priority item is a skill that most Scrum teams will be used to applying to their projects. Example of an Agile swarming scenario To visualize how swarming in Agile works, let’s take an example where it could be used. Imagine a large organization that has suffered an IT systems failure that affects most of its departments. The IT team needs to focus on fixing the problem to get the system back up and running for the rest of the business. Swarming enables teams to engage in cross-functional collaboration, meaning that every team member can play to their strengths to get the issue fixed as soon as possible.  In this scenario, that may look like the marketing team engaging with IT to get regular updates on the situation to relay to the business’s website and social media visitors. Those in sales may work with IT to reschedule their calls and meetings with clients or use an alternative system to engage with them. Employees in other departments will redirect their usual queries and tasks away from IT, allowing them to focus fully on fixing the issue at hand. In this way, swarming allows the entire organization to band together, getting tasks done quickly and efficiently.  Advantages of swarming in Agile So, what are some of the advantages of swarming in Agile?  Time-saving: The most obvious advantage of swarming is that it saves valuable time for Agile teams. When multiple team members are involved in completing the same task, it reduces the potential for reworks and edits down the line. Encourages collaboration: If your teams have been struggling to work cross-functionally, swarming may be a great exercise in encouraging them to collaborate effectively. Workers come together from various backgrounds to work on a common goal, allowing each team member to gain an insight into the others’ way of working.  Increased quality: Having workers from many different teams reviewing work means that the target of your swarm will be of higher quality than if just one person was proofing the final result. Potential challenges of swarming in Agile However, as with any approach to project management, there are potential disadvantages to swarming in Agile. These could include: Disorganization: The saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” can often apply to swarming in Agile. If there are too many team members multitasking at once, processes can get messy, and the overall project may become derailed due to a lack of organization.  Potential for conflict: With so many people from different teams suddenly forced to work together, it’s natural that conflict may arise when working with swarming. Managers should be aware of this and be ready to act if and when conflict occurs. Not suitable for every task: Swarming is a great method for overall goal-oriented work, like an entirely new user story. But swarming is not a suitable method for every single task in a project’s life cycle. Resources should be better dispersed and teams should keep in mind that staying goal-focused, not task-focused, is the key to swarming success. How to succeed in Agile swarming with Wrike Wondering how your work management platform can help with swarming in your organization? An all-in-one solution like Wrike can be invaluable in bringing a fast-moving project to completion. Wrike offers: Agile templates, including sprint planning and Kanban projects, so that your team can hit the ground running with every new project Unified communication tools, including @mentions and over 400 app integrations, for your team to update and collaborate instantly 360° visibility, including team dashboards and shared calendars, so that your team can see exactly where your efforts are needed and prioritize with ease Interested? Try Wrike for yourself with a two-week free trial.

The Project Manager Shortage is Coming: 3 Ways to Prepare
Project Management 5 min read

The Project Manager Shortage is Coming: 3 Ways to Prepare

  Have you told your project manager how much you appreciate them lately? You probably should, because in a few years, you might not have one at all. Experienced project managers are in higher demand than ever. As the economy continues to recover, organizations worldwide will need to take advantage of this growth with projects that successfully support their strategic goals. But with the increasing shortage of experienced project managers, the very people companies rely on for project success will be the most difficult to find. Almost 90% of respondents to an ESI survey said it was either "very difficult" or "somewhat difficult" to find qualified project managers for hire — and it's only going to get worse. The PM Shortage is Coming The Project Management Institute (PMI) reports that 60% of its members are age 40 or older, and 30% of project managers are projected to leave the workforce by 2018. They'll leave a huge gap in their wake: according to PMI, the shortage of experienced project managers will reach "critical levels" as early as 2016. That’s right around the corner! Get ready: Develop a culture of knowledge sharing and/or mentoring in your company to help junior project managers learn from their more experienced peers. And if your company is one of the almost two-thirds of businesses that hire temporary project management consultants, give your internal team the tools to capture that knowledge to guide future initiatives. PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2014 report shows that organizations with effective knowledge sharing in place have a 70% success rate for strategic initiatives, compared to a 45% success rate for organizations without it. Find a collaboration tool that will help your project team and managers (whether internal or external) share knowledge, learn from one another, and improve their capabilities. Ongoing Training is Essential Your junior and mid-level project managers may be qualified PMPs with impressive education and credentials, but they may not have the extensive experience it takes to manage increasingly complex, ambitious projects. And with the landscape constantly shifting to embrace a new methodology or project management application, they need to stay on top of the latest trends. You can bet your competitors are. Most companies haven't put enough of a focus on training and development in recent years, and although the economy is rebounding, budgets are still tight enough that devoting funds to training hasn’t been a top priority. But that’s starting to change. This ESI survey shows that companies offering training see an ROI of 501% for entry level project managers, 268% for mid-level, and 358% for senior-level. Get ready: Start a training program now. Helping your project managers gain more experience and certifications will put your company in a better position once the shortage hits, since you’ll be able to draw on your own internal talent rather than resorting to combing the classifieds. And don't just focus on traditional project management skills like risk analysis and project planning — consider where do project managers work best in your organisation. Soft skills like communication, cultural intelligence, virtual collaboration, and servant leadership are becoming increasingly valuable and key to project success. Projects are Becoming More Complex As the economy improves, the number of projects companies are undertaking is growing — but on top of that, projects are also becoming increasingly complex. They involve a larger team, distributed offices and workers, external departments and partners, and multiple stakeholders. And with a significant majority of experienced project managers leaving the workforce, junior project managers won't have the experience they need to confidently navigate these projects. Get ready: Give junior project managers a variety of smaller projects to help them expand their skill sets, learn how to work with different types of teams, and successfully complete all kinds of projects. As your company grows, you need your project managers to grow with it and be able to take on different types of work and more complicated initiatives. If you've noticed the impending project manager shortage, what has your company done to prepare? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

What Is a PERT Chart in Project Management?
Project Management 7 min read

What Is a PERT Chart in Project Management?

What is a PERT chart? Get an overview of PERT chart advantages, disadvantages and examples — plus how to make PERT charts work for your project.

