Top 4 Reasons Why Your Project Management Methodology Fails

Sep 10, 2018
Post Masthead

Many project managers religiously follow project management methodologies—and with good reason.

Project management methodologies make up an integral part of any project, and when implemented correctly, they can strongly improve project performance.

But do they really?

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), research and statistics show that implementing a standardized or customized project management methodology can achieve better results by the following:

  • Industry sector
  • Project type
  • Project environment
  • Team experience
  • Team and company culture

It’s true that the elements of a project methodology all play a crucial role in supporting the team and goals throughout the project lifecycle.

On the other hand, it’s also true that some project methodologies do the exact opposite and contribute to poor project success rates.

Some project management experts believe that this is due to mismatching project methodologies and project environments.

It is true that environmental factors have a significant impact on the overall success of a particular project methodology and the project as a whole.

Many project managers attempt to customize their project methodologies to fit their particular project type, environment, and team culture.

However, this increases complexity, which also increases project methodology failure rates, inevitably reducing overall project performance.

If you and your team are struggling with overall project performance, then the issue may not be your project team or the ability to manage tasks, it could be your methodology.

Read on to learn more about the different types of project management methodologies, and some reasons why your project methodology is probably failing.

What Are the Different Project Management Methodologies?

The world of project management has changed over the years.

Back in the day, the most common PMMs were the critical path and critical chain methods (CCM).

These methodologies were used primarily to manage government projects.

As industry sectors and technology evolved and changed, project managers developed new methodologies to keep up with the changing times and growing businesses.

The most popular PMMs include the following:

  • Scrum
  • Agile
  • Waterfall
  • Hybrid
  • Kanban
  • Traditional
  • Critical path
  • Critical Chain Method (CCM)
  • Six Sigma

Yes, there are a handful of different PMMs to choose from. After all, at least one methodology is bound to be a good fit for your project type and organization, right?


More often than not, project managers try to customize and tailor each methodology according to their project type, environment, and team. Unfortunately, this only adds complexity to the project, which escalates the risk for project failure.

Why Your PMM Usually Fails…

Selecting the wrong PMM for your project type and team can be costly in terms of training time, implementation, resources and risks for errors.

And the worst part?

After spending time, money, and resources to adopt a particular PMM, it may not even guarantee project success.

Here are the top reasons why your PMM usually fails:

1. Complexity Creates Chaos.

Many project managers and organizations research and study different PMMs to see how a particular PMM worked for a similar organization within the same industry sector. In many cases, project managers adopt said PMM, only to discover the hard way that it added more complexity to a process rather than simplified it.

For example, complex PMMs can confuse team members. Team members spend more time trying to figure out what they are supposed to do for a particular task, or who to notify afterwards than actually completing the task itself.

2. Process Overload.

Processes are key for business operations and managing projects. However, too many processes can do just the opposite; they can further complicate the project and even elevate risks of human error.

Consider the same example in the previous point.

A team member completes a task. According to the next step in the predetermined process, the team member now needs to notify three people.

However, he only remembered to notify one out of the three people. The project manager quickly discovers that there is a disconnect somewhere, and now must spend time trying to figure out what happened and how.

Because the appropriate personnel were not notified due to a clunky and over-complicated process, project progress has decreased and the project is now delayed.

3. Too Much to Do, Too Little Time.

Although project managers might easily understand how a PMM is supposed to work in theory, this doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good fit for a project team.

In many cases, project managers adopt a particular project methodology only to discover the hard way that it requires even more time, effort, and resources than their previous methodology.

Again, let’s go back to our example from above. According to the new workflow, after a team member completes a task, he or she must notify three people.

Not only does this heighten the risk of human error (in this case, the team member’s memory), it also requires manual time.

Although it only takes a few minutes to send a message or email to three people, this can add up to a lot of extra time spent each week, which could really put a dent in your project budget.

4. People, Politics, and Problems.

Although adopting a new PMM may seem like a good idea, department managers, or other high-level executives may disagree.

Management may fail to see the value in it. Therefore, it becomes difficult for a project manager to acquire the necessary budget for adoption and training. As a result, it will be incredibly difficult to get the organization as a whole on board.

In extreme cases, the project manager may experience burn out. He or she may end up spending more time trying to adopt a new PMM rather than focusing on managing current projects in the pipeline.

How Can a Visual Workflow Help?

So now that you have a better understanding of how and why most PMMs fail, what does work? What is the solution?

Many project managers are seeing the value in adopting the visual workflow technique.

A visual workflow has proven to be an effective technique because it is easy to adopt and implement for virtually any project type and for any industry.

Why does a visual workflow work better than some other PMMs? One of the most essential and obvious characteristics of a visual workflow is that it is, well, visual. It provides a top-level view of all the steps involved in a particular task or process, making it easier to digest, understand, and follow.

Here are some other top reasons why a visual workflow works:

- It adds visualization\

  • It removes complexity\
  • It is easy to learn, adopt, and implement\
  • It requires little to no upfront costs (other than maybe a few office supplies)\
  • It requires little training and implementation time (days or weeks instead of months)

Although building a visual workflow is easier to adopt and implement than some of the other PMMs we have outlined, it’s important to remember that it is the start of a foundation. Visual workflows are flexible and agile, making them easy to improve, evolve, and keep up with business demands over time.

Love the idea of a visual workflow? Check out Rindle today and begin implementing a visual workflow as soon as tomorrow.