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Project Management Methodologies

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What Game of Thrones House Is Your Project Management Style?
Project Management 10 min read

What Game of Thrones House Is Your Project Management Style?

Do you manage OKRs like a Stark? Assign roles like a Lannister? Or collaborate like a Baratheon? Here's what you can learn from the project management styles of Westeros.

How to Use a Single Gantt Chart for Multiple Projects
Project Management 7 min read

How to Use a Single Gantt Chart for Multiple Projects

Using a single Gantt chart to view for multiple projects can change your project management game. Here are the top productivity benefits your team can expect.

What Is a Critical Path Analysis?
Project Management 5 min read

What Is a Critical Path Analysis?

In project management critical path analysis helps PMs determine project dependencies and deadlines. Learn more about critical path analysis tools with Wrike.

Top Tips for Reducing Risks as a Construction Project Manager
Project Management 7 min read

Top Tips for Reducing Risks as a Construction Project Manager

Every construction project comes with its own problems and dilemmas. An effective project delivery system can help construction managers mitigate serious risks. Learn how Wrike can help.

How to Use an Online Gantt Chart to Avoid These 5 Project Management Mistakes
Project Management 10 min read

How to Use an Online Gantt Chart to Avoid These 5 Project Management Mistakes

Not all online Gantt charts are created equal. Learn what to look for in online project management software that makes your job easier, not harder.

How to Leverage Team Data for Big Projects
Project Management 7 min read

How to Leverage Team Data for Big Projects

Big data in project management helps leaders make informed decisions. Find out how to leverage your team data to help streamline and propel some of your biggest projects.

7 Leadership & Mindset Tips for Extreme Project Managers
Leadership 5 min read

7 Leadership & Mindset Tips for Extreme Project Managers

If your team experiences high-stress, anxiety, low morale, and burnout from continuous, fast-paced projects, you may wonder: what can I do to escape this situation? Before you go looking for a new job, know that all is not lost. As a leader and manager, there are steps you can take to fix the poor mental health of your team. These tips are based on advice from an extreme project management expert, and should help restore the health of your team. But wait! Did you read our first post discussing the basics of the fast-paced, extreme project management, and how to decide if it's right for your team? Go read it now and come back to this post when you're ready to learn how to be a great leader for your extreme projects. Leadership and Management for Extreme Projects For extreme projects, being a great leader and manager is even harder because the projects you lead change constantly, which means you must change constantly too. In his book eXtreme Project Management, Doug DeCarlo gives an in-depth overview of extreme project management. According to him, this methodology does not begin and end at managing work in a flexible environment; it also includes adapting your mindset to a new way of thinking and developing a new set of leadership skills. If you are a leader of extreme projects, and you want to work on improving your leadership and management skills, we have some tips to help you be a better leader for your team. Tips to rework your management style: 1. Set priorities. Set project priorities, tell the team why they've been prioritized that way, and if the project is cancelled, give them sound reasoning. If you have standards for determining project priority, your team will feel less frustration when project priorities shift. 2. Communicate constantly. In a flexible environment, projects change a lot. Do not keep your team in the dark. If there is an update, tell them what has changed and why — immediately. Waiting means there is a higher chance someone will have to redo their work in order to match the new requirements. Avoid high-stress situations by communicating every project change quickly and clearly. 3. Set clear roles & ownership. Extreme project management means that there is less hierarchy and time involved in decision-making. That means everyone needs to know exactly who has the knowledge (or ability) to make decisions. Ensure that roles and responsibilities on your team and within management are crystal clear. And give your individual team members the confidence to make their own calls if they see something that needs to be done. XPM is about spreading and sharing responsibility, not locking it into the hands of a few people. 4. Reward your team for a job well done. If you're working on a fast-paced project with changing requirements and ever-increasing scope, chances are you'll be awash in relief when the project is finally complete. As a manager, make sure you recognize the great effort it took to get from day 1 to the end. Celebrate the skills, problem-solving, and high energy your team exhibited during the project before moving on to the next. If your team knows you appreciate and recognize them, it will fight low morale and burnout, and motivate your team for the next challenge. Tips to adapt your leadership mindset: 1. Study your own temperament. Your temperament is a good indication of your behavior during projects. Great leaders learn how to remain calm under pressure, even when their extreme project team is stressed — which will certainly happen with these types of projects. Are you able to be the voice of reason in a difficult situation? Practice soft skills to create a good atmosphere for your projects; read books on better communication, negotiation, conflict resolution, and influencing people. Check out our list of books every manager should read. 2. Learn to accept change as good. Humans like stability; it's in our nature. With everything constantly changing, extreme projects put a lot of emotional strain on the people involved. But you can't resist changes to project plans if you want XPM to work for your team, so learn how to get comfortable with last-minute scrambles. If you can't fully get comfortable, at least be aware of your own resistance so that you can fight your tendencies when they rear their predictable heads. Remember: if your project is changing, it is probably for the better. Don't shoot down new ideas without considering how they can positively impact your final outcome! 3. Trust your team to be responsible, capable adults. If you come from traditional management styles, where all decisions are made slowly after being reviewed by countless people, XPM will probably make your head spin. Decisions are made faster, and without the red tape that comes with big companies and complex hierarchies. Trust your team (and yourself!) to be intimate enough with the project that they will make the best decisions for your project without requiring extra input each time. If you have communicated the project goals clearly and thoroughly, then everyone should be able to make informed decisions for the team. Leadership is a Constant Work-in-progress I argue that leadership and management skill sets are not the kind you can master — they are the kind that you constantly work to improve. People look to you to make the best decisions, to always know what is going on with every aspect of every project, and to remain calm under the pressure of intense project environments. You have to be a hero among heroes, and that is hard. In order to be the best leader and manager you can be, it requires constant vigilance and education. Are you leading an extreme project team? What tips can you give for being a better leader? Share your wisdom with us in the comments. Related Reads: 3 Lessons on High-Performing Teams from TED Talks 15 Books Every Manager Should Read Why Employers Value Emotional Intelligence Over IQ (Infographic)