PMP Certification? Use this List of Helpful PMBOK Guide Resources
Project Management 5 min read

PMP Certification? Use this List of Helpful PMBOK Guide Resources

Want to prepare yourself for a Project Management Professional certification (PMP certification) exam? First things first: PMBOK stands for "Project Management Body Of Knowledge." The definition of what PMBOK means, directly from the 1st (1996) Edition of the PMBOK Guide, is as follows: "all those topics, subject areas and intellectual process which are involved in the application of sound management principles to... projects." The PMBOK is an abstract idea meant to encompass all the knowledge project managers around the world use to successfully manage projects. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has published five editions of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, more commonly known as the PMBOK Guide. The most recent version came out in 2013. Some people mistakenly refer to the PMBOK Guide as the embodiment of the general PMBOK. This guide does not contain everything in the PMBOK — you can never hope to capture everything worth knowing in one document — but it's a great place to start. It covers the context in which projects operate along with detailed processes for running projects, and it has been collaboratively compiled by many studied project managers. The PMBOK Guide is a lengthy resource, coming in at just under 600 pages. As such, there are many, many guides to the guide. We went through what Google had to offer and sorted out some good starting places if you're just getting your hands on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge for the first time. These resources will help you understand PMBOK, the PMBOK Guide, and how it differs from its biggest rival: PRINCE2. 17 PMBOK Learning Resources PMBOK, THE ABSTRACT IDEA What is officially considered a part of the PMBOK? PMI published an overview of the PMBOK standard materials. PMI's Learning Center includes many PMBOK resources. OVERVIEWS OF THE ENTIRE PMBOK GUIDE Here's what's new in the 5th edition, according to PMI: • A 10th Knowledge Area has been added; Project Stakeholder Management expands upon the importance of appropriately engaging project stakeholders in key decisions and activities. • Four new planning processes have been added: Plan Scope Management, Plan Schedule Management, Plan Cost Management and Plan Stakeholder Management. These were created to reinforce the concept that each subsidiary plan is integrated with the overall project management plan. Haven't purchased the PMBOK Guide yet? You can buy it on PMI's website. If you're looking for a general overview of the PMBOK Guide, check out the Wikipedia page:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Guide_to_the_Project_Management_Body_of_Knowledge Don't trust Wikipedia? Here's another overview of the guide (which happens to be very similar to the Wikipedia page):http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/pmbok.php Another overview of the PMBOK Guide with a slightly different breakdown:http://edward-designer.com/web/introduction-to-pmbok-guide-knowledge-areas-processes-process-groups/ PMBOK GUIDE 5TH EDITION VIDEO More of an audio learner? Check out this overview video from IIL describing the differences found in the 5th edition of the PMBOK Guide:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYaTMBMqWxU 5 PROCESS GROUPS IN THE PMBOK GUIDE Good overview of the 5 Process Groups (skip the top section and go straight to the bottom of this page):http://www.itinfo.am/eng/project-management-body-of-knowledge-pmbok-guide/ Free management eBook covering each of the PMBOK Guide's 5 Process Groups (download link above the social sharing buttons):http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/faqpm/principles-16.htm A presentation on the PMBOK approach based on the 5 Process Groups:http://www.itbusinessedge.com/slideshows/show.aspx?c=78357 10 KNOWLEDGE AREAS IN THE PMBOK GUIDE Browse the content within the 10 Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK Guide:http://standardmethod.net/browse.html#/process Free management eBooks covering each of the PMBOK Guide's 10 Knowledge Areas (click the eBook images at the bottom to go to the downloads page):http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/faqpm/principles-17.htm MORE TOPICS FROM THE PMBOK GUIDE A table showing you how the Process Groups and Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK Guide work together. (Skip the top table and look at the second table.) Process Groups are along the top, Knowledge Areas are down the left:http://www.tensteppm.com/open/A6.1CompareTStoPMBOK.html The PMBOK Guide's take on Work Breakdown Structure:https://www.workbreakdownstructure.com/work-breakdown-structure-according-to-pmbok.php PMBOK GUIDE vs. PRINCE2PRINCE2 is another widely-followed approach to project management, and thus, considered to be the biggest competitor to the PMBOK Guide. A side-by-side comparison of the PMBOK Guide vs. PRINCE2 :http://www.ppi-int.com/prince2/prince2-pmbok-relationship.php A paper comparing the PMBOK Guide and PRINCE2 project management. It comes to the conclusion that the two are not comparable as they serve different purposes:http://www.maxwideman.com/papers/comparing/comparing.pdf Article about how PRINCE2 can be complimentary to the PMBOK Guide:http://www.corpedgroup.com/resources/pm/HowPrince2CanComplement.asp After going through this list of resources, you should feel comfortable with PMBOK and how the PMBOK Guide is organized. If you've done additional research on the topic, please add other articles or books you found helpful to the comments below!

Product Development Tips from the Wright Brothers (Video)
Leadership 3 min read

Product Development Tips from the Wright Brothers (Video)

Roll out the red carpet! Pop the popcorn! Dim the lights! We’re premiering the first in a series of videos on Lean methodology, featuring your very own productivity coach, Errette Dunn. This first video applies Lean principles to the product development process, taking examples from the history of flight and the Wright brothers’ amazing success. You’ll learn: how to shake up your process for better results the most important first step for every stage to watch for costly assumptions that could trip you up Make your product development process more efficient, the Wright way. Hit ‘play’ now!  Like this video? Share it with your friends and colleagues!  The second installment of our video series is coming soon, so keep checking the Wrike blog — or better yet, subscribe to our YouTube channel! Related Articles: 5 Lessons in Lean Product Development from the Wright Brothers (Infographic) Startups Should Lean on Lean Project Management

18 Top Project Management Methodologies (Infographic)
Project Management 3 min read

18 Top Project Management Methodologies (Infographic)

Have you been following our Project Management Basics series? In our Quick Start-Guide to Methodologies, we cover various project management approaches. We've also distilled the essentials and created an infographic that's easy to reference and share with colleagues. Without further ado, here's the infographic to help you run your team and improve your project management experience: Embed the infographic on your site using this code: Wrike Social Project Management Software For more on project management methodologies and other PM basics, check out our Ultimate Guide to Project Management.

