There are different schools of thought when considering a phased approach to project management. Some may claim there are 3 phases to a project while others say it’s 5. All in all its reasonable to adopt the most suitable approach depending on Industry type or project scope. The management of a project is solely based on the basic idea that a project goes through a number a phases characterized by a distinct set of activities or tasks that take the project from conception to conclusion. Projects may be big or small, constrained by cost and time often complex and therefore it is important to take a structured and defined approach to managing them through their entire lifecycle.
Let’s take a look at the 5 phases
- Project Initiation – A project is formally started, named and defined at a broad level during this phase. Project sponsors and other important stakeholders perform their due diligence on whether or not to undertake a project, or choose to undertake one project over another. Depending on the nature of the project, feasibility studies are conducted or as it may require, in an IT project – requirement gathering and analysis are performed in this phase.
- Project Planning – It is during this phase that a project management plan is developed all comprehensive of individual plans for – cost, scope, time, quality, communication, risk and resources. Some of the important activities that mark this phase are -making WBS, development of schedule, milestone charts, GANTT charts, estimating and reserving resources, planning dates and modes of communication with stakeholders based on milestones, deadlines and important deliveries. Projects have identified and unidentified risks that may affect aspects of projects in later stages , hence a plan for managing these risks should they happen is determined. Risk management planning includes risk identification and analysis, risk mitigation approaches and risk response planning.
- Project Execution – In the execution phase the project deliverable is developed and completed , adhering to the plan as developed in the previous phase. The project execution and project monitoring and Control are the 2 phases that mostly occur simultaneously. A lot of project management tasks during this phase capture project metrics through tasks like status meetings and project development updates, status reports, human resource development and performance reports.
- Project Monitoring and Control – this phase mostly deals with measuring the project performance and progression with respect to the project management plan. Scope verification and control to check and monitor for scope creep, change control to track and manage changes to project requirement, calculating key performance indicators for cost and time are to measure the degree of variation if any and in which case corrective measures are determined and suggested to keep project on track.
- Project Closure – A project is formally closed in this phase. It includes a series of important tasks such as making the delivery, relieving resources, reward and recognition to the team members and formal termination of contractors in case they were employed on the project.
Five-phase Project Management: A Practical Planning And Implementation Guide
Planning a project in 5 steps – Going directly to executing a project