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Situational Project Management

Situational project management is an approach where projects are tailored and managed based on their individual characteristics and requirements. Methods and tools are selected and applied as needed and according to the situation to achieve the best possible efficiency and goal attainment. In this glossary entry, we explain the fundamentals of situational project management, its areas of application, and its advantages and disadvantages.


Situational project management is a flexible and adaptable approach in project management that takes into account the individual circumstances and requirements of a project. Instead of a rigid procedure or the application of a specific method, project management is designed according to need and situation. This allows for methods and tools from various project management approaches to be combined and applied to ensure the best possible efficiency and achievement of objectives.

Areas of Application

Situational project management can be applied in a variety of industries and projects. It is particularly suitable for complex or highly variable projects, where it is difficult to plan the project course and results in detail in advance. Examples of such projects include innovation and research projects, IT projects, or organizational development projects. In these cases, situational project management allows for flexible adaptation to the respective conditions and ensures a better responsiveness to unforeseen events or changes.

Methods and Tools

In situational project management, various methods and tools from different project management approaches can be used. The selection is made based on the specific situation and the specific requirements of the project. Common methods and tools include:

  • Agile methods, such as Scrum or Kanban
  • Project management standards, such as PRINCE2 or PMI
  • Process management approaches, such as Lean Management or Six Sigma
  • Risk management methods, such as risk analysis or risk assessments
  • Communication and team leadership techniques, such as moderation or coaching

The combination and application of these methods and tools are situational and can be adjusted as project progress and requirements change.

Advantages of Situational Project Management

Situational project management offers several advantages over rigid and uniform project management approaches:

  • Flexibility: The adaptability to the respective situation and the specific requirements of the project allows for quick and flexible response to changes.
  • Efficiency: The situational selection and application of methods and tools enable optimal use of available resources and ensure the best possible achievement of objectives.
  • Individuality: Taking into account the individual circumstances and requirements of a project provides a tailored solution that is precisely aligned with the project's needs.
  • Integration: By combining various methods and tools, synergies can be used and a holistic view of the project can be facilitated.

Disadvantages and Challenges

Despite its advantages, situational project management also brings some challenges and potential disadvantages:

  • Complexity: Applying various methods and tools and constantly adapting to the situation require a high level of expertise and experience in project management.
  • Uncertainty: The flexible design of project management can lead to uncertainties regarding the planning and control of the project, particularly with respect to achieving project goals and adhering to schedules and budgets.
  • Effort: The situational adjustment of project management can mean a higher effort in planning and controlling the project, as new methods and tools constantly need to be selected and applied.


Situational project management is a flexible and individual approach that allows projects to be optimally adapted to their respective conditions and requirements. By situatively selecting and applying methods and tools, the best possible efficiency and goal attainment can be achieved. At the same time, this approach also involves challenges and potential disadvantages that should be considered when deciding for or against situational project management.