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Comparing Major Project Management Approaches—Agile, Scrum, Kanban & Waterfall

Companies are using various project management methodologies as today’s digital natives can be disrupted tomorrow. This gave rise to several project management approaches and more confusion. In this article at DZone, Fred Wilson compares the 4 major PM frameworks companies leverage for competitive advantage.

Understanding the Project Management Methodologies

Since companies are racing against each other, employees do not give in-depth training regarding project management approaches. So, you are confused about these methodologies. Following are the 4 common frameworks you must get a clear idea about:


Scrum is one of the Agile approaches that has gained popularity because of its customer-centric framework. It increases team coordination, reduces mistakes, and maintains timely delivery. Though first used by software developers, education and healthcare sectors also use this project management approach. Its purpose is to divide the work into phases, reduce backlogs, and move forward through incremental development. Team members, product owner, and Scrum Master form the Scrum team. The product owner decides the product backlogs that the team works on in each sprint. A sprint duration ranges from seven days to a month. A daily scrum includes a regular team meeting with the customers and management to discuss challenges and risks.


While Taiichi Ohno invented this project management methodology for the automotive sector, David Anderson applied it for work management. Kanban is a common approach for IT operations, software development, and marketing. For Scrum development, you must plan right at the beginning and continue with the plan through out. Kanban makes the change management process easier to handle. However, the problem is that nobody controls the modification of plans or roles as the project progresses. The approach works on a board where the tasks are categorized by Progress, Testing, Ready for Release, and Release. You can also name the columns as To Do, In Progress, In Review, Blocked, and Done.


71% of companies use Agile as a project management methodology, as per a PMI research. It helps to coordinate, plan, and deliver projects incrementally based on the evolving requirements. Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, Extreme Programming, adaptive software development, agile modeling, Agile Unified Process, and disciplined agile delivery are popular. Companies also leverage dynamic systems development method, feature-driven development, lean software development, and rapid application development. The project is divided into segments or user stories and follows the 12 Agile Manifesto principles. Agile is people-oriented and focusses mainly on the incremental development of software, customer involvement, and change management.


This project management approach traditionally uses a linear lifecycle. It was used initially for construction and manufacturing projects. Each lifecycle consists of conceptualization, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment, and maintenance. You progress to the next stage only after finishing the current one. Since the plan is decided in the beginning, developers, testers, analysts can work their part when the project reaches that stage. However, it can cater to a change requirement only after the team is done with the initial plan.

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