7 Most Popular Project Management Types and When to Use




As a project manager when you start analyzing about the new project, what do you think? Which is the most important step to perform? Giving you is a hint; this is a base of any project. What you don’t realize, is one of the most stressful parts of any project. It is to ensure that you’ve chosen the right project management type. By the end of this article, you will get complete information about 7 most popular project management types and when to use them.

Remember, without choosing a right project management methodology, a project may got delayed, run into various roadblocks, may be captured by risk events which cannot be resolved. It can completely go off the road to success. Picking the wrong project management methodology is like feeding vegetarian food to a non-vegetarian wild animal who is accepting your decision anyhow.



Table of Contents


Different Project Management Methodologies

The goal of every project management methodology is to make project successful. As already mentioned, correct project management type selection is important because wrong selection can divert project on wrong path of failure. Let’s see 7 most popular project management types now.


Waterfall Project Management

Waterfall project management was first introduced in 1970. It is classic, oldest and sequential project management methodology but still used by many development teams in various organizations for example construction and manufacturing. Waterfall believes in predictive approach of development. This style involves working in waves where each phase is dependent upon output of previous phase.

Organization Governance and Project Governance

Waterfall project management is slower that other comparative project management methodologies. It is helpful for those projects, which expects predictability or very less changes till the time project delivers product/services.

One point to be noted here is trying to adapt Waterfall with Agile principles can be dangerous for end users, clients, and customers.



However, the Waterfall method is still commonly used around the world as an effective method of project management. In fact, one study found that it is still more widely used than Agile, with 53% of projects using Waterfall.

When to use Waterfall Project Management methodology

Waterfall works well when:

  1. The requirements for the project are very clear.
  2. Project has inflexible deadlines.
  3. Technological components are simple and easily understood. Use of chosen technology is already proved success of project.
  4. Project is short and relatively uncomplicated.
  5. Project team is large in size or subject to change.
  6. System failure would harm or damage a group of people.


Agile Project Management

It is originally created in 2001 by Agile Manifesto. Agile Project Management methodology was developed as a solution to inadequacies of the older Waterfall Method.



Agile don’t suggest for specific process to be followed in the project. It tells about thinking for solutions, changing the processes and adapting to situations as they occur. It inspires for service more than authorities. Along with these points, it serves as an umbrella for several other project management methods, including Scrum, Kanban, and Lean.

Project Life Cycle and Development Life Cycle

When to use Agile Project Management methodology

Agile works well when:

  1. Requirements or deliverables are not clearly defined by clients.
  2. Clients or stakeholders have high involvement in the work process.
  3. Frequent changes in work-flow are possible.
  4. Team members collaborate frequently and effectively.


Scrum Project Management

Scrum is one of the most popular framework of Agile project Management. It works to speed the development and communication through cross-functional team. This type of project management focuses on short span of time to complete the work for example maximum time interval defined for a Scrum event Daily Scrum is 15 minutes.

Difference between Project Manager and Scrum Master

When to use Scrum Project Management methodology

Scrum works best when:

  1. Projects generally take less than one month to complete.
  2. Team size does not exceed eight to nine people.
  3. Project requirements are not clearly defined.
  4. The possibility of some change during a project is high.
  5. Individual team members are independent workers.


Kanban Project Management

Kanban method was originated in the 1940s on a Toyota manufacturing line in Japan and was created as a way to better compete with American car production.

It is also a form of agile project management methodology focuses on organization whereas Scrum focuses on time. The goal of the Kanban method is to achieve higher output with lower production times.



Kanban works on the principle of no changes to current processes pursue small and incremental changes if needed. This should not be the changes in current roles or titles. It encourages leadership at all levels.

The focus of implementing the Kanban method is on the Kanban Board. This can either be a physical or digital board and should be used to accurately track the flow of tasks in the system.

The three main sections of the Kanban Board are:

  1. To-Do: tasks not yet completed by the team
  2. In-Progress: tasks currently being worked on.
  3. Done: tasks recently completed.

The benefits of Kanban Project Management methodology is non-disruptive to current processes, gradual changes and reduce cycle time.

