Does the business organization where you work feel… a little disorganized?

Does it seem like every department and team has their own way of doing things, harming overall efficiency, production, and your work environment?

If so, it might be time to start implementing proven project management processes and phases at your organization in order to bring your company’s workflow under control. At first, the concept of the project management process and its practical adaption can seem a little daunting, but this article will give you everything you need to set up PM processes and phases at your business.

Projects big and small have a lot of moving parts. There’s so much to coordinate and track to get from Point A to Point B and execute a successful project. That’s why projects are broken down into smaller, more digestible pieces, also known as project phases. Project phases allow you to take your unwieldy project and organize it so that you can wrap your mind around it and make progress.

In project management there are five phases: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing. Throughout these project phases there is a need to constantly monitor and report, which is where project management tools come in. Without project management tools, you’ll be scrambling to gather actionable data, track progress and meet deadlines.

Let’s take a closer look at the five phases of a project:


1. Initiation

This is where all projects begin. The value of the project is determined, as well as its feasibility. Before the project is approved or rejected, these two documents are created to sell the work to stakeholders or sponsors:

  • Business Case: Here is where you justify the need of the project, which includes analyzing return on investment.
  • Feasibility Study: You need to evaluate what the project’s goals are, the timeline to completion and how much the whole endeavor will cost. You also note what resources will be required to fulfill the project, and if it makes financial and business sense.


2. Planning

If the project is approved, then the next step is to assemble a project team and to start planning how to manage the project so it can achieve its goals within budget and on time.

The project plan will include what resources are needed, financing and materials. The plan also gives your team direction and the following:

  • Scope: There will be a written scope statement that reiterates the need for the project, and what its deliverables and objectives are.
  • Definition: Here you break down the larger deliverables into smaller ones, which will help with managing them.
  • Tasks: Identify what tasks are necessary to produce the deliverables, figure out if any tasks are dependent on other tasks.
  • Schedule: Determine the duration of the tasks and set dates for their completion.
  • Cost: Estimate the costs involved across the project and formulate a budget.
  • Quality: Make sure the quality objectives are met throughout the project.
  • Organization: Note how the project will be organized, including reporting on progress.
  • Staff: Determine roles and responsibilities of the project team.
  • Communications: Decide how information will be disseminated, to whom and with what frequency.
  • Risk: Determine what risks are likely, how they’ll impact the project and then plan how to resolve them.
  • Procurement: Decide what work or materials will be contracted. Define those contracts and who they’ll go to.


3. Execution

Now that you’ve done your planning, it’s time to start the project. This is where the rubber hits the road, but that doesn’t mean you’re just cruising. This phase is made up of these detailed processes:

  • Executing the Plan: Follow the plan you created, assign the tasks to team members and manage and monitor their progress with project management tools, like a project dashboard.
  • Administrate: Manage the contracts secured in the project.


4. Monitor and Control

To ensure that the project plan is being actualized, all aspects of the project must be monitored and adjusted as needed. To do this, follow these processes:

  • Reporting: Have a metric to measure project progress and an instrument to deliver this information.
  • Scope: Monitor scope and control changes.
  • Quality: Measure the quality of deliverables and make sure that the planned quality is being met. If not, evaluate how to improve the quality.
  • Schedule: Keep track of delays or blocks that impact the timeline of the project and adjust to stay on track.
  • Cost: Monitor expenses and control cost changes.
  • Risk: Note changes in risk throughout the project and respond accordingly.


5. Close

The project isn’t over once the project goals and objectives have been met. The last phase of the project is closing it out. This involves another set of processes:

  • Scope: Make sure the project deliverables have been completed as planned.
  • Administration: Close out all outstanding contracts and administrative matters, archive the paperwork and disseminate to proper parties.

With the right knowledge of project process and phases, any project is manageable.