The five different phases of project management

Products don’t just fall from the sky and services aren’t handed to us on a silver platter. Although that would be amazing, it would also literally put almost everybody out of a job. Instead, we have businesses who rely on teams and managers who are involved in making sure tasks are completed well on time and within budget.

Enter the holy grail of any company: the “project”. Often looked after by a proficient project management expert, a project stands to ensure that the right tasks are done in the right phases so that, by the end of the project, the company can boast a successful product or service. Every business has a project and every project has a life cycle.

The Life Cycle of a Project

There are five phases which make up a project’s life cycle. This includes everything from the first seeds of the project to the full grown completion. The key thing to remember in a project is to go in armed with a strategy in place, but one which can be modified at each phase if the need arises.

Phases of project management

PHASE 1: PROJECT INITIATION

The very first part of any project is arguably the most important phase. It is crucial for a project’s life cycle that it begins well.
The project initiation phase involves several fundamental steps in starting the project. This includes defining the key objectives, scope, and aim of the project. The purpose of the project must be clearly laid out. Any research that can be done to ensure success should be done at the beginning so that all involved can be armed with the best knowledge and skills before implementing any strategies. The initiation phase also introduces the project team and project manager for the project.

PHASE 2: PROJECT PLANNING

While the initiation phase is important for setting up the project, the planning phase helps to set the pace moving into the project’s implementation.

In this phase more exact details of the project are drawn up, with listed processes, requirements and clear goals are set. This is one of the most difficult phases for a project manager to fully develop, as a person cannot plan for every single outcome and there might be issues which arise later in the project. Should that happen, the project manager should be able to problem solve and deal with the issue while not stalling the project; maintaining a forward progression unless it’s not possible.

In project planning the project’s resources, such as funding, personnel, and equipment are allocated and the project manager works on a schedule to ensure optimal efficiency and inclusive, reasonable delegation.

After the planning phase, the team members should know exactly what is expected in terms of deliverables and deadlines and how to move forward in achieving their tasks.

PHASE 3: PROJECT EXECUTION

This is the first phase in which the project’s wheels are set in motion officially. Where the planning phase was the groundwork, the execution is the workings of the project.

During this phase, the team makes use of the allocated resources, schedules and preparations and all tasks that have been assigned start to be completed.

In this phase, it is important that the project manager keeps in constant communication with the team to ensure that the project goes off without any unnecessary hitches and to offer maximum support to the project team.

PHASE 4: PROJECT PERFORMANCE/MONITORING

Project monitoring is also known as tracking the performance of a project. This refers to monitoring how the team members are doing and whether they are able to execute their tasks with the given resources. In this phase, the project manager also keeps track of the budget and whether everything on a financial front is following its course in the best manner possible.

This phase is important to establish what is working and what needs to change. It’s also important to know whether any resources are going to waste. If project monitoring is done well, it could lead to a more stable process in projects to follow, and the team could start to work like a well-oiled machine.

PHASE 5: PROJECT CLOSURE

The project closure phase is the end-game of any project. In this phase, any products go live or deliverables are handed to the client. This is the wrapping up of the project, where tasks are completed and the reviewing begins; allowing the project manager to evaluate and process what worked excellently and what could have been done better.

Once feedback is given from any team members, the project manager can reflect on it and start to implement new techniques into the next project.

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