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Top 15 Project Management Techniques in 2021

project management techniques

Project management techniques is defined as a roadmap to achieve the goals of the project. It ultimately makes the project completion process easier. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with various unknown variables in the project initiation phase. This is where project management techniques play an integral part in organizing the project into a logical set of activities or tasks. 

However, there are certain project management techniques involved in PMP Certification Training Course that a project management professional has to select from as per the project type and project team. Choosing the right techniques as per the project type leads to successfully meeting the goals and objectives of the project. 

In this article, let’s take a look at the top 10 project management techniques that project management professionals can choose from as per the project requirement.

Where We Can Use the Project Management Method

A project management professional requires in every organization irrespective of the industry. There is a growing demand for project managers to guide and lead the projects of the company. The project management methods are in use in a number of industries, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Construction
  • Information technology

Techcanvass also offers many other professional courses, To know more about our Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification visit our website.

Best Project Management Techniques

Here are some of the best project management techniques that a project manager can opt for project completion.

Work Breakdown Structure

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) divides and subdivides the project deliverables and the project work into smaller and more manageable components. The process of dividing and subdividing deliverables is consider as decomposition. These decomposed structures are known as work packages. These are the lowest levels of WBS. The degree of control, size, and complexity of the project will determine the level of detail for work packages and to effectively manage the project.

The decomposition of project work into work packages involves:

  • Identification and analysis of the deliverables and related work,
  • Structure and Organization of the WBS
  • Decomposition of upper-level WBS Components into lower-level detailed components 
  • Development and assignment of identification codes to the WBS components, and
  • Verification of degree of decomposition of the deliverables

There are different ways a WBS structure may create such as a top-down approach, guidelines provided in the organization, templates of WBS, and a bottom-up approach. Different forms can be use to represent the WBS such as:

  • Phases of the project life cycle and product & project deliverables can use as the second and third levels of decomposition respectively.
  • Major deliverables as the second level of decomposition

Who Should Use WBS? 

The work breakdown structure uses as a project management technique and project managers can utilize this technique to break down the project into smaller components for ease. 

How to Get Started?

In order to use the WBS, a project manager must start with the final deliverable of the project, and then determine the activities and tasks that the project team needs to accomplish the objectives of a project. The project manager must focus on dividing the tasks into smaller work packages until the tasks cannot be divided further.

Critical Path Method

The critical path method is a schedule network analysis estimation technique that uses to calculate the minimum duration of the project. It is the outline of tasks that represents the longest path through a project which determines the least possible duration. The critical path method uses to calculate the critical path(s) and the amount of total and free float or schedule flexibility on the logical network paths within the schedule model. This technique calculates the early start, early finish, late start, and late finish dates for all activities by performing a forward and backward pass analysis through the schedule network.

The longest path has the least total float—usually zero. The resulting early and late start and finish dates are not necessarily the project schedule; rather they indicate the periods within which the activity could be executed, using the parameters entered in the schedule model for activity durations, logical relationships, leads, lags, and other known constraints. The major drawback of this technique is that it does not take into account any resource limitations. 

Measurement of Schedule flexibility

On any network path, the total float or schedule flexibility can measure by the amount of time that a schedule activity can be a delay or extended from its early start date without delaying the project finish date or violating a schedule constraint. A critical path is normally characterized by zero total floats on the critical path. As implemented with the precedence diagramming method sequencing, critical paths may have positive, zero, or negative total float depending on the constraints applied. Positive total float causes when the backward passes calculate from a schedule constraint that is later than the early finish date that has been calculating during the forwarding pass calculation

. Negative total float causes when a constraint on the late date violates by duration and logic. Negative float analysis is a technique that helps to find possible accelerated ways of bringing a delayed schedule back on track. Schedule networks may have multiple near-critical paths. Many software packages allow the user to define the parameters used to determine the critical path(s). Adjustments to activity durations (when more resources or less scope can be arranged), logical relationships (when the relationships were discretionary, to begin with), leads and lags, or other schedule constraints may be necessary to produce network paths with a zero or positive total float.

Once the total float and the free float have been calculated. The free float is the amount of time that a schedule activity can be delay without delaying the early start date of any successor or violating a schedule constraint.