The 4 Values and 12 Principles of Agile Project Management
Project Management 10 min read

The 4 Values and 12 Principles of Agile Project Management

When embarking on a new project at work, it’s important to have a structure in place to guide your project to success. A plan is important, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. Luckily, there are lots of tried and tested approaches to project management out there for you to choose from — these are called methodologies, and many are grouped into different families for organizations to use.  Agile methodologies are some of the most popular approaches to project management, and if you’re wondering why, the clue is in the name — Agile methodologies allow project managers to be nimble and flexible, adapt to challenges as they arise, and pivot quickly to the most successful way of working.  There’s a lot to understand about Agile project management to use it effectively in your organization. In this piece, we’ll cover what Agile is, the fundamental Agile values and principles, and how to incorporate the principles of Agile into your next project. What is Agile project management? First off, what is Agile project management? Simply put, it is a way of approaching project management that uses Agile values and principles to pave the way for project success. Agile uses a set of four values and 12 principles to guide project managers in their own work.  These Agile values and principles were first developed and set out in a charter known as the Agile manifesto, which was written in 2001 at a gathering of developers and programming professionals. The Agile manifesto was created to find a solution to older project management methodologies and processes that were seen as unworkable for modern projects. The Agile manifesto had 17 signatories, who went on to be known as the Agile Alliance. Once the manifesto was released, the Alliance grew to eventually have more than 72,000 members worldwide, who all embrace the values and principles of Agile project management in their daily work.  So, what kind of projects can be managed using Agile? Although it was originally developed for programming projects specifically, Agile lived up to its name and was able to be adapted for many different projects across a variety of industries. Agile is a flexible option for projects and allows goals to be changed without impacting the overall success of the project. This flexibility means that Agile is suitable for teams who like to move fast, without too many limitations or deadlines. If your team is consistent with its communication and enjoys less structure and more adaptability, Agile could be for you. But what are the core values and principles that make up the Agile methodology? Let’s explore each of them in detail. What are the four values of Agile? First off, let’s explore the Agile values. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools This is a cornerstone of Agile project management — favoring communication and interpersonal relationships over strict processes. Agile advises a more personalized approach to project management, where teams constantly communicate, rather than relying on more stagnant scheduled updates. Working software over comprehensive documentation Agile teams are not big fans of paperwork. They would rather utilize more flexible software solutions to manage their data, reports, and status updates than traditional documentation. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Agile teams love collaboration, and that includes regularly updating and liaising with customers and stakeholders to get their input on how the project is progressing. Lengthy contracts with lots of revisions are part of the documentation that Agile teams prefer to move away from. Responding to change over following a plan Finally, we have the value that characterizes Agile project management above all else. Agile teams are responsive to change and thrive off adapting to new environments and challenges. These values inform every process and task that is done under the Agile umbrella. But what are the 12 principles, which delve further into what makes Agile so unique? What are the 12 principles of Agile? You may notice that many of Agile’s principles relate specifically to software development. As this was the background of many members of the original Agile Alliance, it was a strong focus for the Agile manifesto. However, these principles are still applicable to projects in other areas and industries — let’s take a closer look at how. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software Agile teams place their customers’ happiness first and foremost and prioritize delivering results at regular intervals, rather than have them wait for one final reveal at the end of the process. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage Agile teams are ready and able to tackle changes, even at the last minute. This gives them an advantage over more traditional teams, who may not take to change management so easily. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale Again, we note that Agile teams are all about regular and consistent communication, rather than scheduled updates that may be too far apart to be workable for clients. Scrum teams, which fall under the Agile umbrella, break their workloads down into one to four week-long timelines, known as sprints. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project Collaboration is key in Agile, not just between team members, but with stakeholders, developers, customers, and other relevant parties. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job doneAgile teams are successful because they make sure to structure their team with the right people for the project. Once your team members have the support, collaboration, and tools they need to succeed, the rest will follow. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation We can all admit that there is no substitute for in-person collaboration when it comes to project management. But this principle is also applicable in our ‘new normal’ of hybrid and remote working models. Zoom and Teams are a great alternative to phone calls and email, and teams can also make the effort to meet in person for key points of progression throughout the project. Working software is the primary measure of progress This principle cites software as its main deliverable, but its message endures — your focus as a team should always be to deliver the best quality result to your customers as possible. If they are satisfied, then that is the strongest indicator of your project’s success. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely This can be a difficult task for many teams, who may come out of the gate with a burst of quick progress, before falling to a slower pace for the rest of the project. Agile teams must ensure that their working pace is consistent throughout the project. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility Agile is not a ‘one and done’ approach to project management. Every new project offers the opportunity for innovation and to create something new — not to keep rehashing the same ideas. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential Agile teams do not get bogged down in overcomplication — they meet their requirements, do their jobs well, and move on to the next project. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams The best teams are those with a leader who is not afraid to let them shine. Micro-managing rarely makes any team better or more productive, and Agile teams are great examples of what can happen when this is not the case. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly Continuous improvement is the name of the game in Agile, and regular performance reviews of the team as a whole can help to break unhelpful habits and lead to more success. How to implement Agile values and principles into your projects You may be ready to give Agile project management a go, but are wondering how best to keep to the manifesto’s guidelines. There is no one way to implement Agile values and principles into your projects. The Agile manifesto is an intuitive guide for your teams to make their own — as long as you keep to the core ideas of Agile, you can adapt it to suit the needs of your project.  One way to ensure success is to utilize project management software that is compatible with the principles of Agile. A collaborative work management tool like Wrike can aid your Agile team to project success with features like: One source of truth for reports, edits, and comments, with no unnecessary paperwork @mentions and app integrations, which ensure that all communication can be done in one place for quick and consistent updates Customizable request and intake forms, so that work can be clearly prioritized and you can make the most of every sprint Ready-to-use templates for your team, including Agile teamwork, sprint planning, Kanban projects, and more Discover how Wrike can bring your team to Agile success. Start a free two-week trial now.

