Project management starts with a detailed work plan that includes step-by-step processes designed to meet specific targeted goals during the project. Typically, project management involves defining the project, planning each step, project implementation, performance monitoring, and closing the project when delivered (termination).
Stages of Project Management
The following 5 steps outline the process of project management from planning to completion.
- Project Definition
- Project Planning
- Project Implementation
- Project Performance Monitoring
- Project Close (Termination)
When defining a project, the goal is to define the overall scope of the project including the initial project calendar which details start, close and a timeline of project tasks. Defining the project will identify budgets, the project participants (including the project manager), and state the project goal which is the specific end result or target outcome.
Planning the Project
Project planning involves separating the plan into specific objectives (project tasks), specifying the time each task will require to complete and identifying the cost of each objective. When looking at costs some of the many resources to be considered include staff, support, budget, supplies and equipment, services and other considerations. The project manager pulls together preliminary cost estimates and assigns work tasks all while considering risk factors.
During this stage, staff and team members perform the work tasks as defined in the plan to meet project objectives on time. Dependiong on the size and scope of the project, an implementation manager may be hired or the project manager will move from a planning role to that of a project coordinator, to ensure the project remains on schedule and within budget.
A lot of decision-making happens during this stage of project management. Additionally, the project team is likely to encounter issues that often arise when new business systems are implemented.
Monitoring and tracking requires an ongoing assessment of all completed and in-progress project tasks. Project managers will monitor costs, timelines, and track individual project tasks and budgets. Monitoring also ensures that project goals are adjusted as needed and that any risk factors, including modifications are managed. During this period, change management procedures may need to be approved if any change to the project schedule or cost is anticipated.
Project termination or close is the final stage of project management. This includes training, communicating the completion of the project to stakeholders and preparing a final project report After project close, management will often use this downtime to communicate with the project team to share knowledge which can help improve future projects.
Tools for Complex Projects
Complex projects which require more staff, better coordination, larger budgets and so on can be difficult to manage without the use of project management software. These tools help managers to organize and automate some of the tasks associated with good project management planning.
According to Project-Management.com, project management software specifically helps project managers and teams complete client requirements and manage time, budget, and scope constraints.
Project Management Organizations
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a leading and respected professional organization for project managers. Founded in 1969, PMI serves more than 2.9 million professionals. PMI offers several certifications including Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).