Who Should Use The Critical Path Method?

The Critical path method technique can be use for complex projects that involve a lot of task dependencies. However, the critical path method can be use as a tool and not just a project management technique.  

How to Get Started?

A project manager needs to focus on defining all the tasks of the project and linking certain tasks that are dependable on the completion of another task in the pipeline. This way, project management professionals can then create diagrams with time estimation for each task. 

Three-Point Estimating

The accuracy of single-point estimates (cost or duration) may be improved by considering estimation uncertainty and risk by using three estimates to define an approximate range for an activity.

  • Most Likely (M): The estimates of cost or duration based on analysis of the given resources likely to be assigned, their productivity, realistic expectations of availability for the activity, dependencies on other participants, and interruptions.
  • Optimistic (O): The estimates of cost or duration based on analysis of the best-case scenario for the activity.
  • Pessimistic (P): The estimates of cost or duration based on analysis of the worst-case scenario for the activity.

Depending on the assumed distribution of values within the range of the three estimates, the expected cost or duration, E, can be calculated using a formula. Two commonly used formulas are triangular and beta distributions. The formulas are:

Cost and Duration Estimates based on three points estimating with an assumed distribution provide an expected cost & schedule and clarify the range of uncertainty around the expected estimates.

Rolling Wave Planning

Rolling wave planning is an iterative planning technique in which the work to be accomplished in the near term is planned in detail, while work further in the future is planned at a higher level. It is a form of progressive elaboration applicable to work packages, planning packages, and release planning when using an agile or waterfall approach. Therefore, work can exist at various levels of detail depending on where it is in the project life cycle. During early strategic planning when information is less define, work packages may decompose to the known level of detail. As more is known about the upcoming events in the near term, work packages can be decompose into activities.

Agile Release Planning

Agile release planning provides a high-level summary timeline of the release schedule (typically 3 to 6 months) based on the product roadmap and the product vision for the product’s evolution. The Agile release planning also determines the number of iterations or sprints in the release and allows the product owner and team to decide. How much needs to be develop and how long it will take to have a releasable product based on business goals, dependencies, and impediments.

Since features represent value to the customer, the timeline provides a more easily understood project schedule as it defines which feature will be available at the end of each iteration, which is exactly the depth of information the customer is looking for.

Cost Variance

Cost Variance is the amount of budget deficit or surplus at a given point in time. It is a measure of cost performance on a project. It is expressed as the difference between Earned Value and Actual Cost. The cost variance at the end of the project will be the difference between the Budget at Completion (BAC) and the actual amount spent. A positive CV indicates the project is under planned cost. A negative CV indicates the project is over the planned budget. The CV is particularly critical because it indicates the relationship of physical performance to the costs spent. A negative CV is often difficult for the project to recover. The formula to calculate CV is mentioned below.

CV=EV-AC 

{CV is positive, a project is under planned cost  CV is neutral, a project is on planned cost   CV is negative, a project is over planned cost

Cost Performance Index

The Cost Performance Index is a measure of the cost-efficiency of the budgeted resources. It is expressed as a ratio of EV to AC. It is considered the most critical EVA metric and measures the cost efficiency for the work completed. ACP value less than 1.0 indicates a cost overrun for work completed. A CPI value greater than 1.0 indicates a cost underrun of performance to date. The formula to calculate CPI is mentioned below.

Schedule Variance

Schedule Variance is a measure of the schedule performance of a project. It expresses the difference between Earned Value (EV) and Planned Value (PV). A positive SV indicates the project is ahead of the planned schedule. A negative SV indicates the project is behind the planned schedule. It is the amount by which the project is ahead or behind the planned delivery dates, at a given point in time. The EVA SV is a useful metric in that it can indicate when a project is falling behind or is ahead of its baseline schedule. The EVA SV is best used in conjunction with Critical Path Method (CPM) scheduling and risk management. The formula to calculate the Schedule Variance is mentioned below.

