What is Project Management? & 5 Phases of Project Management

What is Project Management?

Project management is a strategic execution of everything a team has to do to accomplish all objectives with specific parameters. This includes your team objectives, tools, and techniques over the long term and your day-to-day work. Project management is all about setting up a plan, managing it, and controlling the project’s factors. It is a universal task for organizations, regardless of their sector, size, or complexity.

Project management is more than just scheduling events, tasks, or resources. It is about making sure that everyone on the team understands the goals, their roles in achieving those goals, and ensuring that there are no gaps in communication.

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The execution of a project lifecycle can be ensured by monitoring and controlling the progress of all tasks, incorporating change requests as required, and managing any risks or threats that may arise.

The project management process must be in line with the triple constraints. However, managers often use project management tools and software to balance these constraints and schedules to meet project requirements.

5 Phase of Project Management

According to the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) by the Project Management Institute, phases of software project management are categorized into five distinct phases. Let’s discuss those phases in detail below:

5 Phase of Project Management

1. Project Initiation

Initiating a project involves gathering background information, generating ideas, and forming an action plan. It is the first phase of Project Management. During project initiation, you have to create a business case and define your project on a large scale.

The project manager develops a project charter that provides a basic understanding of the project objectives, scope, and expectations in the initiation phase. The project charter is an important document outlining the details of a particular project, such as the project constraints, goals, deadlines, budget, appointments of the project manager, etc.

It also includes a broad statement of potential project opportunities and challenges of a more extensive scope than planned. Once you have the project goals and objectives, the next step is to identify the key stakeholders interested in the project.

Note that the project charter is similar to the project brief. However, the difference is that the project charter is part of the PMBOK framework, whereas a project brief resembles the PRINCE2 methodology.

2. Project Planning

The project planning stage, the most crucial stage, is where you create a plan for your entire project. This phase aims to develop the action plan that will guide you through the subsequent two phases of the project management process. It helps set the key milestones and deadlines for the final project completion, ensuring that all your team members move towards the same goal.

The project plan must include every attribute of the project, including the budget baseline, deadlines, risk factors, resources, roles and responsibilities for each team member, etc., to avoid confusion when you encounter roadblocks during the project execution phase.

During this phase, the critical thing is to identify the best Project Management tools and methodology that you and your team will follow throughout your project. There are various methods to choose from, such as Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, Kanban, etc.

If you choose the Scrum methodology, you can define your project scope using Scrum Board and break down your project into activities, deliverables, and milestones by making it easy for the project manager and the team members to create and assign tasks.

Unless you use a modern methodology like an agile project management framework, this phase of the project management lifecycle covers almost half of the project’s timestamp.

Therefore, project managers often prefer to draw out their project plan using Gantt chart software, which shows how much work is required at each stage, such as research, development, or production, and when they should complete it.

3. Project Execution

Project execution is where all the preparation from project initiation and planning meets reality. It’s where the rubber meets the road, where you begin to see results from the work that has been done.

The project execution phase involves several activities that can help define your success or failure according to the clients’ and stakeholders’ satisfaction. It includes workflow management and corrective actions from the client, ensuring that everyone stays on the same page and the project runs steadily without any issues.

As the project manager, you will allocate all the resources to the working team and manage those resources to carry out the project successfully. Also, you have to maintain excellent and consistent collaboration between your team and stakeholders as a part of your job.

This stage coincides with the controlling and monitoring phase and, therefore, might include managing workflows and recommending corrective actions to meet and fix the issues as they arise.

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4. Project Monitoring and Controlling

This phase of the project management process ensures that the activities undertaken by teams have adhered to the project objectives and the project deliverables.

Project monitoring helps the manager identify the current project status vs. the actual project plan. During this phase, the manager is also responsible for quality control procedures to prevent the chances of disruptions and quantitative tracking of efforts and costs for the project.

In the project management process, the project execution and monitoring go in line to identify the progress and performance of the project. However, the decisive monitoring phase requires consistent project updates and proper tracking tools and frameworks to accomplish your task efficiently.

The most remarkable factors to consider while working on any project are time, cost, and scope, collectively known as triple constraints of project management. This stage aims to control these factors and make sure they never go off the rails.

5. Project Closing

The closure phase of the project management process is an essential part of completing a project successfully. This phase ensures that all loose ends are tied up, and the client walks with the final deliverables.

Once the client approves all resources and deliverables, the documentation is completed and signed off. This phase allows the project manager to review what went well and what didn’t during the project to make any changes in future projects.

After completing the project, many teams also opt to hold reflection meetings to document the project learnings and identify the successes and failures of their project. This ensures that all team members know what they do well and what needs improvement, which helps them improve their performance in the future.

Read the complete guide about Project Management Tools.

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