The importance of well-founded project management in achieving project goals cannot be overemphasized. From enhancing communication and decision-making, managing potential risks to maximizing available resources, the many advantages project management brings ultimately pave the way for the success and progress of companies and organizations that effectively apply this discipline.
Various literature talk about the different methods and frameworks of how project management is carried out, but below are the five phases that are concertedly tackled:
The project management process begins with the project conceptualization and feasibility assessment. It involves identifying the purpose of the project, its goals, its scope and its budgetary details. Determining the objectives of a project lays the very foundation of its essence, so what does not need to be accomplished is just as important as what needs to be done. The ability to differentiate them and properly deal with them helps one avoid this so-called “scope creep,” seemingly small requests that can significantly affect the results of a project, either through delays or misuse of resources and funding.
Also, in pointing out the project objectives, one must know the answers to the why, what, and when of every project, in particular the desired results, the action items, and the deadline. It is advised, however, to create a project charter or a team charter for bigger projects as this serves as both an anchor and a barometer, keeping one on the right path and enabling them to measure the worthiness of a project.
In this phase, the project plan is developed. It is when the key milestones and dates are set, from the “project start” to the “project finish,” and everything significant in between. Monitoring project milestones allows everyone on the team to move towards a shared vision, besides providing a clear direction whenever difficulties are encountered.
It is during the planning stage when the project management methodology to be used will be outlined. The most popular ones include Agile, with which the project is divided into small, manageable iterations; Waterfall, a traditional approach that emphasizes a linear, sequential process; and PRINCE2, which focuses on organization and control.
The planning phase also consists of selecting the team members and identifying their specific roles, outlining deliverables, estimating resources, and determining associated activities.
This is when the action plan is put into action. It involves assigning of tasks, managing resources, and implementing the project plan. During this phase, the project team performs the work required to meet the project objectives, such as deliver the products to the specific stakeholders. The execution stage also occurs simultaneously with the monitoring and controlling stage (the fourth stage) and can also encompass the processes of managing workflows as well as recommending changes and corrective actions.
Monitoring and Control
This crucial stage is where progress is monitored, and performance is measured against the project plan. This part of the project life cycle is also where deviations from the plan are identified, and corrective actions are taken to bring the project back on track. Effective project monitoring requires tracking project progress or doing regular “check-ins” while using proper project documentation and tracking tools like Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and team stand-ups. The more visual and real-time the tracking tools or frameworks are, the better it is when it comes to communicating the project status to stakeholders and create proper adjustments accordingly.
Also known as the “project delivery” stage, the final phase is when the project is completed and the project outcomes are delivered to the client, who is either an internal team or an external stakeholder. The closure stage includes documenting the project results, closing out contracts, and releasing of any resources. It also entails doing a project review or audit to identify the lessons learned and the best practices for future projects.
The upcoming Global Project Management Forum 2023, happening on 12 to 13 June 2023 in Riyadh, KSA under the theme “Project Management Ecosystem: The Journey to Excellence,” will bring together project management professionals, top industry speakers, decision makers, and thought leaders whose mutual vision is to elevate the project management profession through discussing project management best practices and latest innovations, among many others.