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Last week, we saw how corporate governance is crucial to enable an organization to perform as per expectations. We spoke about what it is, how it works and how it benefits organizations. This week we will look into how project management features in an organization’s growth.

In one of our previous articles we have spoken about project management. Here, we will see what the various phases are and what are the various activities that shall be carried out in the phases.

The project management life cycle can be broken down into four phases namely-initiation, planning, execution and finally closure. In some cases, a fifth phase, of controlling or monitoring is also included, but this can be covered under execution and closure phases.

During all these phases, it is very important for the project managers to be able to proactive and take matters into their own hands.

Initiation

In this phase, the following activities are carried out:

  • Identifying a business need, problem, or opportunity
  • Brainstorm ways by which you and your team can meet these needs
  • Begin to solve the problem, or seize the opportunity.
  • Figure out an objective for your project
  • Determine the feasibility of the project
  • Identify the major deliverables for the project.

Clearly it’s worth it to do what it takes to make your voice heard early, before the strategy is set in stone.

Steps for the project initiation phase may include the following:

  • Undertaking a feasibility study – Identifying the primary problem your project will solve and whether your project will deliver a solution to that problem
  • Identifying scope – Defining the depth and breadth of the project
  • Identifying deliverables – Defining the product or service to provide
  • Identifying project stakeholders – Figuring out whom the project affects and what their needs may be
  • Developing a business case – Using the above criteria to compare the potential costs and benefits for the project to determine if it moves forward

A statement of work or project initiation document needs to be drawn out, which may include basic project life cycle flowcharts.

Planning

Once you know that the project is feasible and that you can move ahead with it in a way that your business case will be satisfied. The project is approved to move forward based on your business case, statement of work, or project initiation document, you move into the planning phase. The larger project is broken down into smaller tasks. A team is built according to the requirements, and a schedule is chalked out for the completion of assignments. During this phase, you create smaller goals within the larger project, making sure each is achievable within the time frame. Smaller goals should have a high potential for success.

Steps for the project planning phase may include the following:

  • Creating a project plan – Identifying the project timeline, including the phases of the project, the tasks to be performed, and possible constraints
  • Creating workflow documents or process maps – Visualizing the project timeline by diagramming key milestones
  • Estimating budget and creating a financial plan – Using cost estimates to determine how much to spend on the project to get the maximum return on investment
  • Gathering resources – Building your functional team from internal and external talent pools while making sure everyone has the necessary tools (software, hardware, etc.) to complete their tasks
  • Anticipating risks and potential quality roadblocks – Identifying issues that may cause your project to stall while planning to mitigate those risks and maintain the project’s quality and timeline

The planning phase is also where you bring your team on board, usually with a project kickoff meeting. It is important to have everything outlined and explained so that team members can quickly get to work in the next phase.

Execution

You’ve received business approval, developed a plan, and built your team. Now it’s time to get to work. The execution phase turns your plan into action. The project manager’s job in this phase of the project management life cycle is to keep work on track, organize team members, manage timelines, and make sure the work is done according to the original plan.

Steps for the project execution phase may include the following:

  • Creating tasks and organizing workflows – Assigning granular aspects of the projects to the appropriate team members, making sure team members are not overworked
  • Briefing team members on tasks – Explaining tasks to team members, providing necessary guidance on how they should be completed, and organizing process-related training if necessary
  • Communicating with team members, clients, and upper management – Providing updates to project stakeholders at all levels
  • Monitoring quality of work – Ensuring that team members are meeting their time and quality goals for tasks
  • Managing budget – Monitoring spending and keeping the project on track in terms of assets and resources

Closure

Once your team has completed work on a project, you enter the closure phase. In the closure phase, you provide final deliverables, release project resources, and determine the success of the project. Just because the major project work is over, that doesn’t mean the project manager’s job is done—there are still important things to do, including evaluating what did and did not work with the project.

Steps for the project closure phase may include the following:

  • Analyzing project performance – Determining whether the project’s goals were met (tasks completed, on time and on budget) and the initial problem solved using a prepared checklist [link to checklist template]
  • Analyzing team performance – Evaluating how team members performed, including whether they met their goals along with timeliness and quality of work
  • Documenting project closure – Making sure that all aspects of the project are completed with no loose ends remaining and providing reports to key stakeholders
  • Conducting post-implementation reviews – Conducting a final analysis of the project, taking into account lessons learned for similar projects in the future
  • Accounting for used and unused budget – Allocating remaining resources for future projects
  • By remaining on task even though the project’s work is completed, you will be prepared to take everything you’ve learned and implement it for your next project.

 

With software tools like VComply at ready disposal, it has become much easier to be able to manage all aspects of a project efficiently. Furthermore, project management activities always ensure compliance and adherence to the various rules and regulations.

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