Project Methodology Madness and Confusion

Table of contents for Q&A Week

  1. Project Methodology Madness and Confusion

I received a great question from a subscriber to my PMP Guide newsletter about methodologies and frameworks.

He cited a bountiful list with a question of whether he needs to know all of these in and out:

  • Adaptive Project Framework
  • Agile software development
  • XP
  • FDD
  • ITIL
  • Lean Development
  • Scrum
  • Spiral
  • 10 Step
  • JAD
  • RAD
  • RDD
  • Crystal Method
  • DSDM
  • Waterfall
  • SDLC
  • Prince 2
Confused - by utpal. via Flickr
Confused - by utpal. via Flickr

While this list is a mixed bag of methodologies, frameworks, etc. my general advice is as follows to everyone who may be getting overwhelmed by the multitude of ways to “get r dun”.

Be Purposeful About Your Career Path

I would not be too concerned about learning every methodology or system out there.  I certainly haven’t looked into everything on this list.  There are a few I’m pretty sure I’ve never even heard of.

  • Take a look around where you work now.  What is available to you as a possible move to gain experience?  What do they use?  If your short-term career milestone involves a particular methodology or framework, get to know it well.  Be curious.  If they have documentation, read it.  Ask to volunteer your free time (unpaid) to help them.  Your pay is the learning and networking opportunities.  You may also get a great mentor out of it.
  • Take a look at the company or department you work in or WANT to work in 2-5 years in the future. Ask what they use and learn that. There are general project management principles that will apply more broadly, but depending on each individual implementation things change.
  • Alternatively, learn just a little about some of these and pick one that you find really interesting. Go after deeper knowledge about that one.  By becoming well versed in a specific way of doing projects (that you really enjoy) you can enter a niche in the job market you are really passionate about.  Once you learn one, it’s easier to learn others later on.

I hope that helps!

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2 thoughts on “Project Methodology Madness and Confusion”

  1. Josh,
    I agree with you that methodologies abound. However, they tend to be regional (PMI in North America, Prince in Europe) and industry based (Agile methods are more frequent in software development projects). Hence, it’s a good idea to study the method(s) that fit both the industry we want to work in, and the place where we want to work.

    1. Thanks for the comment Karine!

      That gets to my 2nd bullet point, be sure you know where you want to work and find out what’s important there. If a particular company is a part of your plan like your current company you can get very specific. Your company may not think much of PMI or Prince2, etc. Perhaps they have their own standards. If so, they probably have internal training available on that standard you should go after.

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