Does Your Team Meet The Standard for Program Management? (Book Review)
Project Management 3 min read

Does Your Team Meet The Standard for Program Management? (Book Review)

In any industry, understanding the accepted best practices is key to remaining successful and keeping up with the competition. Teams looking to master PMBOK, or the Project Management Body of Knowledge, and all of its terminologies and methodologies need to pick up the The Standard for Program Management. Summary and Book Review of The Standard for Program Management Developed by the Project Management Institute, the third edition of this book is a must-read for any program manager or individual aiming to take the PMP exam. According to PMI, those who wish to pass this test typically spend many hours preparing with the help of study aids and groups, demonstrating the value of reading The Standard for Program Management. While this book review highlights key points in the literature, you'll have to read it yourself to really understand why it's regarded as one of the best project management books. Through its 176 pages, you'll uncover a number of topics such as: The PMI program definition Performance standards Key differences between program and project management Program manager responsibilities Project management phases Readers will get an in-depth view of each facet of program management, placing it among the top project management books. Key Takeaways from The Standard for Program Management The comprehensive guide offered in the book is critical to program management success, but in our book review, we uncover a few key takeaways you can apply in your own team. Project management is different from program management: Readers often applaud The Standard For Program Management for its ability to showcase important differences between project and program management. As IBM elaborates, project management involves planning, organizing and directing the use of company resources, and it's often done in short-term increments. Program management, on the other hand, assigns these duties to three levels of management. Those in program management look at a more comprehensive picture of multiple projects. Roadmaps are vital to program success: Much like a book review outlines key points in a work of literature, a roadmap helps you understand how projects fit together to support business goals. The Standard for Program Management emphasizes the importance of creating a high-level overview of each project within the program. According to Forbes, management must ensure this roadmap is feasible, as setting up an impossible timeline for instance, means deadlines will never be met. Don't underestimate the importance of accountability: All team members in program management must have a solid understanding of their roles. As Wikipedia explains, management needs to promote accountability by conducting regular reviews and creating structure for all stakeholders and suppliers. The Right Tools for Program Management Because there are so many moving parts to program management, those in this field must have the appropriate tools to keep track of both people and projects. With Wrike's team collaboration solutions, leaders can monitor progress across multiple departments, ensuring timely and successful project completion. Sources: Amazon.com, PMI.org, IBM.com, Forbes.com, Wikipedia.org

Workflow Management vs. Project Management: Different but Both Critical
Project Management 10 min read

Workflow Management vs. Project Management: Different but Both Critical

Workflow and project are terms often used interchangeably, but they each have unique purposes. Knowing them will help you choose the most efficient system and adopt the right tools. Read more about workflow management, project management, and everything in between to help your team succeed.

5 Lessons in Lean Product Development from the Wright Brothers (Infographic)
Project Management 3 min read

5 Lessons in Lean Product Development from the Wright Brothers (Infographic)

Good product development is crucial to your company's success, whether it's a small business startup or a huge corporation. Product delays or failures can mean falling behind competitors, or (worst case scenario) a failed launch. When developing your next product, look to the Wright brothers for Lean project management lessons to help your project soar. Want to share this image on your site? Use the embed code below: Wrike Social Collaboration Software We've got more fun infographics on the way, so stop by the blog again soon. Or better yet, subscribe!   Author Bio: Emily Bonnie is a Content Marketing Manager at Wrike. Her brain is stuffed with obscure grammar rules, Star Wars trivia, and her grandmother’s pie recipes. Twitter | LinkedIn  

Startups Should Lean on Lean Project Management
Project Management 5 min read

Startups Should Lean on Lean Project Management

We are living in a world of entrepreneurs. Chances are you know one (at least), or you have your own ideas waiting to come to fruition. But ideas are expensive in reality. The question is, how can you get the most bang for your buck? How can CEOs and managers save money while chasing their dreams and accomplishing their goals?   Enter Lean project management. It is the star of simultaneous project frugality and product quality for businesses. As a more recent PM methodology, the term "lean startup" is credited as first appearing on Eric Ries' blog in 2008. In the midst of the high-turnover startup movement, Ries evangelized the need for fiscal responsibility and increased production speed in order to decrease the number of failed startups. The idea caught on like wildfire, spreading to entrepreneurs all over the globe. The #1 priority of running Lean PM is to eliminate wasted resources, known as mura. Extra labor, extra time, and extra materials that don't add value to the product or service — they all need to go. Focus on getting something in front of the customer quickly and without spending all your money. So how can you decide what resources you're wasting in order to run lean? Here are some lean product management principles. Declare Your MVP Before you can run lean, you must find your MVP — your Minimum Viable Product. It is the smallest number of features that need to be developed in order to push your product or service to your early adopters. Focus all your time, energy, and money on developing just your MVP, and nothing else. Yes, that means your product or service won't be completely evolved to fulfill all your dreams or the product roadmap, but it will be functional. With it, you can start learning and earning  — learning about customers' needs as they interact with your MVP, and earning money to expand upon the rest of your ideas. If your resources are going into developing an extra feature beyond the MVP ("It's just a little thing, it won't take much!") you are wasting time, manpower, and money. And you could be setting yourself up as the next failed startup. Every second and every dollar counts. You'll have time to expand upon the rest of your ideas later, but for now, speed is essential. Focus on getting something out there so that you can move on to the next step: improving your product through validated learning. Build-Measure-Learn Finding your MVP is not the end of the Lean PM. Eliminating mura is not enough for success. Startups fail because they don't create a process to measure progress, learn from mistakes, and improve for the future. Once you 1. BUILD your MVP, you need to 2. MEASURE customer response and feedback, and then 3. LEARN from that feedback and change your plans accordingly. Only give customers what they want. If they don't want it, then they won't pay for it, and you're risking failure by wasting resources to build something customers don't want. Every time you create something new or add a new feature, you must measure and learn to see if the planned next step should actually still be the next step. Remember, time is a resource too, and it's not on your side. Ries said, "Startups that succeed are those that manage to iterate enough times before running out of resources." You should be constantly evaluating your work-process breakdown to make sure you are only spending resources where necessary. This is true even after rolling out your initial MVP. Lean PM is not temporary! More Resources There are many great resources out there that go into depth about Lean project management and how you can implement it for your startup to do more with less. I recommend checking out these three: theleanstartup.comThe official website created by Eric Ries. It details the 5 principles of Lean PM and gives you great case studies from companies who ran lean and are succeeding. The Lean StartupThe book written by Eric Ries about his Lean startup movement. Even MORE detail than the website, it gives you Ries' recommendations for running lean and staying viable. Running LeanWritten by author Ash Maurya, with feedback from Eric Ries, this book of strategies breaks up the steps for successfully running lean — from creating your initial idea, to testing, to choosing the perfect time to raise funding. If you find your MVP and establish a process to learn from your customers, you have fought half the battle. It is difficult. Lean PM is a constant war against the urge to "add just one little thing" and spend time on side projects. But stick to your testing — if the customers don't want it now, you shouldn't build it! If you've ever thought about running lean, have tried and failed, or you are successfully running Lean PM at your company now, tell everyone about your Lean adventure in the comments. There's no better teacher than first-hand experience, and we'd love to learn from you.

