Project management process is coded into phases starting from the initiation and ending after the completion of a project. It encompasses all the processes or planning, maturity and delivery.
The five essential steps in the process of project management are:
Step 1: Project initiation and conception
Step 2: Project planning
Step 3: Project execution
Step4: Project monitoring and control
Step 5: Project closure
These steps might be common to all projects but they do not necessitate their following. Any project manager training can use them with flexibility by understanding the basic idea behind them. This acts as roadmap of the journey of a project from its beginning to its completion. Make your own decisions depending on the available resources, team strengths and organisation.
Now let us look at each in detail:
Step 1: Project Initiation and Completion
This step will formulate the tone of project progression. What is to come and what goals are to be accomplished is decided in this step itself. It is the most critical phase as it holds the steps in which the reason behind the project is understood and primary research is undertaken for estimating project feasibility.
Often is project is assumed to bring a new product in the market or enhancing the business processes. For instance, if an organization needs to bring changes in process or the organisational structuring or launch anew product. This identification of need of a project to be started is followed by a comprehensive research in the concerned sphere.
A project brief is required to understand the challenged and goals. It described the purpose of the project management in relation to the business. It gives a way to explain to the stakeholders what is to come and what they can expect after the completion of the project. An outright agreement on the objectives needs to developed at the beginning itself. It is not important to declare all the details at such a foundational stage but still a rough layout will give a better start than having no goals in mind.
Step 2: Project Planning
There are no words which can emphasize the importance of this stepenough. It will be the blueprint of your project. It will be the step where you will specify each and every detail of the project you are starting with. Everything ranging from the execution, functioning, and closure of the project will be considered.
It is suggested that you begin with project scope. Just think how much time you have at your disposal for the project completion and how much you might need according to the basic research done in step 1. Without any constraint project derail from the desired path.
This will allow you to make sure that des not happen. Identify the tasks in the project development and then estimate the efforts that are needed. Once the scope, time and effort estimates are ready you can layout the tasks ad resources and segregate further into responsibilities and deadlines.
Sit and think it through with your team to modify according to the limitations and resources available. Communication plans are also made in this step. But how can communicational plans help you in completing a project? Many teams fail in the efficient completion of projects because they do not communicate frequent enough. For this the project manager should make a plan and pass it on to the team members. This way the expectations and concerns of each member can be understood. Check INS and report discussions will be regular and performances can be undoubtedly improved.
Step 3: Project Execution
This is the stage in project management when you can see any actual work being done. Everyone will be working hard to accomplish the tasks assigned to them. Collaborations, reviews, presentations and revision are all a part of the execution. In the first two steps, it is the project manager who takes the entire burden and runs around doing tasks. In this step the project manager is required to guide the team and deal with the stakeholders on all matters. Successful completion of each milestone is to be observed by the project manager.
A project manager is required to do the upper level coach job. He needs to undertake budget management, resource planning. Risk assessment, change management, timeline management, quality checks, work reviews, communications to all stakeholders and facilitation along with meeting management
Now in total all this counts for a lot of work. How will a project manager be bale to do all this? Here the previous planning and estimates of time and scope will come in handy. Regular team task reviews and communication will be the key for efficient management. Managing everything while tracking all the expenses and resource use will be a fine decision
Step 4: Project Monitoring and Control
This step is concerned with the smooth functioning of the project and making sure that everything goes according to the plan. A project manager should keep an eye on timelines, budgets, goals, team performance and quality at all times. Verify that the tea participants understand the project goals.
Let the routes to communicate you be open at all times for everyone concerned with the project. Let the team bring in new ideas and then assess these ideas together with them. Equip yourself with the standards that the organisation follows and then deliver as per these standards. Give it your highest input to make the quality fine. Address the needs of the team members simultaneously, as their success will lead to project’s success. Maintain performance while tackling performance issues. Be empathetic while making the message of improvement clear.
Step 5: Project Closure
When every goal is achieved, it’s time to wrap up the project. Guide your team to close all the tasks and hand over the project to the stake holders. Finalize a report at the end mentioning the details of the process. Many a times, project closure is not given due importance and organizations hop on to the other projects directly. Proper closure and reflections of any off rails should be considered before moving on to another project.
Celebrating the successful completion of the project to acknowledge the efforts of the team members and stake holders can boost their morale. Hold a meeting for discussion about what went well and what could have been improved. Record the outcomes and hand them over to the organization for further reference. Preparing a project closure report can be a good decision stating the name, goals, important dates, deadlines, comparisons, issues and general comments is worthy.