Every entity in the world goes through the phases of the project management cycle to turn it into something big or successful be it the human race or a sapling growing into a big tree. Similarly, projects also go through various project management phases so that they can be delivered in the way required by the stakeholders.
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Many people very often wonder – why planning a project in phases is so important? Is it not possible to just go with the flow? Actually, it’s not! Dividing your project into different, smaller pictures will help you to see the “Bigger Picture”. It gives you a better idea of the project from the beginning itself like which resources you will require in terms of money, time, tools, manpower, etc. Better visibility and control over resources can help improve the business efficiency and productivity which ultimately means higher profits. High-quality products developed within the shortest time span is the holy grail of project management.
It doesn’t matter which project you are involved in, project management phases can help you and your team finish the project on time with minimum headaches. With the advent of project management software, these processes have now become easier than ever before.
The 5 Project Management Phases
When you kick start a project, the amount of planning and hard work it requires might exhaust you. There are hundreds of tasks that have to be completed in a given sequence. Breaking the entire project into phases can make these processes much easier. Each phase has its own requirements and plays a huge role in the successful completion of the product cycle.
1. Project Initiation Phase
From this phase, the project officially starts. It is given a name and a definition at a broad level. Stakeholders and project sponsors decide whether to commit or not to commit to a project with great conscientiousness. A feasibility study is conducted depending on the type of project to identify whether each option covers the objectives and a recommended solution is provided. For example, for an IT project, requirement gathering and analysis is performed; while for a construction company, a project charter is completed in this phase.
2. Project Planning Phase
This is the phase that will decide the fate of your project. A project plan is prepared to keep in mind the budget, scope, deadlines, quality, communication, risk, and resources. Some of the very important task management in this phase include the development of the schedule, milestones charts, GANTT charts, making WBS, estimating and reserving resources, etc. It also involves the planning dates and mode of communication with stakeholders to discuss deadlines, milestones, and important deliveries. It also involves planning, how to tackle identified and unidentified risks that may come up. Risk management planning includes risk mitigation approaches, risk identification and analysis, and risk response planning.
3. Project Execution Phase
The product is under-construction during this phase. It requires adhering to the mapped-out blueprint. It also involves capturing project metrics through various tasks like status meetings and project status updates, other status reports, human resources management, and performance reports. There are possibilities that the stakeholders might ask for some unnecessary changes. The project managers should think wisely and only then accommodate such changes. Work closely with the business analyst and the change board team to ensure that your project is going in the right direction. The time that these project management phases might take usually varies depending on the type of the project which can be anything – building a skyscraper or a simple web page.
4. Project Monitoring and Control Phase
Project monitoring and execution go hand in hand. The team should be able to monitor and track their own progress at any given time. The project status and progress are constantly compared to the actual plan and in case of any variations, the schedules are adjusted accordingly to keep the project going at the desired pace. This phase requires the sharing of project progress reports, trend status reports, and forecasting reports with the concerned stakeholders.
5. Project Closure
After all the hard work the time has come when the team can now breathe a sigh of relief. The project is finally ready to be delivered to the client. But the game is not over yet. It also requires the closing of supplier contracts, communication of project closure to stakeholders, and releasing of project resources. Make sure you archive all the information pertaining to the project on a single platform. This can become a useful resource for your future projects. Make sure you evaluate the project results and identify what mistakes were made and what measures should be taken to avoid repetition of such mistakes in the future. The team is also required to provide continuous support in case of failures, breakdowns, and other such situations.
Following the project management phases saves time and keeps everyone focused. With technology and innovations emerging each day, a variety of templates are now available that will help you in project management from day 1 until the time it is successfully deployed on the client machine.
With your company growing large and with more people getting on-board having a project management tool can be like a cherry on top. Using a project management tool will help in maximizing performance levels, improving workflows, better collaboration within teams, etc. It will prove to be one of the key factors in achieving successful project completion.