The Complete Guide to the Getting Things Done (GTD) Methodology
Productivity 5 min read

The Complete Guide to the Getting Things Done (GTD) Methodology

Burdened with an immense workload that is affecting your performance? Leverage the power of Getting Things Done (GTD) in collaboration with Wrike.

Project Management Then & Now (Infographic)
Project Management 3 min read

Project Management Then & Now (Infographic)

From the construction of our earliest buildings to putting a man on the moon, project managers have guided countless human achievements. And while the basic process of planning and initiating a project may not have changed all that much over the years, the full discipline of project management has transformed dramatically over just the last few decades. What’s changed between 1950 and 2015, and what does it mean for current and future project managers? Take a look at the infographic below to find out: Share this infographic with your fellow project managers with this embed code: Infographic brought to you by Wrike

Overcoming the Top Challenges of IT Project Management
Project Management 10 min read

Overcoming the Top Challenges of IT Project Management

What information technology challenges do IT teams face in 2021? Learn how to manage IT project management challenges effectively using simple, actionable tips.

How to Use Job Numbers to Manage Work
Wrike Tips 7 min read

How to Use Job Numbers to Manage Work

Job numbers in Wrike help creative agencies, IT teams, and any other organization managing high work volumes to stay organized.

Fundamentals of the Scrum Methodology
Project Management 5 min read

Fundamentals of the Scrum Methodology

Kanban, Lean project management, Six Sigma, Scrum… there are a mountain of Agile methodologies to choose from. And if you’re new to project management, it can be a lot to take in. You may know that Scrum is one of the most common approaches to Agile project management, but what is it exactly? (Besides a group of scuffed-up rugby players, that is.) Scrum is an approach to managing complicated projects that may have to adapt to changes in scope or requirements. By emphasizing productivity, focus and collaboration, Scrum teams build high-quality deliverables quickly and can more easily adapt to change. Curious about how it all works? Read on for an introduction to Scrum. The Process When a customer (internal or external) comes to the team with a certain need, the final product is broken up into individual chunks. (Traditionally this has been a software need, but the process also works for any project that is comprised of multiple stages and pieces, such as a marketing launch.) The pieces are prioritized and tackled in a series of short bursts called sprints. Teams can determine their own sprint length, provided it’s less than 4 weeks (one to two weeks is common). At the end of each sprint, the team delivers a product increment — essentially, a version of the product that could be shipped if necessary. Transparency is a key principle in Scrum, so teams and stakeholders review the results of each sprint together. This ensures everyone's on the same page about priorities and deliverables, and any adjustments can be made right away. Teams promote internal transparency through daily standups. During these brief, 15-minute meetings, everyone reports what they accomplished yesterday, what they plan to work on that day, and any current “impediments" (factors that are keeping them from working more efficiently). This visibility helps uncover problems and bring them to the forefront quickly, so the team can tackle and overcome them together. Who’s Who: Scrum Roles There are three main roles in Scrum: the product owner, the scrum master, and the development team. Product Owner: Product owners represent the customer's interests. They decide what the team will work on next, so the team's efforts stay focused on high-priority tasks that create the most value. The Kanban product owner must always be available to provide input or guidance to the development team, although it's important to note that product owners are not managers — scrum teams self-organize. Scrum Master: The Scrum master's #1 goal is to help the development team be self-sufficient. Scrum masters intercept and remove barriers to team progress, and act as a buffer between the team and any outside forces that might interfere with productivity. S/he leads daily standup meetings, so while the product owner is responsible for what the team will produce, the scrum master oversees the how. Development Team: Development teams are made up of cross-functional team members, so the group has all the necessary skills to deliver the final product. The team focuses on only one project at a time; members don’t multitask or split their efforts between multiple projects. Once the product owner makes an ordered list of what needs to be done, the development team decides how much they can complete in a single sprint and plan accordingly. You may have heard the words "pig" and "chicken" tossed around in conversations about Scrum. If so, you may be asking yourself, what do farm animals have to do with software development? Within the development team, members are assigned roles as either pigs or chickens. A pig is the person responsible for the completion of a specific task. They're the ones "risking their bacon." Chickens may be involved in the task, but are not ultimately responsible. Only pigs can speak about their tasks during daily standup meetings; chickens just listen. Core Values As an Agile framework, Scrum shares the values of the Agile Manifesto. But it also creates its own guidelines. These are the five golden rules in Scrum: Openness: Scrum sees collaboration as the most effective way to create the best possible product. So teamwork and transparency are essential. Rather than anxiously downplaying  problems, Scrum team members are open about their progress and any roadblocks they encounter. Focus: With Scrum, multitasking is out. Since productivity is key, splitting the team’s attention across multiple projects, or redirecting their efforts mid-sprint by shifting priorities, is avoided at all costs. Instead, teams concentrate on the task at hand for the highest velocity and best quality product. Courage: Teams must have the tenacity to commit to an ambitious (but attainable) amount of work for each sprint. Scrum masters must also be able to stand up to stakeholders if necessary, and the product owner must guide the development team with authority. Commitment: Each sprint is itself commitment: teams must agree on what they’re going to accomplish and stick to it. This value is reflected in each team’s unique “Definition of Done,” a list of criteria to determine whether a feature or deliverable is truly finished — that it’s not only fully functional, but meets the team’s standards for quality. Respect: In the service of true collaboration, roles and responsibilities are transparent. Each member of the team is respected equally, regardless of job description, seniority, or status. The development team must honor the product owner’s authority in deciding what the team works on, and the product owner needs to respect the team’s need follow whatever work process is best for them. Now that you've got the basics, are you curious about the pros and cons of Scrum (and other top project management methodologies, such as Kanban vs. Scrum)? Wondering what are the 5 Scrum ceremonies? Read our Quick-Start Guide to Project Management Methodologies and you'll be an expert in no time!

