Starting a project is time-consuming and can be stressful. There may be hundreds of tasks that need to be completed at just the right time and in right order. However, breaking down your project management life cycle into phases can structure and simplify your efforts into a series of logical and manageable steps.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the different phases of the management life cycle that helps turn a vision into a product.
- The initiating phase
Initiation is the first phase of the project management life cycle. This phase focuses on the main objective, what resources will be required to complete the project, feasibility of the project, and identifying the project deliverables.
Project initiation steps may include the following:
- Conducting a feasibility study: Determine the main problem your project will address and whether it will provide a solution to that problem.
- Defining scope: Outline the project’s goals and deadlines.
- Identifying deliverables: Define the product or service to be provided.
- Figuring project stakeholders: Determine who the project will affect and their needs.
- Business case development: Use the above criteria to weigh the potential costs and benefits of the project to determine whether it should proceed.
- Creating a work statement: Document the project’s objectives, scope, and deliverables as a working agreement between the project owner and those working on the project.
The project manager will have a high-level understanding of the project’s purpose, goals, requirements, and risks by the end of this phase.
- The planning phase
Once the project gets a green light, it moves to the planning phase. This phase of the project management life cycle focuses on breaking down a project into smaller tasks, assembling a team, and planning a timeline to complete the assignments. Breaking down the larger project into smaller tasks allows the team to pay close attention to each task and complete it on time.
Project planning steps may include:
- Developing a project plan: Determine the project timeline, including project phases, tasks to be completed, and potential constraints.
- Creating workflow diagrams: Illustrate your processes to ensure that team members understand their roles in a project.
- Budget estimation and financial planning: Estimate project costs to get the best return on investment.
- Assembling resources: Create your functional team and ensure everyone has the tools to complete their tasks, such as software, hardware, and so on.
- Risk prediction and potential quality roadblocks: Detect the issues that could cause your project to stall and plan to mitigate those risks while maintaining the project’s quality and timeline.
- The execution phase
After building a team and developing a plan, your project enters the most crucial phase of the project management life cycle: the execution phase. It is the phase where all the work gets done. This phase focuses on organising workflows and team members and keeping the project on track.
Project execution steps may include:
- Creating tasks and organising workflows: Assign granular aspects of projects to appropriate team members while ensuring that team members are not overworked.
- Task briefing to team members: Explain tasks to team members, provide guidance on how to complete the task, and, if necessary, organise training.
- Conversing with team members, clients, and upper management: Provide project stakeholders at all levels with updates.
- The monitoring and controlling phase
This phase is often carried out with the project execution phase and starts as soon as your team receives its first deliverables or completes a piece of work. This phase aims at measuring project development, managing timelines, and ensuring work is done by the plan.
Project monitoring and controlling steps may include:
- Monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Monitor KPIs to measure project performance and keep deliverables on track. Project managers use data on timelines, budgets, and quality to make better decisions, implement changes to avoid problems, and seize opportunities.
- Monitor Change Requests: Analyse project performance data to determine whether the project is on track or whether changes are required. If the project veers off course, a change request will be submitted and implemented to correct the course.
- The closing phase
Once your team has completed the project, the last phase of the project management life cycle starts. This phase focuses on providing final deliverables, releasing project resources, evaluating completed work, and determining project success.
Project closing steps may include:
- Analysing project performance: Using a checklist, determine whether the project’s goals were met, tasks were completed on time and within budget, and the initial problem was resolved.
- Analysing team performance: Assess how team members performed, including whether they met their goals, timeliness, and quality of work.
- Detailing project closure: Ensure that all aspects of the project are completed and that key stakeholders receive reports.
- Performing post-implementation reviews: Conduct a final evaluation of the project while keeping an account of lessons learnt for similar projects in the future.
Understanding these phases is one of the most important project management requirements. Furthermore, if you want to advance your project management career, you should look for PMP courses to help you gain relevant skills for effective project management. These PMP courses will help you develop as a product manager and align your operational skills and strategies to help your company succeed.