Approaches in Project Management
April 2009

Approaches in Project Management

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Traditional Approach
The traditional approach of project management identifies a sequence of steps to be completed. These can be distinguished as 5 components (4 stages and a control phase) in the development of a project. These are – (i) Project initiation stage; (ii) Project planning or design stage;(iii) Project execution or production stage; (iv) Project monitoring and controlling systems; (v) Project completion stage.

It is not necessary that all projects will go through every stage as projects can be terminated before they reach completion. Some projects probably won’t have the planning and/or the monitoring. Some projects may go through certain steps multiple times. Many industries utilise variations in stages to suit their specific need. For instance, in software development, this approach is often known as the ‘Waterfall Model (i.e. doing one series of tasks after another in linear sequence). In software development, many organizations have adapted the ‘Rational Unified Process’ (RUP) to fit this methodology, although RUP does not require or explicitly recommend this practice. Waterfall development can work for small tightly defined projects, but it is not very suitable for larger projects of undefined or unknowable scope.

Critical Chain Project Management:

Critical Chain Project Management is a method of planning and managing projects that puts more emphasis on the resources required to execute project tasks. It is an application of ‘Theory of Constraints’ to project management. The goal is to increase the rate of throughput of projects. Under this approach, system constraints for projects are identified as resources. To exploit the constraints, tasks on the critical chain are given priority over all other activities. Finally, projects are planned and managed to ensure that critical chain tasks are ready to start as soon as the needed resources are available, by subordinating all other resources to the critical chain.

Extreme Project Management

Extreme project management refers to prescribing a set of day-to-day stakeholder practices (rather than very long drawn and elaborate plan) that embody and encourage value-creation through development of high capacity for change adaptation and gain in overall efficiency in the project work.

Practice of extreme project management stems out of some critical research, which indicated that several fundamental models are not well suited for multi-project organisation environment of the present day, as most of them are aimed at very large-scale, one-time, non-routine projects. Use of complex models for projects spanning only a few weeks has been proven to cause unnecessary costs and low maneuverability in several cases. Extreme project management provides that much needed ‘lightweight’ model required in current circumstances.

Event Chain Methodology

Event chain methodology is primarily an uncertainty modeling and employs network analysis techniques to identify and manage events and event chains, which affect project schedules. Event chain methodology helps to mitigate the negative impact of psychological heuristics and biases, and also allows for easy modeling of uncertainties in the project. Event chain methodology is based on the following principles –

Probabilistic Moment of Risk: Estimation of the probability for a task getting affected by external events that can occur at any point in time.

Event Chains: Measurement of the effect of chain of events on project schedule, determined through quantitative analysis for determining cumulative effect.

Critical Events/Critical Event Chains: Analysis of the effect of isolated events or event chains that bear maximum potential of affecting a project schedule and outcome.

Event-based Project Tracking: Refinement of information about future potential events and future project performance, based on available data about project duration, cost and adverse event occurrence of partially completed projects.

Event Chain Visualisation: visualisation of events and event chains using event chain diagrams (Gantt Charts).


PRINCE2 is a structured approach to generic project management. It provides a method for managing projects within a clearly defined framework. PRINCE2 describes procedures to coordinate people and activities in a project, ways to design and supervise the project and ways to adjust a project if it doesn’t develop as planned.

In this method each process is specified with its key inputs and outputs and with specific goals and activities to be carried out. This gives an automatic control of any deviations from the plan. Divided into manageable stages, the method enables an efficient control of resources to carry out the project in an organised way.

Process-based Management:

Process-based management furthers the concept of project control. This practice has been driven by the use of Maturity models such as the CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) and ISO/IEC15504.

This is based on principles of human interaction management in terms of a process view of human collaboration. This contrasts sharply with traditional approach. The project is seen as a series of relatively small tasks conceived and executed as the situation demands in an adaptive manner, rather than as a completely pre-planned process.

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