Project management is the key to clinging to your budget and targeted date while putting the most essential tasks at the forefront of the company. Despite the type of project the team is planning, each project undergoes the same set of stages. Though each project requires its own collection of distinctive tasks and processes, they all follow a similar structure. There is always a start, a core, and an ending. This is known as the project lifecycle.
While discussing the phases in Project Management, the mention of the project life cycle is certain. The project lifecycle helps in providing the Project Manager the ability to predict and the means to tackle jobs in different stages. Therefore what is the difference? The project phases make up a project life cycle and are tailored to fit the needs of the project. The five stages of Project Management, as developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), include initiation, planning, execution, performance/monitoring, and project closure.
5 Phases of Project Management
There are five phases of project management and if the lifecycle presents a high-level prospect of the project, the below 5 phases are the roadmap to achieving it.
The project initiation phase is the commencement of the project and the aim of this phase is to interpret the project at a broader level. Generally, this phase starts with a business case. The feasibility of the project is evaluated, tested and the decision will be made whether or not to undertake the specific project.
If the project is feasible and ready to begin, a document is created. There are various types of Project documents to choose from like a Project Charter of a Project Initiation Document (PID). This document outlines the intent and specifications of the project. It also includes business requirements, stakeholders, and business cases.
Project Planning is the second yet most essential stage in the project management life cycle. In this phase, the project plans are documented, project deliverables and requirements are defined, and a schedule for the project is created. It also includes devising a strategy to help guide the team during the implementation and closure phases of the project.
The two common ways of planning objectives for a project are SMART and CLEAR. SMART stands for:
- Specific – Establishing objectives to incorporate who, what, where, when, which and why.
- Measurable – Ensuring that the team knows how to estimate the progress to and success of the objective.
- Attainable – Systematize how to accomplish the most crucial objectives.
- Realistic – Assure that everyone is prepared and capable of achieving the established objectives.
- Timely – Creating a timeline to finish the project.
Meanwhile CLEAR ensures objectives are:
- Collaborative – Verify that the team is inspired to work together.
- Limited – The scope of the objectives should be manageable.
- Emotional – The employees must be prepared to build an emotional bond to the objectives.
- Appreciable – Big tasks must be broken down to make them more attainable.
- Refinable – Objectives should be flexible to adapt and be modified as new circumstances emerge.
These plans help the team to manage cost, time, modifications, risks, quality, and other related issues that might arise during the project and deliver the project on time. The factors that are considered as a part of the project plan are:
- Project estimation
- Project scope
- Team roles and responsibilities
- Approval process
- Key project milestones like meetings and deliverables
This stage is most commonly associated with actual project management. In the Project Execution stage, there is an intense activity for Project Managers from allotting resources and building deliverables to formulating updates on the development, status analyses and performance reports.
In this stage, a project manager is typically liable for:
- Timeline management
- Budget management
- Risk management
- Resource planning
- Change management
- Quality management
and many more…
Project Monitoring and Control
Though sequenced as the fourth stage in the project management life cycle, the monitoring phase is often performed during the execution stage, not afterward. While the team implements the project plan, Project Managers start monitoring and controlling it to guarantee the progress is on track with the schedule. To attain this, Project Managers will be:
- Keeping track of jobs that are crucial
- Balancing intended costs versus actual costs.
- Checking and managing scope creep and adopting steps to counter it.
- Briefing the stakeholders with the status reviews according to the pre-established communication strategy.
- Investigating techniques to optimize performance.
Project Closure is the final stage of the Project Management life cycle. It entails a series of fundamental activities and tasks, like delivering the finalized project to the customer, stating its fulfillment to stakeholders, and releasing resources. During this stage, Project Managers also hold a meeting to assess what went wrong during the project, emphasize favorable outcomes, and discover what enhancements can be made for later projects.
Although project management may appear terrifying at times, splitting it down into these 5 distinct stages can help the team handle even the most complicated projects and use time and resources more wisely.