August 31, 2020
December 30, 2020
A project management process is a framework for any project you undertake.
Which begs the question, what even is a project management process?
Considering how important the steps in a project management process are to the development and delivery of a project, we have outlined the 5 steps typically followed for any project.
So, let’s get to it!
When considering project management, there is no doubt you have heard of the term project lifecycle.
But what is a project lifecycle?
Well, simply put, a project lifecycle is the series of phases or steps any particular project goes through. This includes starting from the initiation of the project all the way to its closure.
The style and type of your project lifecycle, and more specifically the number and sequence of your project lifecycle, are determined by several various factors.
The factors that may affect your project lifecycle’s stages include the nature of the project you are working on, the particular needs of the organization working on the project, as well as the area of the application of the project.
A project lifecycle provides a basic framework of the actions that need to be performed in your project.
The style of your project lifecycle may also vary. Project lifecycles can range from plan-driven approaches to more change-driven approaches.
If your project lifecycle defines the specifics at the start of the project and pre-decides how to address changes to scope, you are working with a predictive lifecycle.
Your project lifecycle can also be adaptive or more change-driven and agile.
Typically, whichever type of project lifecycle your organization requires, your project lifecycle will include 5 phases, these phases are often referred to as the 5 project management process groups.
The standard framework for any project management lifecycle involves 5 project management processes, groups.
Although your project lifecycle may vary and be unique in its structure and detail, the standard framework consists of the same generic lifecycle structure.
These 5 phases include:
Although we can go into lengthy detail explaining detailed elements prevalent in each phase, for this article, we will briefly discuss an overview of each phase, to allow you the ability to understand how to make the project phases work for you and your team.
Let’s take a closer look at the project management process groups.
The beginning of any project lifecycle starts with the initiation phase.
The initiation phase of any project aims to highlight the vision of the project you wish to undertake, identify, and document what you wish to accomplish, as well as achieve approvals from stakeholders.
Therefore, the initiation phase of a project requires the project charter as well as the stakeholder register.
First things first, what is a project charter?
Well, a project charter is your entire project portrayed on a short, formal document.
The project charter will answer questions such as:
Therefore, the key components of the project charter are as follows:
Once a project has received approval, it is time to start on the project.
However, before you can get down to the actual project itself, or in other words the execution phase, it is essential to assemble a team to run the project as well as plan how to run the project to achieve its goals.
This means you need to first determine your goals for the project.
When setting goals for any project there are two popular methods you can adopt.
These two common methods for setting goals are S.M.A.R.T and C.L.E.A.R.
Adopting the S.M.A.R.T approach to setting goals allows you to properly understand the effects of the goal-setting process.
S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
Other than the S.M.A.R.T approach to creating and setting goals, there is a newer method of C.L.E.A.R.
With the newer approach of C.L.E.A.R, creating goals takes into account the fast-paced business environment of today.
C.L.E.A.R stands for Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable, and Refine-able.
Apart from creating and determining the goals of the project in the planning phase, the scope of the project is defined and the project management plan is developed.
The planning phase is also to allow teams to properly understand their roles and responsibilities.
Other documents need to be created for a project(s) to stay on track.
These documents may include:
Once you’ve received business approval and all the planning is done and all your team is on the same page, it is finally time to kick your plan into action.
This phase is often commenced with a “kick-off” meeting. A kick-off meeting is the first meeting between a project team and the client.
The reason for this meeting is to allow the team to be introduced, as well as to understand the project, both in terms of its background as well as what success of the project would be.
Apart from the kick-off meeting, certain other tasks get completed during the execution phase.
These tasks include but are not limited to:
Often project managers will create a project management process flowchart, these charts help teams visualize the steps and sequence of tasks to be followed throughout the project management lifecycle.
Check it out:
Usually overlapping with the execution phase, the project management monitoring and control happens continuously throughout the project management process, once the project commences.
It is essential for any project success that a project team performs constant monitoring and checking of the project processes.
Project monitoring and control are aimed at ensuring that the project is progressing in alignment with the project management plan.
It is often beneficial for project managers to use visual tools that can identify and highlight which deliverables have been completed, and thus provide you with a visual of whether your project is on track.
Other than visual tools to track your project, project managers often rely on Key Performance Indicators.
These key performance indicators allow project managers to track whether the project is on track and going according to plan.
Project managers will often pick either 2 to 5 of the following key performance indicators to determine the progress of their project.
These indicators include:
During the monitoring and control of a project, you need to make sure that you adjust schedules and resources if need be, and ensure that the project is on track and progressing as per the requirements determined in the start.
The project is now at the final stretch, but before you can light the fireworks and let the celebrations begin, there are certain tasks left for a project manager to complete.
Final deliverables will be provided, project resources will be released and the project’s success will be determined.
These tasks include:
It is important to give the project closure phase as much importance as you did for the rest of the project lifecycle.
Even though technically the project is completed, the tasks performed during the project close phase will allow you to be prepared for future projects and avoid mistakes you made in this project and thus become more productive as a team as a whole.
And there you have it — everything you need to know about the project management process that will aid you in your next project.
However, keep in mind that this is a template and that details of the project management process will determine your project.
This guideline is a standard process to follow but can be altered to fit your needs and requirements.
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