VisionFlow is a very flexible system, supporting most Project Management methodologies on the market.
You can here find a brief introduction on some of the methodologies available on the market. However, VisionFlow is not limited by these, but is so flexible that it supports most of the available methodologies.
Traditional Project Management (Waterfall model)
The waterfall model is an approach that clearly divided into stages, starting with an extensive planning work. What is supposed to be the end result is described in the beginning of the project which is also one of the advantages of this process. One of the disadvantages is that it usually takes much work to add changes to what the end result will be using this method.
Waterfall development has distinct goals for each phase of development where each phase is completed for the next one is started and there is no turning back.
The perceived advantages of the waterfall process is that it allows for departmentalization and managerial control. A schedule is typically set with deadlines for each stage of development and a product can proceed through the development process. In theory, this process leads to the project being delivered on time because each phase has been planned in detail.
Agile Project Management
Agile software development is a conceptual framework mainly used in software development projects. There are a number of agile software development methodologies e.g. Crystal Methods, Dynamic Systems Development Model (DSDM) and Scrum.
The idea around agile methods is to attempt to minimize risk in the project by developing functionality in iterations (time periods of typically 1-4 weeks). After each iteration, a small software release is done. The iteration includes everything that is included in a larger project, such as planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation.
After each iteration, the team goes through the activities in the list to prioritize and choose what should be included in the next iteration.
Agile methods emphasize realtime communication, preferably face-to-face, over written documents, including scheduled open daily meetings to update the colleagues on the progress.
Most members of an agile team are located in the same room or at least close to each other. This encourages the face-to-face communication.
It is very common to release very little documentation when working with an agile method (comparing to other methods).
When describing how to work with a project using Agile Project Management we are going to use Scrum as example.
Project Management using Lean
Lean project management is the comprehensive adaption of other lean concept like lean construction, lean manufacturing and lean thinking into project management context. Lean project management has many ideas in common with other lean concepts; however the main principle of lean project management is delivering more value with less waste in project context. Lean project management has many techniques in order to be applied into projects and one main method is standardization.
This usually means having a stronger control on roles and responsibilities than traditional project management, resulting in a very strong Work Breakdown Structure, identifying which team members hold responsibilities for various deliverables and milestones.
It also means that you measure almost everything, to be able to identify where to eliminate waste.
Except for eliminating waste, there are a few more principles of Lean Project Management:
- Amplify learning: It is important that all project memebers are educated in the project process, to make them understand the rationales for planning and for meassuring success.
- Decide late, deliver fast: Keep the teams focused on small lists of manageable deadlines and once decided what exactly to do, implement so that it is done. But don't decide too soon, so that you konw that what you are implementing is just what you want. This way you will always be open for new creative ideas during the project.
- Empowerment, Respect, Integrity: It is important to have strong leadership and that the process is not doubted. This also means that you should go through what went wrong during the process, to be able to identify how to do this better the next time.
- Seeing the whole: Looking at the big picture is the most crucial component of Lean Project Management, making it important to trust the overall project plan. It also gives the ability to trust the tools giving the overall progress of the project.
Project Management using PMBOK
The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK - Published by PMI) is a collection of processes and knowledge areas. PMBOK recognises 5 basic process groups and 9 knowledge areas typical of almost all projects. The basic concepts are applicable to projects, programs and operations.
Much of PMBOK is unique to project management e.g. critical path and work breakdown structure (WBS) while some areas overlap with other management disciplines.
Processes are described in terms of:
- Inputs (documents, plans, designs, etc.)
- Tools and Techniques (mechanisms applied to inputs)
- Outputs (documents, products, etc.)
- The five process groups are:
- Monitoring and Controlling
- The nine knowledge areas are:
- Project Integration Management
- Project Scope Management
- Project Time Management
- Project Cost Management
- Project Quality Management
- Project Human Resource Management
- Project Communications Management
- Project Risk Management
- Project Procurement Management
Project Management using PRINCE2
PRINCE2 is a processed-based project management methodology.The Project Board is responsible for the project from a high-level point of view and there is a Project Manager responsible for the day-to-day management. The Project Manager answers to the Project Board but is left alone during the detailed management.
The key features of PRINCE2 are:
- Its focus on business justification
- A defined organisation structure for the project management team
- Its product-based planning approach
- Its emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages
- Its flexibility to be applied at a level appropriate to the project.
PRINCE2 consists of 8 high-level processes:
- Directing a Project
This is where the responsibilities of the project are decided.
The planning process is following the whole project.
- Starting up a Project
This is a process to ensure that the project is set up correctly and if it is worth running.
- Initiating a Project
To have the project approved, it needs to be planned to show how it meets the project goals.
- Controlling a Stage
Prince2 projects are divided into stages to get a better control of the project. This process covers the day-to-day management of the project.
- Managing Product Delivery
Since PRINCE2 is a product based system, a product can be a physical item like a book or it can be an intangible such as a service agreement. This process where the products are created and therefore where most of resources are used.
- Managing Stage Boundaries
In PRINCE2, each stage needs to be completed and approved before the next stage is started. This is handled in this process.
- Closing a Project
In PRINCE2, projects must be closed down in a controlled way. This involves evaluating the project's results. Any lessons learned are recorded, a handover document is created if necessary, and a post implementation review is planned.