What are Project Management Methodologies?

As a project manager, you know that you have many different ways to deliver your projects. Generally speaking, project managers can use different project management methodologies. Each one of them uses different project management frameworks, principles, themes, standards, and processes. Ultimately, the project management methodologies comparison may help you choose the right method, which depends on each project, client, and team. With project management methods such as Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, and Lean, organizations can tailor their project execution strategy to meet specific goals, adhere to timelines, and manage resources effectively, aligning with the unique demands and constraints of each project.

Top 6 Project Management Methodologies:

Here are the top 7 project management methodologies comparison that you can use to manage a project. We will also discuss the project management methodologies examples:

1. Waterfall Project Management Methodology:

The Waterfall methodology is a more traditional approach and it tends to be mostly used in the construction and manufacturing industries. According to this methodology, the project needs to be broken down into sequences that are all dependent. This means that the second phase will only start when the first one is completed. The Waterfall Methodology includes 5 different stages: idea engineering, system design, implementation, testing and validation, and maintenance.

Advantages of Waterfall Project Management Framework:

  • Clear Structure: The Waterfall framework provides a clear, linear structure, making it simple to understand.
  • Well-defined Documentation: Due to its systematic approach, each phase of the Waterfall model generates its own set of documentation.

Disadvantages of Waterfall Project Management Framework:

  • Inflexibility to Change: Once a phase is completed, it is challenging to go back and make changes.
  • Late Problem Discovery: Problems or mistakes in requirements, may not be discovered until the testing phase.

2. Agile Project Management Methodology:

The Agile Project Management framework is another famous project management method that also transforms the entire project into small cycles or phases. One of the main benefits of using Agile is that it is quite flexible. This way, it is perfect when you need to continuously adapt to changes according to the client’s feedback. The Agile project management methodology should be used in projects that require frequent interaction.

Advantages of Agile Project Management Framework:

  • Flexibility & Adaptability: Agile offers the ability to adapt to changes quickly and efficiently.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Continuous integration of customer feedback ensures the final product is more closely aligned with customer needs.

Disadvantages of Agile Project Management Framework:

  • Less Predictability: The flexible nature of Agile can lead to less predictability in terms of project cost and timeline.
  • Requires High Customer Engagement: The success of Agile often depends on the active participation of the customer.

3. PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments):

Originating in the UK, the PRINCE2 is widely accepted in this country and, just like Agile, it is incredibly flexible. When you are using this project management method, the project has a clearly defined output and there is a business justification for every project. One of the main goals of methodology is to have all the products delivered on time and within cost estimates, which are essential elements for successful project management. Before the project starts, each team member knows exactly their responsibilities.

Advantages of PRINCE2 Project Management Framework:

  • Controlled Start and End: Its structured framework ensures that every project has a predetermined start and endpoint.
  • Regular Reviews: This framework incorporates regular review processes at every stage.

Disadvantages of PRINCE2 Project Management Framework:

  • Rigidity: While its structured nature is beneficial, it is difficult to respond swiftly to changes.
  • Complexity: The framework can be complex to implement and understand.
project management methodologies

4. Kanban Project Management Methodology:

Kanban is another popular project management method that originates from lean manufacturing principles developed in Japan. Unlike Scrum, Kanban is a visual approach to managing work as it moves through a process, represented on a Kanban board. This board typically uses cards and columns to track progress and helps teams visualize workflow and identify any bottlenecks in real time.

Advantages of Kanban Project Management Methodology:

  • Flexibility in Task Management: Kanban allows for continuous delivery without overburdening team members, as new tasks can be added anytime.
  • Improved Visibility and Focus: The visual nature of the Kanban board helps team members stay informed about project status and priorities.

Disadvantages of Kanban Project Management Methodology:

  • Less Structure: Kanban requires a disciplined team to maintain focus and productivity without the structure of sprints.
  • Potential for Overload: Without strict limits on work-in-progress, teams can become overwhelmed, which reduces efficiency.

5. Scrum Project Management Methodology:

The Scrum project management methodology is based on the Agile framework and to start, it just needs planning. One of the main advantages of this project management method is the fact that it prevents delays in the product launch since the entire process is focused on team collaboration. Ultimately, using the Scrum method usually saves companies a lot of money and time.

