Before we start discussing the stages of project management, let’s have a brief look at what project management actually is and why is it that important.
Project management is termed as an approach that involves the use of numerous principles, methodologies, and guidelines, which are developed to lead a project from its beginning phase heading towards the ending phase.
Project management has a lot more to do than just keeping a check on management triangle that is time, budget, and scope. It consolidates between team and client, creates a vision for accomplishment and keeps everyone on the same pitch to lead the way towards objective.
With the right approach in project management, a positive impact is developed, which influences more than the delivery of tasks and targets. On average, projects go over by 27 percent of their planned budget, as per Harvard Business Review. This indeed shows the high importance of project management.
Why Project Management Process Improvement Plan is Essential?
Project Management is vital as it assures that tasks assigned are as per plan and will provide worth and further opportunities to the business. It ensures that the outcome of projects is aligned according to the imperative objectives of the company.
Project management provides leadership and guidance to projects. It removes hurdles and roadblocks by leading and inspiring the team to attain targets.
Project management process improvement plan is crucial because it helps in developing a proper method for the execution of strategic goals. Convenient expectations are assigned regarding what, when, and how tasks will be completed.
Another aspect of project management is that it helps to reduce operational cost, which is crucial for any business to remain within the assigned budget.
Stages of Project Management Process Improvement Plan
Here is the review of the four stages:
1. Initiation (to identify the target)
As it is the first stage of the project management process improvement plan, it emphasizes the identification of a business need, issue, or an opportunity, which can be fixed and resolved by the project.
The company’s top management deliberates the ways their team can take care of this need by fixing the issue and grab the opportunity. This step also helps in outlining the core objective of the project; analyze the suitability, and identifying the targets to meet.
a) Role of project managers:
There is an entirely different aspect that can bring a lot more effectiveness in the project management by changing the mentality of managers. This means rather than decisions being imposed on them, the project managers must go for a mental switch and approach as project leaders.
Project manager’s input at the strategic level becomes highly essential as they are the one who are responsible for the execution of the project. Their performance gets low when they are given tasks by higher management, which are out of their scope.
b) Keynotes of initiation:
- Prepare the feasibility report, which recognizes the core issue to be solved by the project.
- To determine the outlook by analyzing all necessary details of the project.
- Classifying the stakeholders, as it identifies who can be affected by the project and taking them in confidence.
To create a flowchart describing all the procedures and actions from the beginning till the end.
2. Planning (to outline the process)
In this step of the project management process improvement plan, teams are built and brought together, schedules are created, and budgets are prepared.
a) Team building:
“To assign the right person for the right job,” can be a challenging task for management. The company needs to gauge the skills and expertise required for the project so that they can appoint the right employees in the team. Management may also need to get people either freelance professional for specific tasks or staff from other departments of the organization.
b) Preparing Schedule:
Scheduling becomes of high significance as if the project does not start at time, continue at required pace and end at the estimated timeline, it will adversely impact the output of project. Therefore, schedule must be given due importance and must be followed throughout the project.
Project management requires a rational schedule keeping in consideration all the restraints and unforeseen issues and their solutions. Teams must be prepared to deliver their best effort within the deadline to achieve the intended result. For example, if a company is planning to launch cloth lining for the spring season, they will schedule it accordingly. If the product does not hit the shelves on time, customers will getthe other brand. This will result in a total loss for the company by not being up to the schedule.
c) Assigning Budget:
Every business keeps a close eye to their budgets and takes measures not to exceed it. Therefore creating a budget requires a lot more attention, and calculations are thoroughly done to figure out the cost of work done. The best approach of budgeting is breaking down the project into various categories like staff, training, research, marketing, and others.
To get the figures more accurate, getting advice from an expert would be helpful to cross-check if something went missing. Expenses and overheads like licensing fees, insurance, legal procedures need comprehensive estimations.
3. Execution (to implement the course of action)
This stage can be called “Showtime” as now things will come out of conference rooms and papers& work will be done at the ground level. It brings the plans into actions and requires an emphasis on keeping the work cycle moving. This phase pays attention to organize teams, maintain timelines, and to assure the project is running as per schedule.
a) Tasks for Project Managers:
Project managers must keep interacting with higher management, clients, and team members to keep an update regarding the progress of the project. They also need to take up the status to stakeholders at all levels of execution. Proper site/factory visits are arranged to check the status as per standards and compliance requirements.
b) Holding Meetings at Regular Interval:
At this stage of the project management process improvement plan, meetings are held at regular intervals among various levels for monitoring the progress of work. The objective is to keep the project on track and find a solution if aproblem arises.
4. Closure (to end the project)
Only 2.5 percent of companies can complete 100 percent of their projects successfully, as per survey from Gallup.
As the teams move towards the completion, the project enters the closure phase. This phase affirms in providing the final outcome, releasing resources, and assuring the completion of the project with success.It also assures the quality of work delivered has to be up to the standards.
a) Ending Tasks:
One of the most important tasks of the closure phase is evaluating the overall outcome of the project from aspects related to management, quality assurance, finance, timely completion, and others. Team performance is analyzed in regards to their achievement of tasks. A final closure report is documented assuring that all the assignments were completed with no loopholes, thus forwarding this report to key stakeholders.