Project management is getting bigger and better with every project. It isn’t limited to just overseeing a project from A to Z. It’s about what goes inside while planning, developing, communicating, executing, and controlling the project. It’s pretty much like playing Tetris where you need to fit different elements together in order to successfully complete the levels.
In this article, we will discuss every element of project management so that you can have a better understanding of them. How about we go back to basics and then move to the advanced aspects of project management?
According to Wikipedia, “Project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria at the specified time.”
The knowledge of project management can be drawn from factors such as integration, scope, time, cost, quality, procurement, human resources, communications, risk management, and stakeholder management. Project management depends upon these factors and brings a unique approach to each project.
The project process can be described as a unique action that represents the whole project implementation and internal processes in a project. A project manager decides and implements the work instructions, procedure, network plans, and project management software for the execution of a project.
It’s inevitable to discuss project life cycle while talking about project management phases. The project phases make up a project life cycle and the phases are decided and chosen in a way that perfectly goes with the project requirements. According to the PMBOK, the elements of a project life cycle should define:
These elements help project managers to define what needs to be done before moving to the next phase of a project.
There are five phases of project management. These phases are as follows:
This is where a project starts. The purpose of this phase is to define the project in a larger sense. Here, the project manager starts with a kick-off meeting with a client(s) to understand the goals and objectives and most importantly, their expectations from it. It’s essential that he goes through all the details and ask as many questions as possible to develop a better understanding of the project.
In the initiation phase, they answer the following questions :
Once the project is given a green light, the project manager creates a project initiation document (PID) where he outlines the purpose and requirements of a project.
Tip: Always include at least one developer in a meeting so that he can answer and provide guidance while dealing with the more technical questions related to a project.
Once you’ve defined all the objectives, it’s time to develop a roadmap for everyone to follow. It involves setting goals and describing job-responsibilities to the project members. Many project managers set S.M.A.R.T goals to make the process achievable.
S.M.A.R.T goals – It is a popular goal-setting process that helps you set goals which are ambitious yet doable. If you break the word, every alphabet signifies a quality that can help you set well-crafted goals.
Specific: To set specific goals and have an answer for every what, who, where, which, when, and how.
Measurable: To define criteria that can be used to measure the success of a goal.
Attainable: To identify what it will take to achieve those goals.
Realistic: To set goals that are actually doable and achievable in the given time.
Time-bound: To create a timeframe to achieve every goal.
Usually, this is the most challenging phase of project management as project managers need to take care of the preconditions, functional requirements, operational requirements, and design limitations. Moreover, this phase also involves identifying the work, preparing the schedule, and estimating the cost and is often referred to as risk management.
Tip: While creating a schedule, make sure it doesn’t take longer than 10 days. Be sure every project member is sure of their responsibilities and accountable for that.
This is the phase when the project starts taking it shape. As a lot of things are happening while executing a project, maybe that’s why it’s referred to as meat of the project. The programmers are working on coding, web designers with the graphic material, status and performance reports are made by project managers. This phase is also called implementation phase.
Here are some of the important things are being taken care of in the implementation phase.
The main objective is to achieve results that meet the requirements and were agreed-upon initially.
Tip: Consider using a project management software like ProofHub where you can create plans, assign tasks, communicate and collaborate with other project members and keep everyone in the loop regarding the progress of tasks.
This phase is about measuring project progress and overall performance to see if everything aligns with the project management plan or not. Different project managers use different techniques to measure performance. Some use a project management software while others use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if it is on track or not.
Some of the common KPIs to measure project performance are:
Tip: After every phase, review, track progress, and if required, make adjustments to the project plan to deliver it in the best possible manner.
This phase represents the completed project. It is the last phase of project management that is also called post-mortem or follow-up phase. Generally, once the project is completed and delivered, the effective project managers set aside some time to identify the strengths, valuable team members are recognized, what went wrong, how it can be rectified, and what are the takeaways from the project. Most of the times, project managers neglect this phase, considering it unnecessary. However, if we take out some time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses, it will be of help to approach the future projects with more enthusiasm and dedication.
How a project manager closes the project?
And, a project is finally closed!
Tip: Using a cloud-based software will help you collect and save all the documents in one place throughout the life of a project.
There is no perfect way to project management. However, you can give a proper structure to your project using these phases and take care of each phase in the best possible manner. Also, project management involves following an established project management methodology that follows a set if common project phases with processes that run across each phase. Be smart enough when using project processes and don’t forget to change them as per the project requirements. Make the most of previous successes and project failures and adopt effective project management techniques and the right or mixed methodology to ensure the smooth execution of a project.
If you think, we have missed out on something, feel free to drop a comment below!