How to select the most suitable project management approach?



By Manuel Ancizu

Pamplona, Spain

This eye-opening simple exercise will give all the clues to take this key decision as a project manager (and not to regret afterwards)


In this article, the author tells a personal story where he learned essential keys to select the most suitable approach among predictive, adaptive, or hybrid methodologies: understanding the project’s context and performing a simple eye-opening exercise called “light and darkness”. This simple yet effective method provides the necessary clarity to make informed decisions and progress confidently towards project execution.

Body of Article

I was definitely excited! I was initiating my journey in the project management world and, after some experiences as a team member, I received the message that I would be assigned to lead my first project as a project manager.

Leading a project and having the opportunity to make an idea come true, what a step! Reflecting on that, I thought I had a good education, I had received a proper training and I had been involved in several projects and teams in different sectors, so preparation was under control.

However, something worried me as I became more aware about my role as project manager; according to the project management methodology, one of the first decisions to be taken (and certainly a relevant one) was the approach to manage the project: predictive, adaptive or hybrid.

I perfectly knew the theory, no doubt about it; I was aware of the difference between those methodologies, but the issue was that I had never been in the position to face such key decision in real life. Should I just apply the theory? was there an effective method used by experienced project leaders? what if I made a wrong decision leading to a complete project failure as a consequence?

These and other questions came to my mind when I decided to talk about it with Maite, a long-time project manager, who was always willing to help.

I asked her about my doubts to select the most appropriate approach for each project; Maite had gone through the same situation years ago and gave me some useful clues that for sure would lead me to take a more robust decision, would save me a lot of time and would place me on the right track from the beginning:

  • The most appropriate development approach always depends on the context and on the characteristics of your project

The decision might not be the same to all the projects because all of them are different; instead, you need to consider your own project, with its specific characteristics, context, product or service, processes, customer, stakeholders, deliverables and everything that might be relevant to that project to be successful.

What is the best method? “It depends”, Maite answered me.

Tailoring and adaptation are basic principles in modern project management.

  • “Light and Darkness” exercise

Once this analysis was done, Maite invited him to perform the simple “light and darkness” exercise, which consists of going through four imaginary scenarios and takes about five minutes to complete.



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How to cite this work: Ancizu, M. (2024).  How to select the most suitable project management approach?  advisory, PM World Journal, Vol. XIII, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/pmwj142-Jun2024-Ancizu-how-to-select-most-suitable-project-management-approach.pdf

About the Author

Manuel Ancizu

Pamplona, Spain


Human leadership, Global Sustainable Projects, Renewable energy, Story-teller, Keynote speaker, Lifetime learner, Risk management, Standardization

Manuel Ancizu is passionate about human leadership, sustainable projects and people’s motivations. Enjoys working in international multicultural environments and wants to have a positive impact in society.

Manuel graduated in Economics from University of Navarra and obtained an MBA from IESE Business School (Spain); he has also studied in CEIBS (China) and University Anahuac del Sur (Mexico). He holds a number of professional certificates such as the PMP by Project Management Institute, Lead Auditor in ISO 9001:2015 by IRCA Association and has also received training in Management of Development Projects and Risk Management by Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).

Manuel has lived in Spain, France, UK and Mexico; he currently works in the wind energy sector leading the quality management of Offshore projects. Manuel has been involved in wind energy renewable projects developed in different parts of the globe with external customers, as well as in internal projects of cultural transformation, IT and global processes.

Thanks to his experience, he has delivered training sessions, lectures and keynotes to a different number of institutions.

Manuel is a qualified member of the Spanish Standardization Body (UNE) and has been involved in the development of Standards and Norms in Projects, Programs and Portfolios; he has also participated in the translation of different ISO 21500 to Spanish language.

Manuel loves smiling, storytelling, dreaming and making ideas come true in a sustainable manner.

Manuel lives in Pamplona, Spain and can be contacted at  manuel@manuelancizu.com

To view other works by Manuel Ancizu, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/manuel-ancizu-beramendi/