Project Management Methodologies: A Quickstart Guide (Part 2)
Project Management 7 min read

Project Management Methodologies: A Quickstart Guide (Part 2)

  Now that you’ve mastered the lingo and have a firm grasp on our first 8 common Project Management methodologies, you’re starting to settle into your new PM role. You’re gearing up for your first project kickoff, and the boss is back in your office: “So, let’s talk methodologies. What do you think is the best strategy for our company?” Gulp. Don’t panic — you’ve got this. We’ll give you the rundown on 8 more PM methodologies so you can choose the winning approach every time. Here are the next 8 project management methodologies: 1. Lean PM"Waste not, want not!" Lean project management is all about finding the path of least resistance to get the results you want. You identify and cut out waste (or mura), starting by examining your full work-process breakdown to find and eliminate bottlenecks and delays. Teams focus on the project's true customer value, and on continuous process improvement. The goal is to do more with less: deliver high value, high quality work with less manpower, less money, and less time. PRO: This approach is especially helpful if you need to find ways to cut your budget, meet quick deadlines, or get big results with a small team.CON: Since the ultimate goal is to get things done faster and cheaper, stakeholders need to make prompt decisions and be prepared to stick to those decisions -- weighing options for 2 weeks interrupts the Lean process. 2. PRINCE2Not to be confused with the first Prince. Also known as "PRojects IN Controlled Environments." The project must have a business justification, so the first step is identifying a clear need, targeted customer, realistic benefits, and thorough cost assessment. A project board owns the project and is responsible for its success, while a project manager oversees day-to-day activities. PRO: The extensive documentation involved in PRINCE2 projects can be very helpful with corporate planning and performance tracking.CON: It can be difficult to adapt to project changes, since a lot of effort goes into creating and maintaining those documents and logs at each stage of the process. 3. PRiSMWant to go green? PRiSM (PRojects integrating Sustainable Methods) blends project planning with environmental sustainability measures. PRO: Aligning corporate strategy with social responsibility can bolster a company's reputation, plus you could benefit from reduced energy, waste management, and distribution costs.CON: Environmental responsibility must be a priority at every level of the company -- from executives to managers -- for it to be truly successful. 4. Process-Based Project ManagementIt's all about "mission accomplished." Every project is defined by your company mission or vision statement, whether that be "Feed the Homeless" or "Improve Global Collaboration." Before project kick-off, the plan is analyzed to see if it will live up to your mission statement; if it won't then all strategies and goals are adjusted in order to meet that objective. PRO: This approach helps ensure that every project aligns with, and adds value to, the organization's strategic vision.CON: Adjusting every team's projects and processes to fit the mission can be very time-consuming. And it doesn't allow for side projects, so if your company wants to take on tasks unrelated to your values you'll have to revisit your company mission statement first. 5. Scrum"Productivity" is the name of the game. Small teams are facilitated by a scrum master, whose job is to remove any barriers to team progress. Work is typically done in a series of two-week sprints, and team members are in constant communication through daily scrum meetings. PRO: New developments can be tested quickly and mistakes are fixed right away.CON: Scrum projects are prone to scope creep. Because the team is a close unit, one member leaving can also disrupt the whole project.   **Confused about the difference between Scrum and XP (from Part 1)? XP teams tackle tasks in a strict customer-determined order, whereas Scrum teams can determine their own timeline. Additionally, XP allows similar tasks to be swapped within a sprint, but Scrum tasks are meant to be set in stone until the end of the sprint.    6. Six SigmaWhat's your sigma rating? Six Sigma is a quality-improvement process aimed at reducing the number of defects in manufacturing and industrial sectors, or the bugs in software development. A rating of "six sigma" indicates that 99.99966% of what is produced is defect-free. PRO: Six Sigma is a very proactive methodology, and it examines the entire production process to identify process improvements even before defects appear.CON: This holistic approach may also lead to rigidity in the planning process, which could limit your team's creativity and innovation. 7. Lean Six SigmaIt combines Lean's efficiency with Six Sigma's statistics-based process improvement. It corrects workflow problems and eliminates waste by helping you understand how work gets done and identify which aspects of your project are most valuable to the client or customer. PRO: In addition to making your projects more efficient and cost effective, Lean Six Sigma keeps employees actively engaged in process improvement, leading to a sense of ownership and accountability.CON: Lean Six Sigma usually involves major change to the way work gets done, so make sure you -- and company execs, stakeholders, and other managers -- are prepared for the amount of time, effort, and resources needed to be successful with this method. 8. WaterfallImagine the path of a waterfall: The river runs from the top and flows down to the bottom without steering away from the main course. It's the same in project management. With clearly defined goals and a set timeline, teams work through tasks in sequence, completing one before moving on to the next in line. PRO: Extensive planning goes into this approach, and this thoroughness often results in more accurate timelines and budgets.CON: It is difficult to adapt to any project changes — or modify and correct previous steps (water can't run backwards!) — so you'll need to be proactive in anticipating problems before they can affect your flow. 16 methodologies later, and we're confident that you have the knowledge you need to confidently lead your team to success. Now it's time to decide which is best suited for your company and projects, and get things done! Which PM Methodology does your company use? Share your first-hand pros and cons in the comments below. See this next: All 16 Project Management Methodologies in One Simple Infographic

Understanding the Project Management Triangle
Project Management 10 min read

Understanding the Project Management Triangle

The project management triangle, also known as the triple constraint triangle, is one of the most important theories in project management. Learn more with Wrike.

