Phases of a Project - Explained
What are the Phases of a Project?
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Table of ContentsWhat are the Phases of a Project?What is the Initiation Phase?What is the Project Planning Phase?What is the Execution Phase?What is the Monitor and Control Phase?What is the Closeout Phase?
What are the Phases of a Project?
The Project Management Institute identifies four, sequential phases. Though, there are five commonly-recognized project phases:
- Monitoring & Control (not included by PMI)
There are multiple sub-phases or activities that are completed within each phase.
What is the Initiation Phase?
The activities during the initiation phase vary based upon the project, but they often include:
- Identifying the business problem or opportunity
- Defining a solution is defined,
- Forming a project, and
- Appointing a project manager or team
In summary, they include all the activities necessary to begin planning the project.
It is also worth noting that this phase may be charged with seeking approval for the project from stakeholders. This is normally accomplished through two documents:
- Business Case: This document justified the need of the project. It generally calculates a return on investment.
- Feasibility Study: This document generally identifies the cost of the project (in terms of resources needed), identifies the goals, and sets a timeline to completion. As the name implies, the documents seeks to make certain that the objectives of the project are achievable within the primary constraints.
What is the Project Planning Phase?
The planning phase, commonly known as the “organizing and preparing,” seeks to lay out how the project with be carried out and the required resources. More specifically, the team will develop a detailed project schedule, a budget, a staffing plan, procurement plan, and project control plans.
The result should be a detailed project plan containing the following:
- Scope: The project need, objectives, timeline, and deliverables.
- Definition: Breaks down the project into smaller specific objectives.
- Tasks: Identify necessary tasks for each objective and how they are interdependent.
- Schedule: What is the projected timeline, milestones, and projected completion date.
- Cost: Estimate the costs and put together a preliminary budget.
- Quality: Identify quality standards and quality control measures.
- Organization: An organizational structure for reporting and project assignments.
- Staff: Determine team roles and responsibilities.
- Communications: A detailed reporting plan and communication structure (email, slack, etc.)
- Risk: Identify the primary risks associated with the various activities, phases, and objectives.
- Procurement: Develop a plan for acquiring the necessary project resources.
This provides a starting point, which will be adjusted as the project proceeds.
What is the Execution Phase?
The execution phase, also known as “carrying out the work,” undertakes the major activities that must take place to complete the work. The project manager will be charged with overseeing progress, supervising those charged with individuals tasks, and monitoring overall project progress.
What is the Monitor and Control Phase?
The Monitor and Control phase, often grouped into execution, is the act of monitoring the progress of the project. It requires a constant comparison of the use or resources and accomplishment of tasks to the expected budget and project timely. The manager will undertake the following:
- Reporting: Providing project progress information to stakeholders.
- Scope: Identify any changes to the scope of the project.
- Quality: Identify and take action on any deviations in the quality of outputs.
- Schedule: Monitor compliance with the project schedule.
- Cost: Identify any variations between actual costs and projects.
- Risk: Monitor and address any realizations of identified risks.
What is the Closeout Phase?
The closeout phase, or “closing of the project”, is when the project is completed, the project team is dissembled, and reporting and deliverables are finalized. The project manager will go through a punch list to make certain all requirements for the project have been completed.
The project client takes control of the product of the project, and the project office is closed down.