I would love to see a succinct and clear description of how all the different project management approaches, methodologies and frameworks relate to each other, what they share and what is different between them.

How would one go about situating approaches like PMBOK, Prince2, CMMI, TSP, Agile, Lean, XP, Scrum, Kanban in relation to each other?

I'm thinking of something that is an attempt at a taxonomy of all the different approaches with approaches grouped into sets of defining characteristics. Possible splits would be between Waterfall/Agile and between Formal Methodology/Flexible Framework

A diagram, if it is possible, showing these relationship would be even better.

Is this something that has ever been attempted? And if so where would one find it?

  • It'd be great if you can list a few of the 'all' that you are referring...my all may be very different from yours :)
    – PhD
    Jan 14, 2012 at 20:09
  • What you ask for is a huge elaboration on multiple different, hard-to-compare methods. Something which pretty much can't be done without understanding specific methods. If you want to learn about that I'd advice starting with wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management) and then checking further sources. Jan 14, 2012 at 22:44
  • @PawelBrodzinski, I'm aware that it is not a simple exercise, that is why I am asking if it has ever been attempted by better and more experienced minds than mine. Jan 15, 2012 at 7:16
  • @Nupul I've added some of the 'all' to the list. I am assuming that my 'all' would definitely not be exhaustive and that there are many approaches out there of which I am unaware. Jan 15, 2012 at 12:13
  • @Martin, You mix definitions of different things, which can't possibly be compared. It is still overly broad to have any meaningful answer. Please read following: pm.stackexchange.com/questions/389 pm.stackexchange.com/questions/1847 and stackoverflow.com/questions/3406177 and then try to narrow down your context. BTW: you can use them as examples of questions which are defined better. Jan 16, 2012 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


Martin, No, nothing like that has been attempted (on that scale), because it simply can't be done.

It would be like comparing building a skyscraper to building a boat. Both involve "building", but beyond that the similarities end.

At the most base level projects share a linear flow of actions - Initiate, Plan, Execute, Close. But once you try to expand past that you run into problems.

Another problem is the use of some of these. The PMBoK Guide for example is a framework and not a method or approach. I could easily insert Agile and Scrum practices into the PMBoK Guides recommendations. But they would be a subset of that framework, not a different approach. The same with Waterfall and Agile or Flexible/Inflexible.

  • I've been giving this quite a bit of thought too since I asked the question, and I have to agree with you. Mar 2, 2012 at 6:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.