Secrets for Building an Integrated Marketing Campaign Calendar
Marketing 10 min read

Secrets for Building an Integrated Marketing Campaign Calendar

There’s no denying that an integrated campaign is a lot to keep track of. But here’s the good news: an integrated marketing campaign calendar can make your job a whole lot easier. Learn how, here.

Project Management Methodologies Review (Part 1)
Project Management 7 min read

Project Management Methodologies Review (Part 1)

Choosing a project management methodology is like choosing which recipe to follow when baking chocolate chip cookies. One recipe might use room-temperature butter while another recommends melted margarine, or call for dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chips. Each recipe gives you delicious cookies, but the steps, ingredients and techniques are all a little different to suit your tastebuds. You should pick your PM methodology based on your available ingredients: project constraints, timeline, tools, and people. Read through this list of common project management methodologies and see if they sound like they fit your project or organization. We include brief descriptions, pros, and cons for each, and if one captures your attention, we definitely encourage further research. Here's the first half of our PM methodologies list: 1. Adaptive Project Framework (APF)The APF method strives to learn from experience. These projects begin with a Requirements Breakdown Structure to define strategic project goals based on product requirements, functions, sub-functions, and features. As they proceed, teams continually evaluate previous results to improve policies and practices at each stage of the project lifecycle. Clients/stakeholders can change project scope at the start of each stage so the team can produce the most business value. PRO: This is a good approach for when you know what your goal is and aren't sure of the best way to get there.CON: Due to its flexibility, the Adaptive Framework may lead to project delays or increased budgets. 2. Agile Project ManagementGreat chefs taste their food as they cook so they can add new ingredients to create the best dish. Agile is like tasting our project as we go and adjusting it accordingly. Planning begins with clients describing how the end product will be used, its benefits, and so on, so the team gets a good understanding of the expectations. Once the project has begun, teams cycle through the process of planning, executing, and evaluating tasks — which might change the final deliverable. Continuous collaboration is key, both among team members and with project stakeholders, to make fully-informed decisions. PRO: This approach is beneficial for creative projects with goals that are flexible and can be modified midway.CON: Timelines and budgets are difficult to define, and stakeholders must have the time and desire to be actively involved in the day-to-day work. Confused about the difference between APF and Agile?  We’ll break it down for you: with APF, your end goal is clear, but your method for achieving that goal will change based on your experience at each stage of the project. With Agile, your end goals are less defined. Each stage brings feedback from stakeholders to help guide your decisions and improve or alter the final product. 3. Benefits RealizationThis project management methodology redefines success as not just delivering the package on time and with money to spare, but achieving a desired benefit. Here's an example: say your clients want to increase their sales conversion rate by 15%. They hire you to manage the development of a new CRM software that will help the sales team personalize their communications, track sales data, and determine ideal communication timelines. You deliver a CRM with those features on time and within budget. Success, right? What if your client's sales conversion rates only increase by 5%? With benefits realization, your project isn't successfully completed until the client's desired benefits are achieved — in this case, until the sales conversion rate is up 15%. PRO: This approach ensures that your projects contribute real value to the business and deliver the end results your stakeholders care about.CON: Benefits aren't always exact, measurable, or scientific, so it can be difficult to know if they've been achieved — or if your project actually contributed to that success. You'll need to put careful thought into developing effective metrics to measure the outcomes of your project, such as ROI, process capability, faster delivery times, or higher customer satisfaction. 4. Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)Project delays are usually caused by resources that aren't available when you need them. CCPM avoids that by building a project schedule that first identifies a "critical chain" of tasks and then reserving resources for those tasks. Your project timeline may be longer, but you’ve got a higher probability of predicting realistic deadlines. PRO: Tasks can be collaborated on because you know that all key players are available when you need them.CON: This approach may not be effective for projects with short deadlines, since CCPM plans build in extra time buffers along the critical chain. 5. Critical Path Method (CPM)Determine your project's shortest timeline and adjust to shifting deadlines using CPM. You'll start by looking at all the tasks absolutely necessary to complete your project, and then estimating completion times for each step, including task dependencies, milestones, and final deliverables. PRO: Specific dates can be assigned to each task, so managers can compare what should be happening with what is happening on a daily basis. It's optimal for projects with short deadlines.CON: Critics say a major drawback is that CPM doesn’t consider resource availability in planning, so you may be left with an overly optimistic plan. 6. Event Chain Methodology (ECM)Most projects don’t go exactly according to plan. Risks are difficult to identify and analyze, and project managers may be under pressure by stakeholders to create optimistic timelines, budgets, or deliverables. Event chain methodology helps recognize and plan for potential risks that may lie outside the project scope. By using techniques like Monte Carlo Analysis and Event Chain Diagrams, project managers can see how external events affect project tasks and determine the probability of certain risks occurring. PRO: By visualizing the relationship between external events and tasks, managers can create more realistic project plans.CON: It's easy to forget that external events aren't just threats to your project — they can also present opportunities. Don't automatically squash all potential risks and fail to capitalize on fortunate circumstances. 7. Extreme Programming (XP)XP features short development cycles, frequent releases, and constant client collaboration. Productivity is high, and the approach is well-suited to complex or undefined projects. These teams allow for change within their sprints; if the team hasn't started work on a feature, a similar task can be swapped out to replace it. Teams avoid overworking themselves through effective collaboration and by writing the simplest possible code to produce the desired feature. PRO: XP is efficient, with a focus on simplicity. Teams work at a sustainable pace, meaning no 80-hour work weeks leading to burnout and low-quality output.CON: Critics warn that the XP approach's strength lies too much in the ingenuity of unique team members rather than with process itself. 8. KanbanIf a continuous workflow and outputting a slow and steady stream of deliverables are your main priorities, Kanban is your man. Managers create visual representations for the workflow (often using a whiteboard or sticky notes) to uncover process problems and prevent tasks from stalling as "works in progress." The sticky notes move across the board to tangibly represent project progress. PRO: Kanban helps teams understand where their time is really being spent so you can improve efficiency.CON: Variations in customer demand — like the start of the holiday season, or a drop-off due to a recall — can make Kanban inefficient, since it’s designed to produce a steady output. Find a project management methodology you like? Itching for more bite-sized breakdowns? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, where we'll cover 8 more essential methodologies as the next chapter in your PM handbook. Does your company use one of these PM methodologies? Is it good? Bad? Tell us about your experience with it in the comments below. Related Posts: • Project Management Basics: A Review of PM Methodologies (Part 2) • A Crash-Course in Project Management Methodologies (Infographic)