What is Extreme Project Management and is it Right for Your Team?
Project Management 5 min read

What is Extreme Project Management and is it Right for Your Team?

Today's projects are different from the projects of 10 or 20 years ago. Mostly thanks to the introduction of the internet and subsequent cloud-based software, as well as the concept of what is a professional service coming into play, the way we work — and thus, our projects — has undergone a revolution. The way projects stand now: project requirements can change daily, and responsible teams are expected to handle those situations fluidly. Stakeholders want more involvement with projects while they're still in process, which means that they can change their mind (and create extra work for teams) at any time. News about political, economical, or environmental concerns breaks 24/7, and  teams have to shift gears to respond accordingly. Traditional project management (TPM) is typically not equipped to handle this new era of projects. The step-by-step workflow (e.g. the Waterfall model), rigid timelines, and strict requirements have a hard time adapting to the need for change partway through a project. Updates to the plan require team members to jump through hoops and consult several managers before getting final approval. These constraints bottleneck progress and end up pushing TPM projects over budget and past deadlines. Today's projects are often better suited for extreme project management. What is Extreme Project Management? Extreme project management (XPM) is short and flexible where traditional project management is not. Traditional project management means creating a plan and sticking to it, usually for long-term projects. XPM allows you to alter your project plan, your budget, and your final outcome to fit changing needs, no matter what stage the project is in, and usually involves projects that last only a few weeks or even just days.  XPM is meant to help you manage the unknown — those variables that change and pop up as a project progresses. At the end of your project, it's about delivering the desired result, not simply the originally planned result. Those people who realize halfway through a project that the original product isn't ideal have the leeway to modify the plan. Teams using XPM must be willing to make several attempts to get it right, instead of simply focusing on completing everything after the first attempt. Is extreme project management right for you? How do you know if your project requires extreme project management? Here are some common characteristics of extreme projects: Fast-paced work Highly complex project needs and outcomes Frequent changes to the project requirements as the project progresses Trial-and-error approach to see what works Self-correcting process when things go awry to get back on track A move away from hierarchy in decision making People-driven projects, instead of process-driven (people don't adapt their projects to fit the model, they adapt models to fit the project) If this sounds like your work, consider XPM and how you can adopt this approach. How to Execute Extreme Project Management Extreme project management is meant to be fast and nimble. Start by gathering a team of people around you who are willing and ready to embrace this Agile mindset meaning. If your team members prefer slow-paced work and getting every decision approved by upper management, it won't work. After assembling your star team, follow these steps: Create a project plan with extreme project management in mind. That means expecting change, acknowledging that timelines may change, and leaving room for error. To ensure success, make sure your plan answers all of these questions (from the book eXtreme Project Management by Doug DeCarlo): —Who needs what, and why? —What will it take to do it? —Can we get what it takes to finish? —Is it worth it? Schedule work in short cycles — a few weeks at max. Have a project kick-off meeting to give everyone the full rundown of the work involved, and get people excited to get to work on a great, new project. Answer every question, and communicate expectations clearly. Make project visibility a priority starting from day 1. Communicate with your client frequently, listen closely to their wants and needs, and relay their feedback to your team immediately. Follow up work cycles with check-ins, review sessions, and re-alignment meetings if the project seems to be getting off-track. When projects or cycles finish, celebrate every win. Make teams feel appreciated to keep them excited about the demanding work. Consider starting every meeting with listing team accomplishments since the last meeting, or going around to have everyone list one accomplishment they're proud of. Do not set up more processes than you need to in order to complete the project. Extreme project management advises to KISS your projects — keep it simple, stupid. Each project will probably require different steps and different templates, so customize each project to suit your needs. If your team insists that you're making processes too complicated, cut out extra steps. Extreme Project Management for Changing Projects If you identified with the troubles of traditional project management or the characteristics of extreme projects, consider reading more about XPM for your team. I suggest the book mentioned above, eXtreme Project Management by Doug DeCarlo. It goes into great detail about everything you should know to get started with XPM, including tips for suggested meetings, dealing with stakeholders, and resolving project roadblocks.  Made the switch from TPM to XPM successfully — or even unsuccessfully? Tell us about your experience and what made you take the leap in the comments below. We'd love to learn from your first-hand account. Related Reads:How to Combat the 4 Main Sources of Scope Creep10 Phrases That Can Ruin Your Project Kickoff Meeting4 Tips to Improve Your Next Meeting Image credit: Designed by Freepik

