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Project Management Methodologies: Can These Four Help Deliver South Africa’s Energy Solutions Successfully and End Load-shedding?

Eskom Holdings Ltd. Building

A funny but not-so-funny South African joke goes something like this:

“What does LOL mean?”
“Lots of Load-shedding!”


South Africans have taken the popular culture term and reinterpreted it to reflect their current reality of load-shedding. In 2022 alone, South Africans experienced more than 200% more load-shedding than any other recorded year!


Currently, a state of disaster on Energy was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the recent State of The Nation Address. This is in response to mounting pressure from various corners of society, including business, political parties, and civil society. 


A Minister of Electricity role has also been announced, with the appointed person tasked with working with the Eskom board and management to end load-shedding and ensure the Energy Action Plan is decisively implemented.  

Measures Underway to Deal With the Current Electricity Crisis

One of the more urgent, long-term solutions is building renewable projects like wind and solar farms to provide the power the country needs.


Others include: improving the performance of Eskom’s existing power stations and supporting the power utility to purchase additional diesel for the rest of the year – to allow private developers to generate more electricity.


A central throughline we’ve noticed during all of this is the need for specialist coordination and project management that helps to deliver on government plans.

Project Management Methodologies – Helping to Deliver Successful Projects in South Africa’s Energy Sector

This post aims to outline the Project Management methodologies we believe can be leveraged in building and strengthening South Africa’s energy infrastructure.

What are project management methodologies? 

In the world of Project Management, a methodology refers to a collection of fundamental principles, practical tools, and effective techniques that are employed to guide the planning, execution, and management of projects. In this case, these projects would involve the construction of solar farms and other renewable projects related to South African power generation needs.

A methodology is a systematic approach to project management that ensures projects are completed efficiently, effectively, and with a high level of quality.


These are the four Project Management methodologies we believe project managers and professionals involved in projects should use to help deliver successful energy solutions to South Africa:

– Waterfall 

– Kanban 

– Lean Six Sigma 


Project Team

The Waterfall method is a time-honoured project management approach established in the 1970s. It is a method that involves completing project tasks and phases in a sequential and linear manner; here, every project stage is completed before moving on to the next.


In other words, you can only move forward once you've completed the previous step. This approach is still widely used today, particularly in industries where the project's scope is well-defined and a clear understanding of the work required to succeed.


Projects go through the following stages in the Waterfall Methodology:

1 - Requirement

2 - Analysis

3 - Design

4 - Construction

5 - Testing

6 - Deployment & maintenance


Continuous progress is what defines this Methodology. Like a waterfall, projects move in a clearly defined direction that is carefully outlined and planned for.


With this methodology, room for error is minimal should expectations not match reality. Also, there's no going back to a previous stage once completed.


Utilise the Waterfall methodology if:

- Your project end goal is clearly defined (and is unlikely to change).

- Stakeholders know what they want.

- Your project flow is consistent and predictable (i.e., it will stay the same).

- You work in a regulated industry that requires extensive project tracking or documentation.

- You need to bring new people into the project midway through and quickly get them up to speed.

Kanban has adapted from the manufacturing industry, and become a popular Project Management Methodology.


It's a visual approach to Project Management that emphasises the flow of work and focuses on improving efficiency, reducing waste, and delivering value to customers.


In Kanban, a team manages its work by visualising it on a board, which typically includes columns that represent the different stages of the project, such as "To Do," "In Progress," and "Done". The team members then move tasks through these columns, using cards or sticky notes, as they progress through the project.


One of the key principles of Kanban is limiting work in progress (WIP), which means the team only takes on a certain number of tasks at a time to avoid overloading themselves and creating bottlenecks.


This helps the team focus on completing tasks efficiently, reducing multitasking and context switching, and delivering work sustainably.


Utilise the Kanban methodology if:

- You require a visual representation of your project's progress.

- You want at-a-glance status updates.

- You want to encourage your team to use work-in-progress limits to help them stay focused.

Lean Six Sigma is a Methodology combining Lean and Six Sigma principles to improve project processes and outcomes. The goal is to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, reduce waste and errors, and increase customer satisfaction.


The Lean Six Sigma methodology involves five phases: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, and Control (DMAIC).


Important: Lean Six Sigma can be considered a philosophy as it can be applied alongside other project management methodologies, like Agile and Lean.


Utilise the Lean Six Sigma methodology if:

- You need a structured problem-solving methodology that can be applied to solve many different types of problems.

- You need a methodology to establish a clear path to achieving improvement objectives.

- You want to improve employee and company performance - by utilising a methodology that eliminates the waste of resources and maximises employee potential.

Developed in the UK, PRINCE2, short for "PRojects IN Controlled Environments version 2," is a Project Management Methodology and certification that provides project managers with a comprehensive set of best practices and processes to follow.


Through PRINCE2, project managers are equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage complex projects from start to finish effectively.


PRINCE2 is an excellent option for project managers seeking a solid grounding in project management.


PRINCE2 exists within the project environment and is guided by seven principles, which are the foundation of the Methodology and provide direction for the seven processes that a project manager uses in each project when utilising PRINCE2.


There are seven underlying themes that a project needs to adhere to to be considered a PRINCE2 project.


These principles, themes, and processes provide a structured approach to Project Management. They ensure that project completion happens on time, within budget, and to the required level of quality.


Utilise the PRINCE2 Methodology if:

- You are interested in using a method recognised by the Project Management Institute (PMI) - a professional organisation for Project Management.

- You’re after a beginner-friendly methodology that's ideal for teams new to Project Management and the methodologies used to deliver projects.

- You need a flexible method that works with a variety of projects in different sectors.

These Project Management Methodologies have been tried and tested across various projects in various sectors, including Energy. They also come highly recommended by experienced Project Managers.

Choosing the Most Effective Project Management Methodology for South Africa’s Energy Crisis

Years of mismanagement and a lack of professionalism have resulted in our current malaise. Thus, choosing a Project Management Methodology that fits the specific requirements for the number of projects set to get underway is critical.

A Final Note on Effective Project Management Methodologies

Different methodologies have different strengths and weaknesses, each best suited to specific projects.

For example, the Waterfall methodology is a linear approach to Project Management that’s well-suited to projects with well-defined requirements.

Choosing well also helps to ensure that everyone on the project team is on the same page.

When team members use the same terminology and follow the same processes – communication and collaboration improve, resulting in successful project outcomes.

Ultimately, the best Project Management Methodology aligns with the unique needs of the project and the team.

By selecting the appropriate methodology and tailoring it to fit project requirements, Project Managers can ensure consistently effective and efficient teamwork.

Project Team Deciding on Methodology

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