Project management phases

Posted November 11, 2016

Project management phases

This first stage of a project defines the business case, the justification for the project, which will be used to ensure the project stays on track. It also states what the project is intended to achieve, how that will be achieved and the scope of the work; this is important for controlling subsequent change requests. In this phase, those involved in the project will be assigned their responsibilities.

The requirements documentation describes the aims of the project in detail including timescales and constraints. It should also define the criteria that will constitute a successful project and will be used to manage the expectations of the stakeholders. Many projects use an iterative process to reach agreement on the requirements, although some projects take an ‘agile’ approach to project management (more on that in a later post).

The project plan includes details about how the project work will be carried out, how it will be monitored and controlled, how communication will be facilitated and information about costs and timescales. But once a project is underway it is typically the project schedule where most attention is focused.

All tasks need to be scheduled in the most efficient order to ensure tasks with inter-dependencies are completed when required and to enable several tasks to be performed in parallel. There are many project management tools available to assist with scheduling, one of the most common being the Gantt Chart (again more on that in a later post).

The person or group assigned to carry out a task will need to know, in detail, what the task involves as well as any dependencies and timescales, and will also need to understand the criteria by which each task is deemed complete.

Once there is an approved end product the project can be formally closed and a final review held to learn from both the successes and the mistakes and take that experience forward to the next project.