Kanban can help companies manage projects that take up most of their resources. Teradata, an analytics and consulting services company, found Kanban preferable to Scrum after noticing that Scrum Management did not accommodate for larger projects. After implementing the Kanban Method, the Teradata team was able to complete a project one month early and under budget.

Also ReadResponsibilities of Project Manager

When to use Kanban Project Management methodology

Kanban method works well when:

  1. Current processes cannot be changed easily.
  2. Projects or priorities change often.
  3. Projects are typically large and take more than a month to complete.


Lean Project Management

As the name implies, Lean is also a form of agile project management methodology focuses on efficiency. The goal of Lean Project Management is to create the most value for customers and clients while reducing waste and using fewer resources.

If your small business needs an improvement in overall efficiency, the Lean method could help you reduce unnecessary tasks and focus on those that really matter to the client.

When to use Lean Project Management methodology

Lean method works well when:

  1. The project is relatively small and has a short lifespan.
  2. Past projects have gone over budget or projected lifespan.
  3. The project is relatively simple to complete.


Six Sigma Project Management

Six Sigma Project Management focuses on improving the quality of output. It can be added to other project management techniques to improve the overall process of a business.

Portfolio, Program and Project Management

The goal of Six Sigma is continuous improvement.

The benefits of Six Sigma Project Management are to enable projects customer focused, reduction of wastages, quality improvement.



More than half of all Fortune 500 companies use Six Sigma. General Electric implemented Six Sigma Project Management in 1995 after turning their focus towards product quality. After a five-year implementation period, General Electric reported $12 billion savings.

With large companies seeing great success under the Six Sigma framework, it’s likely that a small business could also benefit from the process.

When to use Six Sigma Project Management methodology

  1. Customer loyalty and retention is dropping.
  2. Projects have strict deadlines.
  3. Data about a project or process is readily available.


PRINCE2 Project Management

PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects in Controlled Environments. It defines projects and divides them into manageable stages. It’s used primarily by the British government and private sector in the United Kingdom. Basically, it uses a product-based approach.



The benefits of PRINCE2 are flexibility, clarity and standardization. If the organization is struggling to maintain control of details, adopting the PRINCE2 method could help eliminate errors.

Project Manager Interview Question: How to estimate costs in project management?

When to use PRINCE2 Project Management methodology

PRINCE2 works best when:

  1. Projects can be easily divided into smaller tasks
  2. Team members have defined roles
  3. A board or top-level management figure is available


How to Choose a Project Management Methodology

As you know, every business is different and has unique environment. So the question is how do you choose a method to suit your specific needs?

When you are evaluating different project management methodologies to chose one of them for your project, consider the following factors:

  1. Strategic goals
  2. Core values
  3. Business drivers
  4. Constraints
  5. Stakeholders
  6. Risks
  7. Project complexity
  8. Project size/scope

Once you have evaluated and documented these, it’s time to test a method. Follow these general steps:

  1. Identify goals and priorities of the project.
  2. Note all factors a method might impact.
  3. Determine which methods are most relevant.
  4. Compare and contrast each method for your project.
  5. Identify which method offers the best results with the least risk.
  6. Inform stakeholders and get feedback.
  7. Document the chosen method and choice rationale.
  8. Implement the methodology as dictated by that method.
  9. Monitor project and make adjustments as needed.
  10. Review completed project.




You have now received complete information about 7 most popular project management types. Article has also described, when to use each of them. It also tells how to select right project management type for your project. In case of any query, please use comment box below the post.

Remember, correct selection is very important.



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About Satyendra Mishra

Microsoft certified, motivated, energetic and accomplished SharePoint Consultant and Architect with 13+ years of work experience in Management, Architecture, Analytics, Development and Maintenance. He has been fortunate to be a part of over 20+ Web/Mobile/Software SharePoint and .Net projects delivery with various companies across different industry sectors. This has provided him a valuable insight and experience especially in successful implementation of technology solutions. Having very strong System Architecture, Technological, Management & Analytical Skills, Knowledge of Office 365, SharePoint, .Net, JavaScript, React, Angular, Azure, SQL. In 2016, he decided to start sharing the knowledge back to society in the form for content writing and blogging.
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