Master the 5 Phases of the Project Management Life Cycle

The key to growing your small business is meeting or exceeding the expectations of modern consumers. Taking on large scale projects and getting them done ahead of schedule is not impossible. In order to accomplish this, you will need to get your entire team on the same page before the project in question starts.

5 Phases of Project Management Life Cycle

A lack of clear goals is to blame for nearly 40 percent of all project failures. Starting a project without an adequate road map for your team to follow is a recipe for disaster. While developing a comprehensive plan of attack will be difficult, it is definitely worth the time and effort you invest.

Instead of trying to handle every facet of the project management process alone, you need to delegate some of the responsibility to trusted team members. Not only will this take some stress off of your plate, but it can also help you avoid letting crucial tasks fall by the wayside.

Master the 5 Phases of Project Management Life Cycle

Read below to find out more about the five phases of project management life cycle and how you can set your project up for success.

1. The Project Initiation Phase

The first thing you need to do before starting a particular project is to define in a broad sense. Often times, the initiation phase will start with a meeting with both the client and the vital members of upper management. The main reasoning behind this meeting is to learn about the client’s expectations for the project in question.

Having this information will allow you to start getting a broad idea of how to properly structure the project. During the initiation phase, you need to ask yourself some of the following questions.

Why Are You Taking On This Project?

The biggest mistakes most business owners make is being unable to say no when to a client. If you are being asked to complete a project that is completely out of your wheelhouse, chances are a number of mistakes will be made.

This is why you need to ask yourself, am I the right person to handle this project? If you cannot answer this question with a resounding yes, then you may need to pass on the project. It is best to be upfront with a client than to take on a project that you know will be a colossal failure. The most successful businesses know their limitations and find ways to work within them.

Who Are The Potential Partners For This Project?

Outsourcing is a huge part of project management success. If your company does not have the capacity or knowledge needed to complete a particular part of a project, outsourcing this work is vital. As you begin to structure the project in question, you should have no problem identifying which parts need to be handed off to another company.

Be sure to keep in mind that you are ultimately responsible for the quality of work your client receives. This is why you need to only outsource work to companies with a good reputation and a solid track record.

What Is The End Result Of The Project?

During your meeting with your client, you need to talk with them about what they want the end result of the project to look like. Getting a feel for what a client’s expectations are can help you identify the most important parts of the project.

Providing your client with anything less than what they expect may lead to you losing their business. Getting every detail, regardless of how minute it seems, about what the client wants can help you avoid letting them down in the future.

2. Planning Out The Project

Now that you have information from your client regarding what they want, the next phase is planning out the project. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is quite simple if you break up the planning process into different stages.

The first stage of the project planning process is identifying all of the objectives. Putting these objectives into chronological order will help you develop a road map to success. Once you have your objectives in place, you need to take a look at which team members can be used to complete them.

Often times, business owners will use the S.M.A.R.T. method to set the goals of their project.

Specific Goals - Setting these goals will require you to answer the who, what, when, where and why of your project.

Measurable Results - Once specific goals are set, you need to figure out how you will measure their success.

Attainable Goals - As you set goals for your project, you need to make sure they are achievable.

Realistic - Being realistic about how fast your team will be able to achieve certain tasks can save you a lot of headaches in the future.

Time-Bound - Creating a timeline of events for your project can keep both you and your team on track.

Delegating tasks like setting functional requirements or design limitations of a project to trusted members of management is a good idea. Usually, these members of your team will have a better understanding of the capabilities of their department. This knowledge will allow them to tell you whether or not certain tasks within the project plan are achievable.

3. The Execution Phase

After all of your project planning is complete, it will be time to turn your team loose and allow them to start executing the work in question. Keeping track of the work your team is completing during this phase is essential. Losing track of the progress being made can throw your project into a tailspin. Here are some of the things you can do to make the execution phase more successful.

Demand Progress Reports

Letting team members know how important regular progress reports are from the outset of a project is important. By receiving these reports you can clearly see when certain tasks are going undone. Finding and fixing these problems in a timely manner is essential when trying to avoid project management disasters.

Weekly Meetings Are Crucial

Finding out about project problems is easy when holding weekly meetings with your team. During these meetings, you will be able to find out about progress and any issues your team is facing. Coming up with quick and comprehensive solutions to these problems will help to keep your project on track.

4. Measuring Project Performance

Making sure the work your team is doing aligns with the project management plan you have in place is vital. During the project performance phase, you will need to look at things like the quality of the deliverables being turned in and cost tracking.

Projects that require the building of software programs will require you to use things like an application log management tool. With these tools, you can get real-time updates on software errors. During the project performance phase, you will need to be hands-on when it comes to checking the work of your team. If issues with work quality arise, you need to nip them in the bud immediately before they spiral out of control.

5. Closing Out The Project

The last phase of the project management process is project closure. During this phase, you will need to make sure that every task listed in your project plan has been completed.

You will also need to take the time to speak with your client to ensure their expectations have been met. If your client is unhappy with the results you have produced, be sure to find out what you can do to fix this problem. Showing your client you are willing to fix any mistakes can go a long way when trying to keep them loyal.

The Key To Project Management Success

As you can see, there are many moving parts involved in most business projects. Using these five phases a road map to project management success is important.

Having project management success is easy with the right team. Hiring employees with a great work ethic and plenty of experience will make taking on large scale projects a breeze.

Implementing the right tools and methodologies is a vital part of keeping your team on track. While implementing new methodologies and technology may make you nervous, it will be worth the effort you invest.

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TechGlobeX: Master the 5 Phases of the Project Management Life Cycle
Master the 5 Phases of the Project Management Life Cycle
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