Have you ever wondered how to effectively organize and streamline your project’s execution without deviating from the path? The answer lies in the successful application of the project management phases.
Whether you are in the initial planning stages or already knee-deep in project implementation, numerous tasks await you. It’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed, unable to figure out where to start, and quickly losing the initial enthusiasm.
However, fear not! The five project management phases provide a structured approach and a roadmap, each with its role and significance, ultimately leading you to successful project completion.
Let’s delve into these phases and discover how they can benefit you.
What Are The 5 Phases of Project Management?
In simple terms, the project management phases represent the project life cycle. This begins at the inception of the project idea and continues to the approval of the project deliverables and outcomes by the board, stakeholders, and other relevant parties.
Now, let’s briefly go through all the project management phases:
- Initiation: The project team determines what the project aims to achieve and what needs to be done. Also, the team assigns a project manager and completes a project charter and scope.
- Planning: In this phase, the project team creates a detailed roadmap, sets clear goals, and determines the timeline, resources, and required budget.
- Execution: The project manager starts carrying out the outlined tasks, oversees the work, manages resources, communicates with stakeholders, and ensures everything progresses smoothly.
- Monitoring: This phase implies monitoring the project’s progress. Part of the project team compares progress to objectives and addresses deviations or issues to keep the project on track.
- Closure: The final phase is all about wrapping things up. The team completes any remaining tasks, conducts final tests and inspections, and seeks approval from clients and stakeholders.
Project Management Phase 1: Project Initiation
The initial phase of project management involves translating your idea into practical work, where your aim needs to acquire a concrete objective. To do so, outline the objective by creating a project charter. The project charter provides:
- An overview of your project
- Your defined goals
- The scope of work involved
- The planned budget for implementation
- The project timeline
Within the project charter, identify all individuals interested in your project.
During the initial phase, develop a business case. The business case represents what you aim to achieve through the realization of your project and what improvements or changes you anticipate. It outlines the benefits you expect to gain due to your project.
As we can see, the project charter and business case play a crucial role in setting clear objectives, scope, budget, and timeline, establishing a solid foundation for project initiation.
These documents provide a roadmap that ensures all stakeholders involved in the project understand the project’s intended direction.
Project Management Phase 2: Project Planning
Planning is a crucial project management phase, as it assesses whether the project can meet all requirements to predict its outcome.
Firstly, creating a project roadmap entails defining project tasks, milestones, and deliverables. It provides the project team members with a clear understanding of the path they will follow throughout the project.
An essential aspect is the budget and resource planning. In a scenario where the average calculated project budget requirement is $500,000, but only $340,000 is available, it becomes imperative to explore a range of strategies to bridge the budget gap and make the project viable.
The goal is to determine budgetary requirements as accurately as possible. The same applies to other resources, such as machinery, human resources, workspace, etc.
The specification project schedule goes hand in hand with budget determination. Every task and deliverable should meet specific deadlines; otherwise, it can lead to project delays and increased expenditure of money and other resources.
Every project has its ups and downs, and it is up to you to analyze potential risks and bottlenecks, have a plan B and C in place, and be able to mitigate them. Ultimately, the last but one of the most important project planning phases is setting project goals.
Everything mentioned earlier depends on the project’s objectives. One should neither be overly modest nor underestimate oneself but define optimal goals. To illustrate this, we introduce you to three techniques for the successful project planning phase—take a look:
#1. SMART Goals
SMART is a technique that can help you set project goals that are objectively achievable through comprehensive analysis. The acronym stands for:
- Specific: The goal should be clear, well-defined, and focused on a specific objective.
- Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable, allowing you to track and measure progress.
- Achievable: The goal should be realistic, neither too low nor too high.
- Relevant: The goal should align with the company’s philosophy, principles, and strategy.
- Timely. Goals should have a specific time frame and deadline.
OKRs, which stands for objectives and key results, is a goal-setting framework that helps organizations and individuals define and track their goals.
But what exactly does it mean? It means that every project has an objective as the ultimate goal (e.g., to increase brand awareness) and key results that need to be achieved to consider the objective fulfilled (e.g., increase social media followers by 30%, achieve a 15% increase in website traffic, etc.).
#3. CLEAR Goals
This technique is a variant of the SMART goals technique, and it revolves around establishing clear goals and objectives and monitoring the progress of team members.
CLEAR is the acronym and stands for:
- Collaborative: Setting goals that encourage teamwork and collaboration.
- Limited: Setting short-term goals with a defined timeline.
- Emotional: Creating an emotional connection between the goal and the project team.
- Appreciable: Breaking down the goal into smaller parts that will form the whole later.
