Taking a streamlined, structured approach to project management is an effective way to ensure everything gets done when it’s supposed to. From creating a project timeline to knowing when to implement centralized logging management to creating a launch strategy, there are a lot of moving parts in the process.
There are five phases of an effective project management strategy: initiation, planning, execution, performance monitoring, and wrap up Here’s what happens in each and how to ensure you’re completing your tasks in the right order.
Phase One: Initiation
Don’t be confused by the fact that the planning process doesn’t start until phase two. The initiation phase is when you get all of the supporting information that will help you create a strong plan in phase two. During the initiation phase, your core team will identify the goals of the project and take a high-level approach to any opportunities or challenges you may face. It’s also an ideal time to lay out the framework of who will have to be involved in the project at various points.
The ultimate goal of the initiation phase is to see if the project has merit before investing significant resources. While it can be challenging to kill a project, it’s better to cut it short in phase one than to find out there’s a problem in phase three.
Phase Two: Planning
The planning phase is when you take all of the raw notes you gathered in phase one and start to piece it together into a roadmap. The planning phase includes identifying what steps must be taken first, who will be responsible for what tasks, assigning due dates to various tasks, identifying if any tasks are contingent on the completion of others, and setting an end date for the process.
This is also the phase during which the potential cost implications will be nailed down, and budgets will be assigned. At this point, you’ll start to meet with the other team members that you’ll need to pull in to discuss what the project will look like and take a deeper dive into opportunities and challenges.
Phase Three: Execution
The execution phase is the largest phase of the project. It’s where your team members will do the majority of the work. During this phase, you will be implementing the plan that you made in Phase Two and tracking progress as the project moves forward. During this phase, you may decide to have weekly or bi-weekly meetings in which your cross-functional team can report what work they’ve completed and what challenges they’ve run into. This will give you a platform for problem-solving and ensuring that sings move forward as planned.
You should already have a project manager or task manager assigned to this project. During this time the task manager will follow up with various team members on their progress and even ruffle some feathers if people are lagging behind. It’s important to identify the risk of tasks falling behind and how it will impact the potential end date of your project.
Phase Four: Performance Monitoring
Some of the tasks from Phase Three will carry over into Phase Four, particularly regarding monitoring the progress of the project. During Phase Four, you will also be monitoring if anything has changed in regards to costs, the plan, and ultimately the deliverables of the project. This is also a time when you can do testing on the end product to ensure that it will scale up well and identify any issues before lunch.
Don’t be surprised if during Phase Four you discover that you need to go back to face three. Projects aren’t always linear, and sometimes you need to retrace your steps and account for unforeseen circumstances. Phase Four is your final quality check before entering Phase Five; you want to be thorough here.
Phase Five: Wrap Up
Phase Five is when your project is officially complete and launched. This is an important phase for evaluating the project management process and taking your learnings forward to future projects.
Remember to take time to celebrate the efforts of your team during Phase Five before moving onto the next great thing.