SV=  EV-PV    {SV is positive, the project is ahead of schedule SV is neutral, the project is on schedule  SV is negative, a project is behind schedule   

Schedule Performance Index

Schedule Performance Index is a measure of schedule efficiency. It measures how efficiently the project team is accomplishing the work. It is expressed as the ratio of EV to PV. An SPI value less than 1.0 indicates less work has been completed than planned. An SPI greater than 1.0 indicates that more work has been completed than planned. It is sometimes use in conjunction with the Cost Performance Index (CPI) to forecast the final project completion estimates. Since the SPI measures all project work, the performance on the critical path also needs to be analyze to determine whether the project will finish ahead of or behind its planned finish date. The formula to calculate the Schedule Performance Index is mentioned below.

SPI=EVPV        {SPI>1.0, the project is ahead of schedule SPI=1.0, the project is on schedule             SPI<1.0, a project is behind schedule    

To-Complete Performance Index

The to-complete performance index (TCPI) is a measure of cost performance. It is require to achieve with the remaining resources in order to meet a specified management goal, expressed as the ratio of the cost to finish the outstanding work to the remaining budget. TCPI is the cost performance index that one can achieve on the remaining work to meet a specific management goal, such as the BAC or the EAC. If it becomes obvious that the BAC is no longer viable, the project manager should consider the forecasted EAC. Once approved, the EAC may replace the BAC in the TCPI calculation. The equation for the TCPI is based on the BAC: (BAC – EV) / (BAC – AC).

The TCPI is conceptually displayed in Figures 7-13. The equation for the TCPI is visible in the lower left as the work remaining (define as the BAC minus the EV) divide with the funds remaining (which can be either the BAC minus the AC, or the EAC minus the AC).

If the cumulative CPI falls below the baseline (as shown in Figure 7-13), all future work of the project will need to be performe immediately in the range of the TCPI (BAC) (as reflected in the top line of Figure 7-13) to stay within the authorized BAC. Whether this level of performance is achievable is a judgment call based on several considerations. It includes risk, time remaining in the project, and technical performance. This level of performance displays as the TCPI (EAC) line. The equation for the TCPI is based on the EAC: (BAC – EV) / (EAC – AC). The EVM formulas are provided in Table 7-1.

Gantt Charts 

Gantt charts are one of the very first project management techniques that can follow for some time. Furthermore, It is a graphical representation of all the tasks and activities of a project that the team needs to complete for project success. 

Through Gantt charts, a project team will be able to determine the time span for each task. Check task dependencies, and thereby act accordingly. 

Who Should Use Gantt Charts? 

Gantt charts we can use as an organizational tool as well as a standalone project management technique. It is used by the project team. 

How to Get Started?

There are several project management tools that you can use to view Gantt charts for a project. The tools require you to enter the project data and then you will get a visual representation of the data in the form of a Gantt chart. 

However, it is important to have a clear structure of the project data before entering the data for the Gantt chart. It can be possible through a work breakdown structure. 

You can sign up for a free trial on Microsoft project central to get start with Gantt charts. 

Waterfall

Waterfall as the name suggests is a project management technique where the tasks of a project flow through 5 following phases:

  • Requirements- It involves all the necessary data of the project.
  • Design- It includes using a work breakdown structure to define the list of tasks in a project.
  • Implementation- Starting the task completion process.
  • Verification- Review the deliverables once completed.
  • Maintenance- It involves maintaining the deliverables and modifying them if needed. 

Who Should Use The Waterfall Method? 

The waterfall project management technique is suitable for projects with clear project phases. It does not require many iterations during the project life-cycle. However, if the project requires constant modifications or re-discussing the scope of the project during the project life cycle, then waterfall is not a suitable technique. 

How to Get Started? 

A project team can employ the waterfall technique by following these steps:

  1. The project team needs to gather all the necessary resources and deliverables for each phase of the waterfall.
  2. Covering all the tasks in the requirement and design phase can ease the further process of the waterfall. 

Hence, If you want to learn more about the Waterfall technique, check out our other blog on Agile vs Traditional Project Management, which outlines the steps in your project management journey.

Kanban

A Kanban is a recommended project management technique for beginners or first-time project managers. 

Kanban involves creating three simple columns:

  1. To-do
  2. Doing
  3. Done

The project team simply keeps on adding the tasks to the respective columns on completion. Kanban is a great project management technique to support the monitoring and management of projects by focusing on continuous delivery without overloading the team. Kanban enables the project team to operate effectively and efficiently.

