Waterfall, Kanban and Scrum Project Management Methodologies
First of all, there is no universally good (or bad) project management methodologies. Most of the methodologies merely provide guidelines which can be subject to different interpretations by different people (including different experts). When you need to run a project, you should do your best to select the project management methodology that is suitable for your project situation (e.g., people’s culture, organizational standards and constraints).
Even you select the “right” methodology for your project, you still need to do many things in order to succeed in your project. So you shouldn’t equate selecting the “right” methodology with being close to your project success. Perhaps it is only a very small step forward to your project success. On the other hand, there is no “absolutely wrong” methodology. If you are smart and experienced, you can make any methodology work for your project. For example, some people consider the Waterfall model is linear. In reality, most people using the Waterfall model were overlapping the phases and some were even using the Spiral Waterfall model which is close to Scrum with Sprints today. My point is that in project management history, successful project managers found ways to make their methodology work for their situation.
Although there is no universally good or bad methodology, certain methodologies are more suitable for certain types of projects and certain types of culture. For example, Agile or Scrum is more suitable for new product development especially when the product requirements are changing because new products continuously affect the market expectations. You should take that into account when you are selecting the methodology for your new project.
The Waterfall model allows you to define phases such as below:
Waterfall works great for projects with distinct phases that require fewer iterations throughout the project life cycle.
How to get started? Make a list of all the resources and deliverables that you’ll need in each phase. Preparation is key — make sure you have at least 75% things covered in the requirements, phase.
Kanban is one of the easiest project management techniques for first-time project managers.
The whole philosophy is in creating three columns (To Do, Doing, Done).
Then, you and your team can simply shift tasks from one column to another as you complete them.
Who should use Kanban? Anyone. It’s great as a tool, or as a stand-alone project management technique. It’s particularly successful for simpler projects, or project teams that are prone to multitasking.
How to get started? We recommend getting visual project management software such as 8Manage Kanban which offers Kanban boards. Then, make a list of activities, and assign them to different team members. When you complete a certain activity, move it to the ‘Done’ column.
Scrum is the most popular Agile project management methodology. About 60% projects in our industry using Agile are using Scrum and another 30% projects are using Scrum derivatives.
If you want to make sure every project deliverable comes out phenomenally, you should consider using Scrum.
With Scrum, you’ll be working in sprints. During each sprint, you’ll work on a particular deliverable/feature. Sprints shouldn’t last longer than 2 weeks, and you should hold daily status update meetings.
After the sprint, you should hold a review meeting, make suggestions for improving the next sprint, and keep going.
Who should use Scrum? Primarily, software development project teams, and project teams that work on complex development requirements requiring multiple iterations throughout the project life cycle.
How to get started? Use a Scrum project management software such as 8Manage Scrum to break down the project into specific deliverables / features. Work on one deliverable at a time during your sprint, and schedule them with task dependencies in mind.