With Scrum, however, the planning is just enough to kick off the project as it is based on the Agile framework that was discussed earlier. It’s a great way to prevent delays in product launches because the entire process focuses on team collaboration. The Scrum master facilitates the scrum sessions (sprints) which occur within a time frame of 1-3 weeks. The result is an iterative process that significantly saves the company a lot of time and money.

Advantages of Scrum Project Management Framework:

  • Increased Team Accountability: Scrum roles and daily stand-ups foster a sense of individual responsibility.
  • Regular Product Increment: With frequent sprints, a working product increment is delivered regularly.

Disadvantages of Scrum Project Management Framework:

  • Scope Creep: Without a proper vision and strong project owner, frequent iterations can lead to continuously changing goals.
  • Not Ideal for Large Teams: Scrum can become less effective for complex projects that require coordination across different groups.

6. Lean Project Management Methodology:

The Lean Project Management Framework is another approach that emphasizes creating more value for customers with fewer resources. Originating from lean manufacturing principles, the Lean method seeks to streamline production processes by eliminating waste—anything that does not add value to the end product.

The Lean Methodology uses three main principles: the Muda, which is about eradicating waste, the Mura, which is about eliminating variations, and the Muri, which is about removing overload. The main goal of the Lean Methodology is to change the way you operate with the main goal of delivering value.

Advantages of Lean Project Management Framework:

  • Efficiency: Lean project management aims to deliver products faster and more efficiently.
  • Continuous Improvement: Lean promotes constant process improvement, leading to higher-quality outcomes.

Disadvantages of Lean Project Management Framework:

  • Requires a Cultural Shift: Effective implementation of Lean principles requires significant changes to organizational culture and processes.
  • Limited Flexibility: While lean methods strive for efficiency, they can sometimes be less flexible in adapting to changes.
project management framework

Project Management Methodologies Comparison:

When comparing project management methodologies, it’s essential to consider their core principles and ideal applications.

  • Agile, for instance, is adaptive, prioritizing customer feedback and iterative progress. It’s suitable for projects requiring flexibility and rapid changes.
  • Waterfall, in contrast, is sequential, emphasizing meticulous planning and execution linearly, making it ideal for projects with well-defined stages and predictable outcomes.
  • Scrum, a subset of Agile, focuses on quick deliveries in sprints, fostering teamwork and accountability—perfect for projects with evolving requirements.
  • Lean targets waste reduction and value maximization, applicable to processes seeking efficiency and continuous improvement.

Project Management Methodologies Examples:


The waterfall methodology might be exemplified by the construction of a skyscraper where each phase, like blueprint creation, foundation setting, and construction, follows sequentially after the previous one is completed.


Agile could be demonstrated through a software development project where client feedback is integrated after each short phase of development, leading to continuous improvement of the product.


PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) might be applied to a government project, with a strong emphasis on roles and responsibilities, clear stages, and a focus on delivering a project in a controlled environment.


Scrum could be illustrated by a marketing team working on a new campaign, where they operate in two-week sprints to adapt quickly to market changes and stakeholder feedback.


Kanban is often seen in manufacturing process improvements, with visual boards to track workflow and limit work-in-process to enhance throughput.


Lastly, Lean might be represented in a company’s initiative to streamline their order fulfillment process, by eliminating non-value-adding steps and thus ensuring a faster and more cost-effective operation.

project management methodologies comparison

Expand Your Expertise to Tailor Project Management Methodologies

In light of the various project management frameworks available, professionals seeking to enhance their skills in this domain can benefit greatly from targeted educational programs. Pursuing a postgraduate diploma in project management provides a deep dive into the best practices and theoretical underpinnings of effective management strategies. Furthermore, structured PMP certification training offers rigorous preparation for one of the industry’s most recognized certifications, equipping individuals with the knowledge of how to select and tailor a project management framework that suits the unique constraints and objectives of their organization’s projects.

Summing Up:

Selecting a project management methodology is a big undertaking, but it’s also a necessary one. After all, it doesn’t matter how well your team is operating today if the way they work doesn’t fit the needs of tomorrow. With that in mind, the selected project management framework is the perfect opportunity to make sure your team is operating as effectively, efficiently, and productively as possible. To ensure this happens, it’s important to remember to be inclusive and collaborative throughout the process.