Understanding Project Management Methodologies

Share on LinkedIn
Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook

When it comes to project management methodologies, there is the only one that most ad agencies use – waterfall.

Project management methodologies are the processes and techniques that project managers use to plan, execute, control, and close a project. There are many different project management methodologies, but the most common ones are waterfall, agile, and critical path method (CPM). Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages and is suitable for distinct types of projects.

As we have already pointed out, the waterfall methodology is often used because it is a very structured approach that ensures all tasks are completed in order. However, it is not suitable for projects that require creativity and flexibility, such as advertising agencies. The agile methodology is better suited for these types of projects because it allows for more flexibility and creativity.

In this blog, we will look at the three popular methodologies, the pros, and cons for each one, and which types of projects each is suitable for.

The waterfall methodology

The waterfall methodology is a very structured approach to project management that ensures all tasks are completed in order. It’s often used because it is simple and easy to understand as it shows tasks being performed in chronological order. It is an especially useful approach to managing projects where most tasks have a “Finish-to-Start” relationship (projects in which one task starts when the predecessor is completed.) It should be used for shorter projects where all the tasks are known before the project commences and the scope is unlikely to change.

This methodology is not suitable for complex projects which are prone to changes to scope and/or requirements during their course.

The agile methodology

The agile methodology is a more flexible approach to project management that allows for more creativity and flexibility than the waterfall methodology. It is often used for projects that require innovation and fast turnaround times and is based on the principle of “sprints” or short cycles of work that are continually refined until the project is completed. This allows teams to react quickly to changes and feedback from clients.

However, the agile methodology can be more difficult to implement than the waterfall methodology, and it requires a high level of collaboration between team members. In addition, it can be more costly to implement due to the need for specialized software and tools.

The critical path method (CPM)

The critical path method is a mathematical technique that determines the shortest possible route to completing a project. It does this by identifying the sequence of tasks that need to be completed to achieve the goal of the project. This information is then used to create a Gantt chart, which shows all the tasks in the project and their dependencies.

The critical path method is often used because it is an easy way to visualize how a project will progress and identify any potential problems. It also helps project managers optimize their resources by identifying tasks that can be delayed or eliminated without affecting the overall outcome of the project. However, CPM is not suitable for all types of projects, especially those that are time-sensitive or require creativity and flexibility.

Which project management methodology is the best for ad agencies?

Best Project Management Methodologies for Agencies

Most advertising agencies use the waterfall methodology. This is partly because they have always done so and because of its simplicity. However, it is not the best one to use because:

  • In many cases the scope is not clearly defined.
  • Clients have a tendency want to change the requirements during the project.
  • The project is fixed or capped price.

This leads to the ‘fatal trifecta’ which Carlos Pezzani refers to in his book, How to Heal Your Agency.

It boils down to loss making projects, unprofitable clients, and an unprofitable agency.

The agile methodology allows for more creativity and flexibility, which is ideal for projects that:

  • Require innovation and fast turnaround times.
  • Have a scope that is not clearly defined.
  • The final delivery may change as the project develops

More importantly, the end of a ‘sprint’ gives the client the opportunity to approve the stage and request any changes. There is a better controlled of the budget as it is released in smaller increments.

Implementing an agile methodology is more difficult than using the waterfall approach but it will pay off. Coincidentally, it is also best used for developing websites and landing pages, which many agencies now develop for clients.

In general, the best methodology to use for ad agencies is an agile methodology. If you want to read more about why waterfall is not for your agency, check out Carlos Pezzani’s book “You can heal your Agency” in our resources. It’s free.

Get tips to manage your agency in your inbox

Subscribe to our blog

Would your agency survive a recession?

Find out if your agency is ready to meet the challenges of the future- and overcome them

You seem to want to improve your agency

Let us help by sending tips straight to your inbox

tips to manage agencies