Adaptive vs Predictive Methodologies in Project Management

Project management cannot exist without good organization and clear, precise methodology.

To complete your project within the time allowed, and the budget and resources available, the project manager and his or her team must be organized and efficient. The secret? Following one of the existing project management frameworks to help you organize your project in a streamlined and structured way.

Project management methodologies help you to complete every step of your project, from planning to implementation, for efficiency and profitability.

Choosing a methodology to apply to a project allows all stakeholders to work together effectively, following clearly defined rules.

Below are 7 methodologies of project management to know about.

The Traditional Approach

Traditional methodologies are the most used in project management. The main one is called “waterfall” project management because each step must be completed to move to the next one.

By applying this methodology, the project team follows the specifications and works on the entire project until delivery. There is no interaction with the client, who will receive his project once it is completed. Everything must be planned. The team is committed to an inflexible schedule which defines all the tasks to be performed to complete the set deliverables.

The major disadvantage? There is no room for changes or unforeseen events, so it’s important to get everything right the first time. This can lead to a disappointed customer if pre-project communication is not thorough enough and the client is blindsided by a different result than he or she envisioned.

Additionally, any unexpected events that occur or adjustments that need to be made result in additional costs. To work properly using this methodology, clear and ongoing communication between team members is essential.


More efficient and flexible than traditional methodologies, the Agile methodology places the needs of the customer at the centre of project priorities. It offers the best flexibility and clarity in project management, allowing the team to be more responsive to customer expectations.

Using Agile methodology, the project is divided into mini-projects, each one requiring validation by the client to move to the next. The dialogue with the customer is prioritized and edits and adjustments along the way are possible with the evolution of the client’s vision accommodated.

Agile Project Management - IIB Council Blog

The agile methodology is becoming the dominant methodology for project management.


Many projects grow as they progress and have requirements that are not clearly defined. It is therefore difficult to manage them with a traditional methodology. The adaptive approach is designed to continually adapt to changes depending on the project situation.

The adaptive approach is not static and constantly adjusts to different project variables.
Because each project is different, adaptive project managers use a different approach with each one.

Unlike traditional methods where you carefully follow the schedule of tasks, with the adaptive method, you try to understand the current situation and you adapt to it by being creative.

The Critical Path (Focused on Timeline)

This method is focused on achieving the overall deadline for the project. The Critical Path is the set of tasks that must be completed in order to finish the project on the desired date. These tasks are called “critical” because they are essential to the success of the project and if they are delayed, the entire project will be delayed.

The critical path method works with the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) diagram, which helps you find the best possible organization to complete the project as quickly as possible. With this method, you can compare what should happen with what is actually happening each day.

PERT Method (Focused on Deliverables)

The PERT method consists of organizing a set of tasks in the form of a network. Because of their dependence and chronology, completing the tasks leads to a complete project.

Using this method, you begin by listing all the tasks needed to complete the project. Next, you put them in order and establish their dependency (for example, task B must be completed before task C can begin).

The PERT method makes it possible to graphically represent the different stages of the project. For each task, a deadline to begin the task and a deadline to complete the task are indicated. Thus, the diagram establishes the critical path that determines the minimum duration of the project. This method is used in combination with the critical path method and also improves the Gantt chart.

PRINCE2: (Focused on Constraints)

PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments, version 2) is a structured, pragmatic and adaptable project management methodology that can be used for all types of projects.

According to this method, you must plan, delegate, monitor and control the 6 aspects of project management:

  1. Cost
  2. Time
  3. Profits
  4. Quality
  5. Perimeter
  6. Risks

Used worldwide, the PRINCE2 method ensures that projects are delivered on time, on budget and that they manage risks, benefits and quality.

LEAN: (Focused on Continuous Improvement)

The philosophy of lean is the pursuit of performance in terms of productivity, quality, time and cost through continuous improvement and the elimination of waste, in order to satisfy the customer. To summarize, the lean method provides high-quality work with minimal money, resources and time.

Of course, lean can also mean fat-free, and indeed, this methodology, created by Toyota in Japan, is mainly used in production and focuses on waste-free production.

The lean methodology is ideal for reducing budgets, meeting short deadlines and getting great results with fewer resources.


There are many other methodologies and frameworks in project management. Each methodology has its advantages and is not inherently better than another. Before choosing a methodology, it’s best to understand the type of the project you are going to work on and choose the methodology that will fit.

As each project is different, you will likely use more than one of these methodologies during your project management career.


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