Some of the most popular project management frameworks are Scrum, Kanban, Agile and Waterfall. Luckily for you, you can tailor each of them for your purposes.

What project management framework should your team use?

The purpose of project management is to get every stakeholder on the same page throughout the whole process. If the project is to take the ring to Mordor, the project manager’s responsibility is to support that cause any means necessary. Without a project manager the ring will hardly leave the borders of The Shire. That’s why it’s important to select the project management framework suitable to your team’s size and resources.


The Four Horsemen of project management frameworks

Agile, Waterfall, Kanban, Scrum – so easy to mix them up for one simple reason: their purpose is to help teams complete the project on time. Although there are similar traits between some of these frameworks, there are substantial differences. Let us briefly explain each of them:

  • Agile: this is the odd one out of them because it’s rather a mindset or a principle than an actual project management framework. Therefore, it can be applied to teams of any size or project. It can also be utilized by teams who work under Kanban or Scrum frameworks. Agile enables teams to collaborate with their customers and make strategic adjustments late in the project when required. It also encourages early and continuous delivery – which completely aligns with DevOps core values.

  • Waterfall: as one of the most popular frameworks, waterfall, often cited as software development lifecycle methodology is a linear process of hierarchical steps through the projects. The most important trait of waterfall is that the steps can’t take place at the same time. Due to this, waterfall is useful for organizations involved in large projects with multiple stakeholders because every stage has clear goals easy to interpret between departments.

  • Kanban: the main goal of Kanban is to visualize tasks in a backlog. In the case of Kanban, the backlog is organized on a Kanban board, which consists of a To-do, an In progress and a Done column but teams can add as many columns as they prefer. The most important aspect of Kanban is that there’s only a limited number of tasks that can be in progress at the same time. So, this is mostly useful for teams that’d prefer to optimize their processes and identify bottlenecks as the project goes on.

  • Scrum: it’s very similar to Kanban, one of the major differences, however, is there’s no maximum number of tasks in progress. Another difference is that under Scrum teams work with the guide of a Scrum Master. Imagine the Scrum Master like a project manager but his responsibilities are focusing on being a facilitator to maintain Scrum methodology while teams are working on the project. In practice, the Scrum Master is accountable to hold daily Scrum meeting, as well as Sprint kickoffs and Sprint retrospectives. Scrum teams usually have members from multiple departments of the organization, and they work based on the product backlog dissected into 1 to 2 weeks long sprints. This way Scrum teams deliver part of the product at the end of each sprint.

There are many more project management frameworks that we don’t address in this blogpost. But we’d like to add that there’s a breed of Scrum and Kanban that’s called Scrumban, which compiles Kanban’s focus on processes and Scrum’s sprints.

What tools should you use?

The most important thing about systems is to keep them. Any system can sound awesome and efficient, but people need to respect the system and work towards keeping it intact.

You can help your teammates to keep it by using certain tools. In this section we introduce a couple applications and tips that we use so you can organize your workflows easier.

  • Team productivity

    • Jira: You’re probably familiar with Jira, or at least heard about the tool many companies use. It’s popular due to its customizability. For example, you can create Kanban boards or Scrum backlogs to organize your work and if you have any specific needs – like adding a Review column in Kanban or setting up burndown charts based on story points – you can make adjustments easily. We use it to keep track of tasks related to building our product.

  • Individual productivity

    • Todoist: Successful delivery of the project starts with individual efforts. If your teammates don’t organize their tasks efficiently every day, get ready to be unable to meet your deadlines, which eventually costs you money.

    Todoist prospers on gamification. Some of our team members use it to keep track of their personal errands, too – because it also offers private to do lists. At the end of each year Todoist ranks all of its users based on how active they were.

A cool way to get things done

Keeping control of individual tasks on the daily is a necessary but difficult responsibility of every team member. One great way to keep your tasks under control is the GTD method. GTD stands for Getting Things Done.

Its premise is that you can’t complete your tasks effectively until you organize every task.

Keeping track of your to-do list as a mental note leads to lack of focus because the brainpower you use to remember tasks withdraws the attention you should pay to the task you’re actually doing. To avoid this, you can make your own – so-called – GTD bucket to keep track of incoming tasks, so you can organize them later. This way you’re able to start the day by organizing your tasks and you can categorize the stuff that emerges through the day when you find the time to do so.

Summary

Successful project management begins with the individual efforts of the team members. There’s a lot of time to gain by efficient task and resource organization – without these practices you’re basically tossing a coin whether you’ll meet the deadline. Chances are, you probably won’t, however.

When we’re talking about project management there’s no silver bullet because every team and everybody are different. These project management frameworks aren’t written in the stone, you can always make some tweaks to make it suitable for your teammates and the size of your team. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is if you brought the ring to Mordor on time.

This blogpost was written by the team of dyrector.io. dyrector.io is a release management platform supporting your DevOps efforts by reducing the time and effort required to deploy your product. Check our plans to simplify your deployments to be able to focus on the things that matter to your team.

To stay updated about our product follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Join our public Discord server to discuss DevOps.