We’ve discussed in detail how to get into project management, but what now? After you have delved into the world of project management, it’s good to look ahead to your future working on projects. What will that look like? Let’s look into the project management process.
The details may vary depending on the industry, but the project management process — or the project lifecycle — typically involves 5 stages: ideas and conception, planning, launch, tracking and performance, and closure.
The first stage of the project management process is, of course, the ideation and conception of the project. Brainstorming, thinking out ideas, evaluating ideas, going back to the drawing board—all of this happens in this initial stage. Before you can get off the ground with a concept, your team has to be sure that the concept is worth it.
How do you figure out if the concept is worth it? Answer a few questions: Does this idea benefit our team? What is the purpose of this project? Can we realistically complete this project? Once you’ve done the necessary research and testing in order to answer those questions in detail, congratulations, you have your project.
Planning out the project is the next stage in the project management process. Planning is actually a process within itself, as much of the important management works occurs at this stage. This is where you will outline the project and all of the work it entails, and the more detailed the better. This step is all about providing your team with some direction so that your project is a success. Here you will plan out responsibilities and the schedule of work, as well as the budget and necessary resources.
This is also where you will set your project goals. One common guide to mapping out your project goals is called “S.M.A.R.T.” goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These goals will provide clarity before the work begins.
Now that the project has been planned out completely, you’re ready to distribute the tasks and resources to everyone on the team and execute the project. Everything that will be delivered at the end will be completed in this stage of the project management process. This is also where the project manager will oversee the tasks as they are completed.
Along the way, the project manager will need to hold status meetings to stay up to date with the team. This is also the stage for the project manager to update plans and schedules as needed. A good tip is to use software that can help your team stay on the same page as it relates to project tasks.
This stage of the project management process, which is an extension of the previous stage, is all about performance tracking. The project manager must keep the team on track, and this involves measuring the performance of the team in a few key areas: project goals, time, cost, and effort.
It’s important to ask at this stage: are we meeting our set goals? Are we on schedule and on budget? Are we completing the tasks attached to this project? The project manager may have to once again adjust schedules and resources based on these measurements.
Finally, this stage in the project management process is where you actually deliver your completed project. The difficulty level of this stage all depends on the industry and the type of project. This stage could be as simple as a client approving a project and you’re done, or this could involve several approval levels and revisions.
Once all deliverables have been given a final approval, it’s important for the project manager to evaluate the process. What went well? What part of the process needed some work? What did we miss the mark on completely? This is an opportunity to learn from successes and failures to improve for the next project. This is also the stage to confirm all project deliverables are gathered together and sent.
Now that you know the basic stages of the project management process, brush up on your skills with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Project Management.
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