How to Choose the Right PM Method

How to Choose the Right PM Method

By: Scott Major
Senior Project Controls Specialist

We’ve all heard the cliché of insanity being the practice of doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Though overused, it is often applicable and that is especially true in project management. How often have you been part of a team or an organization that has done something because it has always been done that way, knowing that the results or process to produce the results were less than desirable. Often our application of a project management methodology is a great example of insanity. Today, the most commonly discussed project management methods are traditional and agile. But what if we keep applying the wrong methodology for the project?

To determine which methodology will work best for your project, consider these 4 questions.

  1. Do stakeholders and the project team have a good understanding of what is to be produced to meet requirements?
  2. Do stakeholders and the project team have a good understanding of the execution process to meet requirements
  3. Are stakeholders focused upon you providing a step by step projection and status of this endeavor?
  4. Do stakeholders perceive the scope, schedule and budget to be known and reasonably constrained?

If you answered YES to all of these then a traditional project management methodology is generally better suited for your project or endeavor. However, if you answered NO to these questions then an agile project management methodology may be a better fit. If your answers were a mix of yes and no, or if you struggled to answer the questions, then the best fit is not as straight forward.

If you were building a fence at your house, you likely could have answered yes to all of those questions and so a traditional project management methodology would be a good fit. However, if your task was to remodel your kitchen then you could have easily answered no to the above questions, even though I’m sure every family would want to know exactly how long and how much a kitchen remodel might cost.

One of the big differences is understanding what we know and what we don’t know. Agile project management attempts to bring order to the chaos of not knowing. Traditional project management is fundamentally rooted in the assumption that we know what we are going to do before we do it. Sure, change is expected and provision in traditional project management exists for it, but change is embraced by agile concepts.

Neither methodology is better than the other. These methodologies are simply tools for project managers to use and to fit best to each unique project. A butter knife is a fantastic tool for applying butter to bread, but you wouldn’t use it to cut down a tree.

Starting this year, we should all make a resolution to apply the right methods to the right projects regardless if that is how we’ve always done it.

About the Author

By | 2018-04-23T13:22:56+00:00 April 23rd, 2018|BLOG|0 Comments

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Misty Mayes bio

Misty Mayes, PMP

Founder and President

Misty Mayes founded Management Solutions, LLC (MSLLC) in 2002. Along with being a successful entrepreneur and project management professional

, Misty is a true servant leader who lives her life and runs her company with a firm belief that “to whom much is given, much is expected.” It’s a principle that’s engrained in the culture of her company and one she puts into action every day.


Business Leader

Misty took a real leap of faith to form Management Solutions. Misty left a soaring career as vice president of Programs/Project Controls for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to start Management Solutions.  She wanted to build a company that showed compassion to its employees, customers and to the greater community; and would strive for nothing less than excellence in everything it did. In her continuous effort to do this, she has received many significant awards, including:


– 2004 ORNL Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

– 2006 Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Service firm of the Year

– 2006 DOE Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

– 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2012 Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Award of Excellence

– 2009 Innovation Valley Technology Council Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year

– 2012 SBA Subcontractor of the Year on the state, regional and national levels

– 2013 Pinnacle Woman-Owned Small Business Excellence Award

– 2014 and 2015 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Small Business Award

– 2017 Knoxville News Sentinel Top Workplace Award

– 2017 Knoxville’s Most Impactful Small Business Award


Community Champion
Misty uses her knack and experience in problem solving to encourage and empower others to also serve their community. She dedicates her time and energy to multiple programs that champion excellence in project management and small business, mentoring, community, and cancer research and development.   Among the many are:


University of Tennessee College of Engineering – Misty recently accepted the position of Chair of the college’s board of advisors, beginning in the fall of 2018.  Misty has also co-chaired a new program that brings together female engineering students, female engineering faculty members and female engineers from industry to help the university attract and retain top female students and faculty.


Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) – Misty serves as chair on WIPP’s Leadership Advisory Council. Also, she was recently named the co-chair of WIPP’s healthcare committee that will be on the forefront of working with the Trump administration on trying to make sure all women business owners have a voice in the changes being made to the Affordable Care Act.


Restoration House of East Tennessee – On the Board since 2010, and the chair in 2014, Misty and her team continue to volunteer their talents and time to this worthwhile organization that provides temporary housing and a hand-up to single mothers and their children.


Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Misty’s involvement in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society comes out of a personal commitment she has to battling these diseases after losing her father to an 18-year battle with Leukemia.


Misty was born and raised in Knoxville, Tenn.  She has a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Tennessee.  She and her husband, Sam have three sons, and enjoy spending time together on the golf course, hiking in the Smoky Mountains and cheering on the UT Vols.


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