The five stages of project management
Project management is not a science, but breaking it down into 5 manageable stages may help your organisation and staff understand the process, and help to embed a project management culture across your organisation. All projects no matter how complex may be broken down into five stages:
- Project initiation – in this first stage, the scope of the project is defined along with the approach to be taken to deliver the desired outputs. The project manager is appointed and in turn, they select the team members based on their skills and experience. The most common tools or methodologies used in the initiation stage are: project charter, business plan, project framework (or overview), business case justification, and key success criteria and measures.
- Project planning – the second stage should include a detailed identification and assignment of each task until the end of the project. It should include a risk analysis and a definition of criteria for the successful completion of each deliverable. The governance process is defined, stakeholders identified, and reporting frequency and channels agreed. The most common tools or methodologies used in the planning stage are the business plan and milestone reviews. Objectives and responsibilities are agreed with individual team members along with budgeted resources.
- Project execution – this stage begins by communicating to the team. Then the project is put into action and those involved carry out their assigned tasks. The project managers’ role is to ensure that the team is working well to deliver each milestone and to take corrective action when problems arise.
- Project monitoring and control – the results produced by the project team are reviewed against the objectives. The project is analysed at each stage to find what lessons can be learnt for similar future projects. The findings are reported to senior managers in the appropriate manner. The project manager needs to understand the individuals within the teams’ different working styles to be able to effectively manage and motivate during this stage.
- Project closure and review – in this last stage, the project manager must ensure that the project is brought to its proper completion. The closure phase is often characterised by a written formal project review report containing the following components: a formal acceptance of the final product by the client, matching the initial requirements specified by the client with the final delivered product, rewarding the team, a list of lessons learnt, releasing project resources, and a formal project closure notification to higher management. Following up on a project may be necessary with clients or the project team. This could be through support, monitoring the projects results in the long term, or to identify further training needs.
Once this step is completed the next stage you need to move onto is to decide on your KPIs.