Introduction to Professional Project Management
Welcome to the exciting world of professional project management. Today, project management is encompassing almost all spheres of our lives. It can be as simple as preparing and completing a specialization study or as complicated as sending a mission to Mars. Irrespective of the size and complexity of projects, all the elements of project management are into play. While that is the case on one side, no two projects are same. Projects are unique in nature. The approach that suits a research and development project will not hold good for a metro rail project and vice versa. With that in mind, project management approaches can be broadly classified into;
- Agile / Adaptive project management
- Predictive project management
- Hybrid project management
Agile / Adaptive Project Management
In research and development projects, the scope and technology cannot be defined upfront and that calls for a project management approach which can incorporate changes very easily, even late in the project. Agile project management is the best approach for projects where requirements are evolving or technology is fast evolving or both. R&D projects, I.T projects, Marketing programs, Design and engineering phase of infrastructure projects are some examples of projects falling into this segment. Agile projects revolves around a series of iterations. Each iteration starts with a iteration planning meeting and ends with a iteration review and retrospective. There are several agile project management frameworks available like;
- Scaled Agile
- Disciplined Agile etc
Of these Scrum is the most popular one, as it domain agnostic and can be easily implemented in any domain.
Predictive Project Management
For projects like construction projects, incorporating changes late in the project is difficult. For example once the structure is built, it is difficult to make major changes which has an impact on the structure. Such projects calls for end to end planning from the start till end. All EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) projects fall into this category. Predictive Project Management is the right approach for such projects where the complete planning is completed before the start of major work.
Hybrid Project Management
In some projects both the agile and predictive styles are used concurrently. For example, the engineering and procurement phases of an EPC project can be following agile where as the construction phase follows predictive styles. These kind of combined approaches are collectively known as hybrid project management.
Choosing and tailoring the right project management approach is important for the success of projects. A wrong strategy will definitely impact the project negatively. Hence sufficient time spent in developing the project strategy is a good investment.
- Projects are unique in nature, hence there is no single best approach to manage all projects.
- If the requirements (scope) of the project is not clear and / or if the technology is not clear and if the domain allows for changes, then it is better to follow agile.
- If the requirements and technology are clear and if the project domain do not allow for changes easily, then predictive project management is better.
- Another possibility is hybrid project management, which is a combination of predictive and agile project management best practices.