Project Management Phases – Part I

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We have already discussed the lifecycle of project management; in this three part series, we shall go in depth of each phase in the project management lifecycle.
Project Conceptualization
This is the first phase in a project life cycle where a business problem, requirement or opportunity is identified and happen to be the most important from all phases. The success of the project depends on the success of the planning phase. The following are the activities involved in project planning:

Business Case – this is the single most important document you will need to get approval from higher management to allocate resources to go on any further. Business case contains a description of the problem, requirement or opportunity at hand, and the solution to solve the problem or capitalize on the opportunity.
The most important section of the business case is the return of investment of the project. The management team who shall approve the project would need to see the benefits of the project; often, it plays the most important role in their decision.
Evidence of Concept – you have a convincing business case but management would verify if the solution is realistic or workable. This is the time you provide proof that the solution proposed either exists or is possible to accomplish. Past project from within or outside the company should be presented to convince management that their goal is realistic. If the solution is unique, a prototype is the closest evidence that can be presented to management team.
Engagement Agreement – pertains to the actual work to be done and the results expected from your team at the end of the project. The agreement also contains the scope of work, agreed timeline and resources assigned and budgeted. Human resources referred to as the project organization is explicitly detailed to show people and their roles from management to project staff.
Project Team – once the solution, project organization and roles have been defined the project team positions should be filled up. The recruitment of the personnel should be done together with Human Resources to acquire the best fit people for the job.
Logistics – The working environment should be arranged for the team which include desk, computers, telephone, file server, file backup medium, other equipment, etc.
Sign-off – when all necessary documents are completed, sign-off between the client, stakeholders and project team is important and vital to the overall success of the project. Sign-off ensures that all documents are thoroughly reviewed by everyone and guarantees that the project team is working on the exact needs of the client.
Project Planning
This is the second phase in a project life cycle where the manager takes control of the project from creation of activities, assignment of tasks, timeline charts, deliverable checkpoints, allocation of resources, etc. The following are the activities involved in project planning:
Resource Plan – the timing of all resource deployment should be scheduled and timed together with the tasks required. Not all resources are deployed all at the same time because dependencies of task completion are typical in projects and as such the actual deployment and availability of resources should be plotted accordingly and people concerned to have the resources available should be notified in advance.
Outsourcing Plan – outsourcing or third party services should be made available in case current or internal resources are not sufficient to meet the deadline. Outsourcing resources should be well planned and put in place so that project teams will have fallbacks if the project fails to meet its timeline. Likewise, agreement between the project and outsourcing/third party businesses should be ready to ensure a fast and smooth outsourcing of resources.
Reporting Plan – submission of status reports should be planned. Frequency or schedule of status reports should be defined whether they are done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The individuals who are required to submit status reports should be notified.
Cost Plan – billable and chargeable expenses should be detailed and plotted throughout the project. Checkpoints to ensure that the project remains on budget should be set and scheduled.
Quality Plan – the deployment of the quality assurance personnel should be done in the early stages of the project so that they can study the deliverables, create quality matrices, create quality scorecards and plan for checkpoints.
Milestone Plan – milestone checkpoints should be set in place to make sure that project task goals are in quality, time and budget.
Sign-off Plan – tasks are divided into smaller pieces or modules and for each result the project team should have the client for each deliverable to be signed-off. The timeline for the client’s acceptance of the project modules should be scheduled and set.
[tags]Project, Management[/tags]

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