What Are the Advantages of Waterfall Project Management?
Project Management 5 min read

What Are the Advantages of Waterfall Project Management?

When leaders organize processes for software development and other teams, the waterfall project management model and the Agile method are among the most common approaches. But before choosing between these two models, leaders need a strong understanding of how each provides certain advantages.

Say Goodbye to Gantt Charts in Excel With These Project Management Templates
Project Management 10 min read

Say Goodbye to Gantt Charts in Excel With These Project Management Templates

Manually building Gantt charts in Excel? Try Wrike’s project templates that give you the mobility, flexibility, and agility to adjust Gantt charts in real time.

6 Tips to Ensure You Never Miss Another Deadline
Productivity 7 min read

6 Tips to Ensure You Never Miss Another Deadline

When working on multiple deadlines, hitting every deadline can be hard. Find out how to create an effective project management delivery plan with Wrike.

7 Mission Critical Things to Consider When Building Your Project Plan
Project Management 10 min read

7 Mission Critical Things to Consider When Building Your Project Plan

You’ve just been put in charge of a big project. Before it starts to spiral into chaos, you need to introduce some structure and order — fast. What you need is a project plan.

The Complete Guide to Six Sigma Methodology
Project Management 7 min read

The Complete Guide to Six Sigma Methodology

Six Sigma methodology is a way to improve the quality of a business’ output. Here, we explain the Six Sigma process and how to implement it successfully.

Could Servant Leadership Benefit Your Project?
Collaboration 7 min read

Could Servant Leadership Benefit Your Project?

Servant leadership prioritizes employees’ growth and well-being. Discover the principles of servant leadership and how it can benefit your project and team.

The 3-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Project Management Methodology
Project Management 3 min read

The 3-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Project Management Methodology

There are an overwhelming number of project management methodologies, many of them combinations and hybrids of several approaches. With so many different options, how do you choose the right methodology for your project and team? We created a short Slideshare to walk you through it. Follow these 3 steps, and you won't have to rely on "eenie meenie miney mo" when it comes to choosing the best way to work. 3 Steps to Choosing a Project Management Methodology Once you're ready to dig into the specifics of top methodologies, download our free eBook The Beginner's Guide to Project Management Methodologies. It covers 16 popular approaches, provides key comparisons, and discusses the pros and cons of each practice. Want to stay up to date with all of our helpful Slideshare presentations? Follow us on Slideshare!

Scrum vs. Kanban Board: Which One Is Better for Building a Project Plan?
Project Management 7 min read

Scrum vs. Kanban Board: Which One Is Better for Building a Project Plan?

There's a lot of confusing project management jargon thrown around these days. We compare Scrum with Kanban Boards to determine the best methodology to plan your project.

