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The Five Phases of Project Management

Completing a large, complex project from start to finish can seem like an impossible task. Depending on the number of steps and the complexity of those steps, the project may feel overwhelming. Successful project managers often find it helpful to break the project down into separate, less intimidating steps. The five steps here are popular with many project managers as tools to break down projects into more manageable pieces.

1. Project Initiaition

In the initial phase of project management, decision-makers evaluate the feasibility and the value of the project utilizing specific criteria. Managers will utilize software including Smartsheet alternatives to organize and evaluate the goals and the timeline of the project. These are important factors in determining whether the project should be undertaken. If the project is deemed valuable and feasible, it will advance to step two. If it fails either of these tests, in most cases the project will be dropped.

2. Project Planning

In this step, a concise but comprehensive written project plan is required. This plan will lay out for team members the necessary resources that will be required for the project and how the end results will be produced. The plan will touch on important aspects of risk management, finance acquisition, and how to generate buy-in from stakeholders. Without a solid plan in place, team members will feel insecure in their roles and in the outcome. 

3. Project Execution

A good project plan lays a solid groundwork for the effective execution of the project plan. This means that team members are able to produce the deliverables in a manner that the customer envisioned. If it’s an internal company project, effective execution results in process improvements that management appreciates. Regardless of the scope of the project, effective execution is essential to success.

4. Project Monitoring and Control

Monitoring and control of the project should not wait until after the project execution is done. Rather, this step needs to be taken while execution is happening. Team members should be monitoring the progress of the project during the execution phase to ensure that the timeline is being followed and deadlines are being met. In addition to monitoring the timeline, participants need to track costs to ensure that the project remains within the proposed budget. If the timeline or budget goals aren’t being met, the team needs to adjust the execution of the project. 

5. Project Closure

Depending on what type of project it is, closure may look very different. This phase may include providing the project deliverables to customers. Closure may also mean presenting the finished new process to management for final approval. In any case, closing a project should include evaluating results to share with future project management teams.

While large, multi-faceted projects may seem intimidating to manage, the task can be divided into steps to make it easier to complete. Managers can utilize software to help organize and communicate. They can also rely on team members to manage separate phases of the project. With a solid plan and constant monitoring, managers can achieve successful project completion.

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