- Refinable: Allowing flexibility and the ability to adjust the work approach and deadlines.
Project Management Phase 3: Project Execution
During the project execution phase, the project team implements the carefully crafted plan, making it the working part of the project management process. This phase primarily involves the execution of activities, team and resource management, and maintaining stakeholder relationships.
Executing activities entails assigning tasks to teams and carrying out the planned activities and tasks. Ensuring that the distribution of activities allows for a continuous workflow to keep the project progressing within the designated work timeframes is crucial.
To maintain high productivity and performance, it is essential to manage the team effectively. Achieving this requires utilizing various tools and programs that establish efficient and open communication channels, foster improved collaboration among team members, and ultimately contribute to the successful execution of activities.
In addition to managing teams, the project management execution phase requires proper scheduling and utilization of other resources such as equipment, materials, and budget. Efficient resource management is crucial for ensuring that the necessary resources are available when needed, avoiding delays, and optimizing project performance.
Furthermore, throughout the implementation of the project plan, maintaining collaboration and communication with stakeholders is vital. Stakeholders should be regularly informed about the status and progress of activities, addressing their requirements and aligning them with the company’s goals.
Project Management Phase 4: Project Monitoring
Project monitoring is a phase that runs parallel to the execution phase, focusing on continuously controlling the work process. Therefore, project monitoring takes place simultaneously while executing activities and implementing the plan.
Control is a crucial aspect of project realization, as careful monitoring enables the timely identification of bottlenecks or requests and promptly addressing them, ensuring that the project stays on track within the designated timeline.
Monitoring is not about aimlessly observing activities and the team but rather systematically tracking progress against the plan, milestones, and deliverables. It involves ensuring that the team completes tasks according to the planned schedule while visualizing progress using various tools, such as burn-up and burn-down charts.
Monitoring also consists of assessing employee performance and promptly addressing performance issues through effective communication with the team. The monitoring phase considers stakeholders’ requirements, as their demands can result in process changes and adjustments to accommodate their evolving needs.
Project management monitoring is crucial for staying on track, making informed decisions, and promptly addressing any deviations or issues that can arise on the way.
Project Management Phase 5: Project Closing
The Closing phase represents the final stage on the journey towards project realization. Entering the Closing phase signifies that the project team has a ready product/service to deliver to the client. This project management phase involves a few steps to wrap up the project.
These steps include obtaining client approval after producing the deliverable and finalizing various contracts that regulate the relationships regarding the project outcome. Usually, organizations engage experts to handle the contractual aspects, ensuring proper addressing of all legal details surrounding the project and the delivered output.
A project review is also conducted during this phase to assess the overall project outcome, team performance, quality of the result, and other relevant factors. These data are analyzed and preserved for a comprehensive evaluation of the entire project.
In addition to all the tasks mentioned above, an essential aspect of this project phase is celebrating the project’s completion and success with your team, expressing gratitude, and demonstrating appreciation for everyone’s role and contribution.
Benefits of Project Management Phases
Now, let’s delve into the benefits of project management phases:
- Organization and structure: This systematic approach to project management will help you easily track the overall progress of your project and navigate through it. Each phase’s activity and role is clearly defined, enabling you to establish a workflow for your project and successfully move towards your goal.
- Improved efficiency: Clearly defined and organized project management phases allow for the proper and optimal use of organizational resources. Resources are utilized based on specific phase requirements, focusing on one phase at a time, thereby reducing costs and increasing effectiveness.
- Clear milestones and deliverables: Project management phases prevent you from getting lost in a sea of data, information, and tasks. Each stage clearly defines key points that require the most attention, timely achievement, and the realization of set outcomes.
- Effective stakeholder communication. The targeted establishment and achievement of milestones and deliverables help the organization track the project’s progress and communicate its status to stakeholders. That helps stakeholders stay informed about the project’s status and ensures effective communication throughout the project lifecycle.
- Risk mitigation: As project division into phases allows for project monitoring, it also enables the timely identification of potential obstacles on the path to realization. It helps identify potential risks and develop strategies to address them on time, thus reducing the risk of negative project outcomes.
- Quality control. The organized approach, monitoring, review, team communication, and stakeholder engagement, all inherent in project management phases, lead to the timely identification of deviations and the addressing of stakeholder requirements, all resulting in a high-quality outcome.
You need to approach each project management phase with equal dedication, systematic planning, and alignment with your company’s principles. The success of each project management phase and deliverables guarantees the success of the project.
Set realistic and achievable goals, determine the budget, establish a timeline, and foster team communication and collaboration to enhance productivity. Of course, monitor the progress of all tasks and each employee’s work throughout the project, as this will significantly increase the chances of reaching the set objectives.