The Different Types of Project Management: A Guide to Choosing the Right Approach

The Different Types of Project Management:
A Guide to Choosing the Right Approach

By Carl Proszek
Senior Consultant

Project management approaches play a crucial role in ensuring successful project execution. Among them, four widely used approaches are waterfall, agile, hybrid, and lean. In this article, we will explore each approach, highlighting their advantages, disadvantages, and suitable project scenarios.

Waterfall or Traditional

Waterfall is a sequential and linear methodology that follows a predetermined sequence of project phases: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure.


  • Clear structure and defined stages make it easy to understand and follow.
  • Well-suited for projects with stable and well-documented requirements.
  • Helps in setting realistic milestones and expectations.


  • Lack of flexibility can be problematic if requirements change during the project.
  • Limited stakeholder involvement until project completion.
  • Potential for delays if issues arise in later stages and require rework.

Waterfall project management is ideal for construction, manufacturing, or infrastructure projects where requirements are well-defined and stable. It is also suitable for projects with strict compliance or regulatory requirements.


Agile project management is an iterative and incremental approach that emphasizes adaptability, collaboration, and continuous improvement. It breaks the project into smaller cycles called sprints and encourages frequent stakeholder feedback and adjustments.


  • Flexibility to accommodate changing requirements and priorities.
  • Encourages collaboration, teamwork, and stakeholder involvement throughout the project.
  • Rapid delivery of value through incremental iterations.


  • Requires active and engaged stakeholders throughout the project.
  • Can be challenging to estimate time and cost accurately.
  • Less suitable for projects with strict regulatory or compliance requirements.

Agile project management is well-suited for software development, product development, and creative projects. It is ideal when requirements may evolve, innovation is necessary, or when there is a need for quick time-to-market.


Hybrid project management combines elements of both waterfall and agile methodologies to create a customized approach that fits the unique requirements of a project. It allows for flexibility in adapting to changing circumstances while maintaining a structured framework.


  • Tailored approach that combines the strengths of different methodologies.
  • Allows for flexibility in handling changing requirements and priorities.
  • Can accommodate projects with varying degrees of complexity and uncertainty.


  • Requires careful planning and coordination to strike the right balance.
  • May introduce complexities in managing hybrid teams and workflows.
  • Requires experienced project managers to effectively integrate and execute the hybrid approach.

Hybrid project management is suitable for projects that have a mix of well-defined and evolving requirements. It is beneficial when there is a need for flexibility, stakeholder involvement, and adaptability while maintaining some level of structure and control.


Lean project management focuses on eliminating waste and maximizing value by streamlining processes and continuously improving efficiency. It emphasizes delivering value to the customer while minimizing resources and time spent on non-value-added activities.


  • Efficient utilization of resources and reduced waste.
  • Enhanced focus on value delivery and customer satisfaction.
  • Improved project speed and responsiveness to changes.


  • May require significant process changes and organizational buy-in.
  • Can be challenging to apply in projects with high uncertainty or complexity.
  • Relies on accurate data and metrics for optimization.

Lean project management is suitable for projects where efficiency, waste reduction, and customer value are critical. It is commonly applied in manufacturing, supply chain, and process improvement projects but can be adapted to various industries.

Choosing the right project management approach is crucial for project success. Waterfall, agile, hybrid, and lean methodologies each have distinct advantages and disadvantages. By understanding the characteristics and project suitability of each approach, project managers can make informed decisions and tailor their methodology to achieve the desired project outcomes.

Are you unsure which approach is right for your projects? Or do you want to experiment using a new approach? If so, reach out to Carl today, or make an enquiry to find out more about how we can support you.

Email, print or share this page: