Every project is unique.
A project manager needs to recognize what is unique about the project they are managing and adapt their project management to the uniqueness of the effort.
The wheel exists.
A project manager should have a selection of wheels to choose from and the tools to adjust them. Pick your project management tools for the job. Mix elements from different methodologies. Adapt the existing and use a pick and mix methodology for your project.
What is the personality of your project?
- Is your project large or small?
- Is highly visible project, e.g. followed by upper-management.
- How urgent are the project’s results?
- How many people are involved?
- How many people are affected?
- Who are the sponsors? What are their reporting expectations?
- Who are the key stakeholders? What are their reporting expectations?
- How many teams are involved? for, example: a business team from accounting, another business team from accounts payable, a project management team, a development team… More teams means more documentation, more communication and a more formal project environment.
- Have project team members worked together before? In projects? How long?
Use personality of the project to choose your tools. Is it a conservative expecting a very formal environment? Is it a quick moving, exciting project that likes simplified processes and quick decisions/approvals?
Do not forget project management!
Simplifying processes does not mean eliminating them all together. Small informal projects still need some formal processes. Your relationship with the project is formal regardless of its personality. You are the project manager!
What are the management constraints of your project?
Almost all projects will have some imposed tools These can come from corporate methodologies, department reporting, Project Management Office standards, contractual obligations etc.
Even with imposed tools, the project manager can often choose how the tools are used. For example: Your organization requires you to submit and get approval for changes with a specific template. Will you ask for approval with a formal presentation to a steering committee? Or, will you drop by the project sponsor’s office and have them quickly sign-off on the changes? Or?
Pick and Mix.
Manage your project’s uniqueness by picking what tools to use and how to use them according to its unique personality.