Introduction to Stages of Project Management
Everybody out there is associated with some sort of project. It can be an engineer to a financial analyst, a student to a housewife. Individuals are the managers of their projects(task). Similarity among these is that these managers are the responsible body from start to end for the project. Everyone is aware that making a project successful is not a simple task. To complete the task/project, a solid plan with strong management is needed then comes the need for project management. In this topic, we are going to learn about the Stages of Project Management.
A project is “a temporary endeavor undertaken to achieve a particular goal”.
Project management is the process of controlling the achievement of the project objective.
Importance of project management
projects are common in companies; the performance demand is higher in terms of time, cost and specifications. Projects are directly connected to deadlines and defined budgets. The trick is to know how to balance these together with the element of quality to achieve a successful result. The clear aim is to make customers happy with the project and make them come to us again and again with new projects; this process is also helpful for a long-term client building. With a good plan and a process in place, the team is aware of what is next and can invest more time being proactive rather than reactive.
Project management is a cycle that utilizes organizational existing resources and attempts to manage the project by applying a collection of tools and techniques while keeping the company’s routine operation undisturbed. The project management process calls for the creation of a small organizational structure comprised of a team (members). The small structure (team) works until they have produced the desired outcome. After completion, the small organizational structure(team) is dismissed for that related project.
Stage or Phases of Project Management
The project management functioning is defined in stages (cycle) so that every step can be taken care of to complete the project (successfully). The stages of project management in a cycle depend on a variety of factors like the nature of the industry, type of output, and size of the project. Most of the projects can be identified with these given phases-
- Conceptual (initiation phase)
- Implementation (execution phase)
- Closure (finishing phase).
1. Conceptual or Initiation Phase
The project is set up to begin in this phase, the project is in the hands of the defined manager, and the project manager is the driver to take the project to the destination. The first decision is made if we should do this or not. The demand from the project is made, discussions are taking place regarding deliverables, and the participating groups are identified. The team begins to take shape. Issues of achievability and justification are addressed. A suitable response to the need is documented with possible solution options.
Project criticality is analyzed by the project manager (not all projects are equally critical or equally important to the survival of the company). And to calculate criticality, lows and highs are evaluated and planned for the next step. As soon as the recommended solution is approved, a project is initiated. The success of the entire project depends on how clearly and completely the terms of reference are established.
This phase includes several activities; one of them is for the project sponsor to create a project charter, which defines what to be done to meet the requirements of project customers.
Initiation involves several steps to make the final decision-
- Project integration management- develop project charter where documentation is created which satisfies the stakeholder’s demand and expectations.
- Initiation is done through input, tools, and output which details- project statement of work, business care, contract, enterprise environmental factors, and organizational process asset. Expert judgment tool and output project charter do the documentation for the understanding of the customer’s need for the new product, service that is demanded.
- Project communication management- identify stakeholders, the process where identification of all people or organizations impacted by the project is done, and the documentation is created for relevant information regarding their interest and impact on the success.
Approval is done by the project manager and then decides to move to the next stages that are the planning stages.
2. Planning Phase
The project plan is a kind of map that the project manager uses to guide the team from beginning to end. In this phase, the project structure is planned based on project appraisal and approvals. The planning in detail for activity finance and resources are developed and integrated into the quality parameters. Here only an estimate for the number of cycles that will be needed to achieve the project goal will be created. A few major tasks are performed, and the important ones need to be focused on, which includes – identification of activities and their sequencing, time frame for execution, estimation and budgeting, and staffing.
The cycles occur according to the functional and technical design; cycles are kept short. These cycles include the activities of planning, investigating, designing, implementation, testing, and delivery. The required functionalities are written jointly by the project leaders and the customers on the story card, starting with the functionalities that were determined in the initiation phase.
Project plans mainly consists of 3-dimension-
- Cost– how is it’s budgeted overtime.
- Time– how long will it take individually and as a project.
- Scope– identifies what is to be done.
A significant amount of effort and the input of the whole team is needed if the project plan is done single handily, then that may cause the downfall. The risk management is done in the planning phase itself so that the risk factor related to the project can be reduced. The risk related to the project is first identified, then it is taken care of based on chances; if high risk, the project might not be taken into consideration with the same plan, or if the risk is very low, then that is taken care of accordingly by the project manager.
The documentation for targets, measures, and delivery methods is done during planning; also, stakeholders are kept in the pipeline, and those are kept informed for all next steps to gain customer acceptance.
Every point is sorted here now the team is ready to execute.
3. Execution Phase
This is the phase after we have initiated and planned for the project; it is the time to execute. In this stage, the project manager needs to be good at his managerial skills, where he can coordinate the work and motivate the people involved with the project. The project manager should make a balance of technical skills and people and importantly with leadership and managerial skills. Human resource management is the winning factor here.
Important activities taking place are-
- Communication with stakeholders.
- Reviewing progress.
- Controlling quality.
- Managing changes.
Execution goes from-
- Project plan execution by performing activities included within.
- Scope verification for acceptance of the project scope.
- Quality assurance evaluation for the overall performance of the project to ensure its quality standards.
- Team development, skills enhancement for the groups for better project performance.
- Information distribution to stakeholders in a timely manner.
- Source selection among potential sellers.
- Contract administration for a better relationship with the seller.
4. Monitoring Phase
This process continues throughout the execution phase. The project manager should be controlling that the project is not deviating from the plans, and he should be communicating out with the stakeholders. Monitoring is iterative and should be done routinely and often; the longer you wait to control the status of the project, the more time the project has to get off track, and the more time it will take to be on track again. Monitoring means coordinating, communicating, listening, checking, and confirming: quality, risks, issues, costs, schedule.
The project manager needs to be aware of all areas of the project so that change can be done before it happens. This gives time to the manager to avoid it. The project manager makes sure to make a balance between technical and people skills in the team and keep them motivated and happy during the project.
This phase is as important as the other phases. This is the process of finalizing all activities across all processes.
This phase keeps checking for-
- Formal acceptance by sponsor/ client.
- Outstanding items closed.
- Client sign-off documentation.
To ensure the closing success manager should ask for sign-off every time you have achieved a certain milestone and group of work packages. This will ensure you remain on track, the customer kept informed, off-track can be changed, and it is easier to get the final sign-off.
This has been a guide to the Stages of Project Management. Here we also discuss the Phases of Project Management with their dimensions and executions. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –
- Principles of Agile Project Management
- Project Management Teamwork
- Project Management Life Cycle
- Agile Lifecycle