Optimizing Project Productivity With Integrated Project Management
Productivity 5 min read

Optimizing Project Productivity With Integrated Project Management

Read and discover how Wrike’s innovative integrated project management system can help your company optimize its project workflows with ease and clarity. Project coordination becomes more efficient and streamlined with Wrike’s simple project management software.

What's Changing on the PMP Examination This November 2015?
Project Management 5 min read

What's Changing on the PMP Examination This November 2015?

UPDATE: The PMP exam update has been postponed till January 11th, 2016 to allow all examinees adequate time to prepare for the change. See the full announcement on the PMI website. Those aspiring to get their Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, take note: there will be changes to the PMP examination which will go into effect this November 2015. So if you're studying for the PMP exam with older material (i.e. the Exam Content Outline dated August 2011), you have until November 1st to use those materials and take the exam. After that date, the new PMP exam will be instated and you'll have to upgrade to the new Exam Content Outline (dated June 2015). Why is the PMP Exam Changing? The PMP exam is being updated because the role of the project manager continues to evolve. The exam is meant to reflect current practices. In fact, PMP certification exams are updated every three to five years to ensure they stay relevant for project managers. To update exams, a Role Delineation Study (RDS) is undertaken to examine the role of of the project manager and distill it down to key competency areas, such as domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills. The research done in the RDS is then validated by the larger PM community. In order to maintain certification as a PMP, you'll need a specific number of Professional Development Units (PDU). 60 PDUs are required over the course of three years, which can be earned by attending events, or accomplishing courses. What Was Updated? Here's a quick rundown: Overall, there are minor changes to terminology and language within many tasks. While the essence of these tasks remains the same, the language has been modified to fit current practice in the industry. A few tasks were removed from the prior version of the Exam Content Outline. Because they were dropped, the new PMP exam will not include related questions. The 5 domain areas remain the same, but there are shifts in how each area is weighted, meaning a corresponding change in the number of questions pertaining to each domain. For example: Domain 3 "Executing" has increased to 31%; this means there will be more questions on domain 3 than the previous version of the exam. The biggest change is the introduction of eight new tasks to the Exam Content Outline. See the chart below. Domain 1 has three new tasks (Task 2, 7 and 8), Domain 2 has one new task (Task 13), Domain 3 has two new tasks (Task 6 and 7), and Domain 4 has two new tasks (Task 6 and 7). To view all the changes in detail, see the latest Exam Content Outline (June 2015). Why Were These Changes Made? 1. To Focus More on Business Benefits & Benefits Realization There is an increased focus on business benefits, strategy, and benefits realization. This is because project managers are now being brought in at the earliest stages of projects when benefits analysis is conducted. Today's PMs often need ensure that the project focuses on business benefits rather than just delivering on time. 2. To Ensure Lessons are Learned Throughout the Project Lifecycle Another topic with added emphasis is lessons learned. Traditionally, PMs only discuss lessons learned during the initiation phase (lessons learned from past projects) and then again during the closing phase (lessons learned on this project). The focus is now on gleaning lessons learned throughout the entire project lifecycle. 3. To Reflect Who Really Creates the Project Charter The consensus now is that it's typically NOT the project manager who is solely responsible for creating the project charter. Instead, it's the sponsor or customer who creates and approves the project charter, while the PM acts as a contributor to its development and informs team members and other stakeholders about its contents. Parts of the exam were changed to reflect this shift. 4. To Underscore the Importance of Stakeholder Relationships Everyone now agrees that project managers build two-way relationships with stakeholders, instead of simply sending one-way communications and updates. The exam changes now place a greater emphasis on managing and engaging stakeholder relationships to effectively complete a project. What These Changes Mean Overall for the PMP Exam Expect to see 25% of the exam content cover new topic areas from those 8 added tasks. Also, expect a large percentage of the rest of the exam questions to be new and updated. Some things are not changing. The eligibility requirements remain the same: every PMP candidate needs to have 4,500 to 7,500 hours of experience in leading and managing projects, and should also have a total of 35 hours of formal project management education. The overall structure also remains the same. The PMP exam will still be made up of 200 multiple choice, scenario-based questions. How Are These Changes Affecting You? Are you taking the PMP exam soon? We'd like to hear how these changes are affecting your exam preparations. Are you already a PMP? What do you think of these changes? Drop us a comment below.