10 Selecting the right project management methodology: Is there such a thing?

Learning Outcomes

  • Conceptually map the key strategies to evaluate project management methodologies.
  • Analyse the process of selecting a project management methodology.
  • Assess the criteria involved in selecting a project management methodology.










Let’s start this module by reading the article titled ‘One size does not fit all: choosing the right project approach’ by Burgan and Burgan (2014) which highlights the core message of this book – every project is unique and methodologies cannot be prescribed. On the contrary, choosing a methodology that fits with your project is a self-organised process and one which involves the collaboration of key project stakeholders.


The reality is that it does not matter how you choose a methodology for your project. What does matter is that the methodology aligns with the business strategy and overall goals. Project management methodologies (PMM) and frameworks are only advantageous when they are implemented pragmatically. Things will go horribly wrong if you simply remove them from the shelf (i.e., use existing templates) and force them on the organisation. However, if you study and comprehend the methodology/framework, adapt it to the organisation’s strategies and needs, and implement it correctly, as a project manager you will produce something of value. Project management techniques and frameworks will be beneficial only if you use a practical strategy to execute them. When a framework or approach is imposed on a project, the outcome will be negative.

The organisation’s implementation of project management practices may have a substantial influence on project results and team productivity. It is essential to be deliberate about your company’s project management practices to teach your project team effectively and get the required results. The following are key strategies to consider when selecting the most appropriate methodology:

  1. Evaluate the project’s requirements

Make sure you obtain clear information on the project’s objectives and resource availability. Creating a detailed summary of the project requirements can make it easy to evaluate which method best matches the organisation’s strategy and requirements. Gather as much information as possible.

  1. Consider the risks and benefits

Create forecasts based on your experience and existing project data regarding the potential risks and success probabilities associated with each method. The approach with the greatest potential for success may also have the greatest chance of failure; thus, you should discuss this with your team and determine how much risk to assume.

  1. Identify some of the key variables

Determine which factors are most crucial to the success of your project after you have a fundamental grasp of its constraints. This will help you prioritise different components of the project, allowing you to select a project management method style that aligns with the organisation’s primary objectives.

  1. Identify the project type

Choosing a project management technique should be driven by the sort of project you are managing. As the project manager you need to take into consideration the length and complexities of the project as well as the delivery timeline. Additionally, you must collect the overall budget, the project goals, the client’s requirements, viable risks, team members’ capabilities, asset inventory, and stakeholders’ influence and align all these with the organisation’s strategy.

  1. Evaluate the project complexities

The project manager needs to evaluate the difficulty of executing various jobs. Some projects require extra resources and specific skills. You need to assess if the organisation has the essential assets and assess whether the project may require scaling during the course of its execution.

A common problem that arises when evaluating methods is when an organisation adopts a trending methodology just because it is popular. It is the responsibility of the project manager to undertake a detailed evaluation of the key points suggested above and present a comparative report of at least two matching methodologies to the organisation and the project team. Once you have a better understanding of the scope of your project, you will have a better notion of which type of method will best suit your team’s requirements. Start analysing the advantages and disadvantages of various project management approaches, taking into account whether you’re working on a simple or complex project, the elements influencing the delivery of the project, the criteria that may influence certain facets of each approach and whether the project management method enables you to fulfil your organisation’s needs and requirements.

Just remember: selecting the appropriate project management approach is crucial to your team’s ability to execute projects on time and under budget.

Figure 38 shows the suggested steps to determine the most appropriate project management approach. This can be conducted after considering the 5 strategies discussed above.

Figure 38. Guided steps for selecting a methodology, by Carmen Reaiche and Samantha Papavasiliou, licensed under CC BY (Attribution) 4.0

We can compare a methodology to a road plan or set of blueprints for a project, since it provides teams with a set of instructions and procedures that aims to deliver a project to a successful end. Therefore, selecting the right methodology is a critical but also a complex step. This is due to the numerous types of project methods that have emerged to fulfil the requirements of diverse sectors and organisations. In this eBook, we have briefly discussed some of the key project management methodologies: PRINCE2, Critical Path Management, Waterfall, Agile, Scrum, eXtreme PM, Kanban and others. But we are unable to tell you which one is best because each methodology will fit each type of project and all of this is a unique process only known when all the information is gathered and the project manager and their team assess the steps suggested in Figure 37. Project management methodologies are therefore fundamentally distinct approaches to managing a project. Each has its own procedure and workflow matching a unique project.

The following article, ‘The methods of selection of the project management methodology’, by Kononenko and Kharazii (2014) provides approaches for selecting methodologies that are applicable under various situations, reviewing their strengths and shortcomings, and the scope of their efficient usage. Please take time to read it.

Overall, optimising the project’s scope is the most exact criterion for selecting a project management methodology. To this end, it is necessary to optimise the project scope based on 5 criteria: profit, cost, time, quality, and risks, subject to the use of one of the basic approaches that narrows the list of proposed methodologies to a small number.

Test your knowledge

Let’s conclude by viewing the following video summarising some of the key PMM and why to choose each project management methodology

Video [3 mins,  29 sec]   Note: Closed captions are available by selecting the CC button in the video below.

Key Takeaways

  • The sort of project or process you manage is the determining element for the appropriate method.
  • You must recognise that establishing a technique or framework requires years of laborious effort.
  • With the right PMM in place, the team will be able to get to work fast, standardise outputs, and make quicker decisions.
  • PMM should assist with discovering and managing opportunities and threats.
  • PMM should aid in defining project objectives and scope by embracing the best practices of all project management group procedures.



Burgan SC and Burgan, DS (2014). ‘One size does not fit all: Choosing the right project approach’, paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2014—North America, Phoenix, AZ, Project Management Institute, Newtown Square, PA.

Kononenko I and Kharazii A  (2014) ‘The methods of selection of the project management methodology’,  International Journal of Computing, 13(4):240–247.


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Management Methods for Complex Projects Copyright © 2022 by Carmen Reaiche and Samantha Papavasiliou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.