The magnitude of work needed to complete a project can be overwhelming since there may be dozens of tasks to be completed in just the right order and at just the right time. Project managers usually find it less hectic to manage the full sphere of a project when they divide it into five phases that make up the project management life cycle. Breaking down your efforts into these five phases of project management helps give them structure and simplify them into steps that are logical and manageable. Keep reading to get an overview of these five steps.
1. Project Initiation
This is the first phase of the project management life cycle and where its value and feasibility are measured. To decide whether to pursue a project or not, project managers often use two evaluation tools namely;
- Business Case Document – This is the document that shows a just cause for the purpose of the project. It incorporates an estimate of prospective financial benefits.
- Feasibility Study – This is an assessment of the project’s objectives, costs and timeline to ascertain whether the project should be implemented. It balances the requirements of the project with the available resources to establish whether pursuing the project is worthwhile.
Companies desert proposed projects that are tagged impractical and/or unprofitable. However, projects that beat these two tests can be allocated to a delegated project office or project team.
2. Project Planning
Once the project gets approved, project managers need a concrete plan to guide their team, implement the project punctually and stay within the set budget. A project plan that is well-written gives guidance for acquiring resources, obtaining financing and procuring the materials required. The project plan directs on producing standard outputs, creating approval, handling risk, conveying benefits to team members and managing suppliers.
The project plan also prepares companies for the hurdles they might run into amidst the project and gives them an understanding of the scope, timeframe and cost of the project.
3. Project Execution
This is the step that is most usually affiliated with project management. Execution entails building results that satisfy the customer. Team leaders actualize this by assigning resources and ensuring that team members are fixated on their allocated tasks.
Execution depends heavily on the planning phase. The team’s efforts and work over the course of execution are obtained from the project plan.
4. Project Monitoring and Control
Monitoring and control are at times merged with execution since they often come about simultaneously. As teams implement their project plan, they must persistently monitor their own progress.
To ensure what was promised is delivered, companies must monitor assignments so as to prevent scope creep. They must also work out key performance indicators and keep track of variations from allocated cost and time. This consistent watch helps in keeping the project running smoothly.
5. Project Closure
A project is closed when teams fulfill the finished project to the client, conveying completion to team members and delivering resources to other projects. This crucial step in the project management life cycle permits the team to assess and document the project and proceed to the next, using the mistakes and successes of the previous project to build more secure and successful processes and teams.
Although project management may at times seem overwhelming, breaking it down into these five well-defined project phases can assist your team to manage even the most sophisticated of projects by managing resources and time more wisely. For more insight on project management and essential management skills, register for a Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning (MEAL) course. Enroll with us today and get a 10% discount.