Project method and methodology: understand the difference

Methodology is the path that will be followed throughout the execution of the project, the implementation of planning what needs to be carried out and in what order; the method, on the other hand, is a way of putting into practice some specific action , in some specific part of the project. The difference between method and methodology is in the degree: while the first executes an action, the second plans all of them.

For those who are superficially involved with project management, the meaning of these words may not even matter so much. Now, if you work with team leadership, project management and internal processes, you can’t be content to know “more or less”! So read on and see what we have done so you can understand, once and for all, the difference between project method and methodology. We brought examples for you to understand the characteristics of each one and the practical differences in your daily life!


> Project method and methodology: what is the difference?

In order for you to understand how a design method can help your performance and how a design methodology can transform the way you and your team manage your activities, it is important to start by knowing the difference between one thing and another. Because the words are similar, but their concepts are very different!


You will notice that while the method is a punctual action, for a specific context at the local level, the project methodology has a comprehensive role, for the general body that involves the project, at a global level of application. Hard to understand? We summarize: the project method you use for an activity execution, while the methodology you implement for the complete management of the project.


We will explain to you what each one is, so that with examples you can feel in practice the differences between the two things and how it influences your project management.


What is a design method?


In essence, a design method is a procedure (a means) of taking action. In other words, an execution technique. It is essential to emphasize that a project method does not have the responsibility of creating, for example, execution flows, organization of teams, methodologies for delegating activities.


A design method is a way of executing one (or more) of your design steps. For you to understand in practice, it is worth mentioning the example of the Critical Path Method that we present right here on the blog.


The Critical Path Method (CPM) uses a diagram that assists in the management of processes (within your project) that have tight deadlines and a great possibility of delay if they are not well managed.


GTD is another example of a method that helps personal projects that need more productivity. With its sequence of “collecting, processes, organizing, reviewing, doing”, the GTD method – which we also explain how it works – assists in the execution of an executive and more effective routine organization.


These design method examples help explain the concept: a design method is a way of executing processes and carrying out steps.


And at this point you may be asking yourself, “But what about the chronological organization of activities? What about managing global deadlines with my entire team? What about the project’s progress schedule? I have several methods of projects like the ones mentioned, but none of them solve our entire organization! ”.


And do you know what the truth is? The design methods don’t really solve. They exist to assist in the execution of processes and offer ways of acting, but it is the project methodologies that will assume the task of accompanying you in the complete management of your project. We explain:


What, then, are project methodologies?


Managing projects (large or small) has never been an easy task. Especially because, as we explain step by step in our guide on project management, project methodology is characterized as a standard that is related to the implementation, development and use of projects to achieve an organization’s goals.


In practice, a project methodology can be explained from three main characteristics. Its concept includes:


Law Suit:

The step by step of the tasks to be performed, each of the actions that needs to be put into practice;


As well as manual functions, project management also has its helpers, among which are software, management systems, etc .;


Tested and approved documents that work as reports, health controls, forms, etc.

There are two essential types of methodology for your project management: traditional and agile. Traditional methodologies are generally done in advance, anticipating each stage of the project and preparing its phases. An example of a traditional methodology is the PMBOK, which organizes projects through a practice guide in five categories: “initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control and closure”. We explain how and why to use PMBOK here .


The second category of design methodology is that of agile methodologies. More contemporary and open to discoveries and changes during the execution of the project, they open more possibilities for the increment of new processes and demands.


Among the agile methodologies, Scrum is one of the most used, following the line of agile methodology and dividing projects into small cycles (from 2 to 4 weeks). Another agile methodology widely used is XP (Extreme Programming), a methodology that makes gradual deliveries of the project and is organized into four concepts:



Avoid mismatches of information and lack of contact;


Allow complex processes to not become complicated;


Respond promptly to customers and participants;


Being able to say “no” to points that can harm the project.


A design methodology, then, goes beyond a method, taking into account that it will be applied to the full extent of the project in question.


It is this global character of the design methodology that differentiates it from a design method, which has local application in a specific area. While the methodology goes from the process prior to the implementation to the result report, the project method has the attribution of being a “modus operandi” to perform some task.

You have already realized how well choosing the methods for your projects is fundamental, and even more so it is important to assertively define which methodology to use throughout the execution. Another point that is evident is that in times like ours, the use of technologies for project management is no longer an option – but a necessity.


Implementing new technologies can seem (and often is) challenging. Therefore, we have prepared an e-book especially to help you deal with the obstacles that may appear during the process.


The move to project management with methodology, effectiveness and results can be challenging – but it is certainly the best possible way!

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