‍Project management is one of the most challenging tasks for newly hired team members, whether they’re in software development, quality assurance, or any of the other roles involved in delivering a software project. The most important decision new team members make is whether to go with a staged, waterfall, agile, or hybrid project management method.

Even experienced team members sometimes get stuck when making the right decision. That’s where the Stacey Matrix comes in. This matrix helps you choose the right project management method by analyzing your company’s specific needs, constraints, and goals. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose the right project management methodology.

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What is the Stacey Matrix?

Stacey Matrix is the most popular tool that helps teams and managers to determine the best-suited project management methodology for their company. It’s named after its creator, Ralph Douglas Stacey, and was originally developed in the early 1980s. The Stacey Matrix has six quadrants that represent different types of projects – Regulated, Evolving, Flexible, Adaptive, Dictatorial, and Planning.

How the Stacey Matrix Works.

The Stacey Matrix is a decision-making framework for project management methodology. This matrix integrates three main factors:

  1. The project’s complexity.
  2. The company’s experience with project management.
  3. The company’s goals.

The Stacey Matrix works in two phases: the first phase determines the appropriate methodology for your current situation and the second phase determines how to best evolve your chosen methodology to meet your needs over time.

How to Use the Stacey Matrix.

The Stacey Matrix provides a framework to help you distinguish between the strengths and weaknesses of each project management method. The first step in using the Stacey Matrix is to answer questions about your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Are your strengths in software development and quality assurance, or are they in administration and client service? Are you looking for a more collaborative team environment or do you want a more independent project model? These questions will serve as a guide when it comes time to choose between various project management methods.

For successful project management, ensure to consider how well the methods align with your company’s needs, goals, and constraints.

When to Use a Staged Approach.

The staged approach is a commonly used project management methodology. It’s specifically designed to meet the needs of large, complex software projects that require well-planned schedules and fixed deliverables.

Stages are helpful for any project that has a tight timeline and an uncertain budget. Companies may also want to use a staged management approach because it allows them more flexibility in their budget.

When to Use an Agile Approach.

Organizations with small teams that need to keep the number of projects manageable are best suited to use an agile approach. The approach allows you to iterate quickly on a project and minimize the time between iterations. An agile approach in project management enables the team to constantly reflect on how their work is progressing and adapt as necessary.

Again, a company with very specific needs for their software product that can’t be met with waterfall or hybrid approaches should consider the agile option.

When to Use a Waterfall Approach.

To succeed with a waterfall approach, you need to know exactly what your goals are for the project and how long it’s going to take to do those tasks. When you can establish these goals accurately, then you know exactly when you want your project to be completed and can make decisions on delivering milestones accordingly. Always focus on completing tasks quickly to get feedback early so that any changes can be made more rapidly. Doing so allows you to keep moving forward without interfering with other tasks.

When to Use a hybrid approach.

A common misconception is that a project manager with a hybrid approach must have an answer to all of the important questions and circumstances. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A team using a hybrid approach just needs to have the understanding and ability to determine which project management method can help them achieve their goals. In a hybrid project management approach, you combine different project management methodologies to create a new method. E.g. A mix of staged and agile approaches.

If your company’s main objective is to create an inclusive environment for its team members and stakeholders, there are certain times when everyone will need to work together as one unit under a hybrid approach.

Final Thoughts.

Whether you’re in the process of hiring new team members or deciding on which project management method to use, the Stacey Matrix is a great tool to help you understand your needs, constraints, and goals. This easy-to-use flow chart will help you make an informed decision about your project management methodology.