Project Management Phases – Part II

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This is a continuation of the project management lifecycle post where we previously discussed project conceptualization and planning.
Project Build
This is usually the longest phase in the project lifecycle and it is where the product is built or the service is accomplished.

After all deliverables are built or executed in this phase, the customer conducts user / customer acceptance of the end result. The success of the project build (on time, budget and of high quality) depends on the processes put in place and the correctness of the execution. Below are the activities included in the project build.
Actual Build – this is the actual construction and creation of the deliverables and uses most of the bandwidth of the project build lifecycle. My previous manager Qae Crisostomo once told me that the project build should eat up less than 15 % percent of the time contrary to popular belief on the amount of time required to finish the product or service. I would believe she is working on the premise that the project team has built a considerable amount of reusable assets to help speed up development; but unless you are a high octane matured project team, expect most of time being used by the actual build process.
Different methodologies guide the actual build process which includes waterfall, iterative, peer, etc. Waterfall method tends to be linear in nature and one module is done after a prior module has been finished. Iterative process has a number of iterations on specific modules until it is completed. Peer is utilized when modules are finished by members ganging up during the build process.
Checkpoint and Communication – managers have put checkpoints on each module to determine whether deliverables are met on time, on budget and of the highest quality. Managers should also ensure that everyone in the team communicates status, issues, risk, or anything that may positively or negatively affect the project.
Resource management – managers should plot on a given frequency the amount of resources used up by the project team which includes time, charges, materials cost, etc. These values should be measured against the schedule and budget allocated for the project. Variances should be analyzed and addressed if necessary especially when the overall outcome of the project is at risk.
Likewise, allocation for resources that would arrive at certain points of the timeline should be monitored and assured so that people concerned will be able to deliver as expected. For example, a number of computers for testing may come in at a later time during the build and as such, managers should remind the assets group a week or two before the scheduled delivery of these machines about their commitment.
Quality management – the deployment of the quality assurance personnel should be done in the early stages of the build phase so that they can study the deliverables, create quality matrices, create quality scorecards and plan for checkpoints. Managers should make sure that the resources have created a comprehensive checklist of quality matrices, conducts reviews on time and tracks quality history and changes throughout the build phase.
Change management – customer sometimes have a bad habit of going straight to the people in the build phase and ask for changes for feature sets not previously identified. The people on the build phase usually assess the gravity of the changes and implement them right away without informing the manager of these changes. Managers should inform everyone in the project team that any changes requested regardless of magnitude should be recorded, filed, submitted to project team, assessed, discussed and approved before these changes can be made. Manager should ensure that document forms are available and everyone in the team is aware of it and their usage.
Risk management – managers should make sure that documents to list and submit risks identified are available. These risks should assess, discussed and acted upon for its mitigation.
Issue management – like risk management, issues should be submitted, assessed, discussed and acted upon for resolution.
Customer acceptance management – after each module, managers should make sure that the output are sent to the customer for their evaluation and acceptance. It would be best to have incremental customer acceptance done per module as opposed to having them see the output when it is all completed. By giving the customer sub-modules, project may identify anything that needs to be changed while they are small.
Build Closure – When all deliverables have been met, the project team, stakeholders, business process owners meet to discuss what transpired throughout the project phases. The objective of termination is know what where the best practices done and things the team could improve in future projects. Signing-off of contracts, turnover of equipments, archiving of documents, etc. are accomplished in this phase.
[tags]Management, Project, Lifecycle[/tags]

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