Who Should Use Kanban? 

Kanban can use as an organizational tool or as a simple project management technique. A Kanban is suitable for simple projects rather than complex ones. 

How to Get Started? 

You can opt for project management software that offers Kanban boards. Then all you have to do is create a list of tasks, assign them to particular teams, and on completion move each task to the done column. 

PERT

The program evaluation and review technique (PERT) is largely favorable due to its visualization characteristics. so, The PERT technique involves creating graphical charts of the project life cycle. It involves tracking the milestones and the progress of the project. 

PERT technique is suitable for long-term projects as it becomes easier in order to see the physical timeline of a challenging project. PERT charts can also help the project teams to efficiently evaluate time for each task, the resources needed. It creates new plans as the project progresses. 

How to Use A PERT Chart?

Since PERT charts are usually very detail manner, there are a few things that you must consider to ensure overall accuracy. 

  • Paying attention to visuals: Different visuals in a PERT chart indicate different segments. For instance, the arrows in the chart indicate the flow of tasks/events, the dotted lines indicate the tasks or activities that occur on a separate path outside the timeline. Also, the numbering and timing are mention inside each segment. 
  • Timing: It involves using certain terms to indicate the time for each event. For instance, optimistic time is use for the least possible time taken by the project. Pessimistic time is use for the longest possible time for the project. On the other hand, there is most likely time that it needs to use in order to estimate the best possible time for project completion. While expected time is use to take into account several unanticipated challenges that might delay the project. 

Scrum

Scrum is one of the most popular project management techniques out there. Using the scrum technique, the project team works in sprints by estimating the time required for each deliverable. 

The sprints don’t last for more than 2 weeks and the team members hold regular meetings for updating the progress of the project. 

After completion of each spring, review meetings are held for suggestions or feedback. So, how the team can improve the next sprint. 

Who Should Use Scrum? 

The Scrum project management technique is suitable for complex projects that have many iterations during the project life cycle. 

How to Get Started? 

The project team can start by breaking down the project with the help of WBS. After working on each task/deliverable at a time during the sprint cycle. 

Should You Use Project Management Software For These Techniques?

There is various project management software for implementing the above-mentioned project management techniques. Project management software can come in handy if the projects are lengthy and complex. 

You can use a project management software, if:

  • The project consists of multiple tasks and a large team: A visualization project management software is suitable if you are using techniques such as Kanban or Gantt charts as it helps in minimizing the time taken for manually creating the visuals for the project. One such visualization project management software is Asana, which is a great option in order to view a clear outline of individual activities of a project. 
  • You foresee uncertain events during a project: A project management software can be helpful if you are anticipating events outside your control. 
  • Taking care of multiple projects: If you are leading more than one project, then project management software can help keep a track of all the projects. 

You can forego the project management software, If:

  • Your project is simple: If you have a simple project that only requires simple project management techniques such as waterfall, then you don’t require project management software. 
  • Your team is small: You don’t require project management software. So, if you are working on a project with a small team as you don’t have to keep track of a large group of people.

Picking the Right Project Management Method

Furthermore, You will come across different projects that will require the use of different project management techniques. So, In such a situation, your skills and knowledge of different techniques. It will play an integral role in picking the right methods for each project. 

Here we are listing a few things that you should consider before you pick the right project management method for your project. 

  • Budget for the project 
  • Number of team members and types of teams participating in a project.
  • Resources required and available to complete the project
  • Anticipated changes for the project
  • Structure rigidity
  • Project restrictions and drivers
  • Risk level and the likelihood of occurrence
  • Type of project and its difficulty level

Considering the above requirements, choose the project management technique that is best suitable for the project you are about to work on.

Conclusion

The purpose of project management techniques is in order to assist the project team in project completion. It is done by making it easier to understand and more manageable. The above-mentioned techniques are also some of the most widely used in project management. So, It has proved to be beneficial for successfully meeting the goals of a project. 

so, To ease the use of these techniques, there are several project management software. It allows the project team to keep a tab on the project’s progress. Here is a list of project management software that you can check out. 

However, not every project requires the need of project management software, in the case of simple projects. Using relevant project management techniques can easily help complete the project within time. 

 

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