5 Project Management Ideas that Should be Extinct
Project Management 7 min read

5 Project Management Ideas that Should be Extinct

Project management has a wide spectrum of effective approaches. Everything from hands-off supervision to management by walking around... And then there are the ideas that should go the way of the dinosaur — disappear in a ball of flames. This is just a list of the top 5 PM ideas that should be extinct. And if they are still rearing their prehistoric heads in your organization, perhaps it's up to you to lay them to rest once and for all. Read on: 1. "Let's Manage the Project by Email" Everyone has heard at least one project manager say: "Email me a status report." This is the old-school method of requesting project status updates. Because according to this project manager, there is no better method for reporting on what's been done and where you're roadblocked. Which, of course, means that all comments from him or her will also be sent through email. And we all know how that ends: in back-and-forth communication that is 23 emails thick, with 7 buried attachments, lost in the noise and confusion of a cluttered inbox. "When did you send that updated slide deck again? What was the subject line? I can't find it. Can you resend?" The truth is there are better, more collaborative PM tools than email. In fact, it seems like a new one comes out almost every month. These tools transfer the bulk of your communication and status updates away from email and compile them into the PM tool, allowing projects to thrive outside the stranglehold of your inbox. Your action: Find a better PM tool than email.   2. "Let's Have Longer Meetings" There seems to be a prevalent idea in older generations that meetings are where the real work gets done. Ergo, longer meetings mean more work accomplished. And the more people in a meeting, the more everyone engages with what's happening in the project. Right? Um, no. David Allen, productivity guru and author of Getting Things Done, says that there are really only five reasons to have a meeting: 1. Give info 2. Get info 3. Produce options 4. Make decisions 5. Bask in the warmth of actual human contact (yay!) A large part of every successful meeting is everyone agreeing what the objective for the meeting is. And note that Allen didn't include reason #6: Waste people's time. The truth is, not everyone needs to be in a meeting. If someone's work is not directly affected by the agenda of a meeting, leave him to his work. Alternatively, if not everyone is needed for every discussion point, schedule the agenda so that you start with the majority of attendees and individuals can drop off once their portions are done. This motivates people to keep things short so everyone can get back to work. Also, meetings take time -- and time is your team's most precious resource. If it's spent going over details that could have been disseminated via email, or discussing items relevant to only one person in the room, then that's a waste of everyone's time. Schedule one-on-one consultations outside of meeting times, and use a collaboration tool to monitor the status of any task so there is less reporting being done face to face. Your action: Cut down the length of your meetings, and use a timer to enforce it!   3. "Let's Only Hire Local People to Work Onsite" You know it all too well, this bias toward hiring people who can come into the office everyday and work with you face-to-face. Admittedly, it does make the work routine easier if you can traipse on down to a cubicle and tell your team member what needs to be revised. But here's the question: what if the skills you need CAN'T be sourced in your immediate vicinity? And if you find someone who fits the job description, speaks your language, and can do the job but lives on the other side of the world, would you hesitate to hire him due to physical barriers? We're not in the 19th century anymore. There are advanced communication tools out there like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facetime that allow you to chat with people remotely, with or without cameras. And once again, there are PM tools that live in the cloud, so collaboration and work can be done from any location with internet connectivity. The technology exists, so use it! Your action: Every time you recruit for a job, consider not requiring an onsite presence. Include the line "Remote work possible *for the right candidate.*"  4. "Let's Stick to the Plan, No Matter What" Have you ever worked under a project manager with no flexibility? It's a hell forged from the embers of micromanagement and the molten lava of ruthless dictatorship. To this kind of manager, the project plan is sacred and must be followed at all costs. Even when requirements change, team members disappear, or deadlines shift. Unfortunately for the uncompromising manager, life never works out the way we planned. Everything is in flux and project managers need to be flexible enough to juggle priorities and resources as needed. Otherwise, by sticking to a rigid plan, companies will deliver products that customers don't even want or need. Your action: Have a complete project plan, but be ready to change it up. Changes are not evil. They're challenges and opportunities to deliver better outcomes.   5. "Let's Describe Tasks Very Loosely and 'Wing It'" Are there still people like this, you ask? Yes. The ones who have vague project plans. The ones who send project briefs with only a title ("Please write an eBook for our email offer") or a general deliverable ("Create a new home page design") and never provide any details. The project is not properly kicked off, and the manager never actually formalizes their deliverable expectations. Team members are left wondering what reference material should be used, or what the business objectives are, because the project manager didn't bother to write a real project brief. Not giving a clear description of the output is just asking your team to be inefficient. Why not give them everything at the start, and then communicate with them what needs to be done before assigning it to them? Make sure you set expectations loud and clear. It boils down to efficiency and respect: give them everything they need to be efficient, and respect their time. Your action: Complete every project brief/task description and communicate with the team BEFORE the project starts!   The way we all work is rapidly evolving. And in order to use these changes to our benefit, we should be ready to adapt how we manage our projects. Which is why these five ideas need to be put to rest. They're archaic and inefficient, and instead of bringing you closer to your goals, they end up obstructing your road to success. Your turn: What project management ideas do YOU think should be extinct? Hit the comments and tell us.