A Guide to the Project Management Life Cycle

A Guide to the Project Management Life Cycle
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Five Process Groups

When you’re running a project, it’s important to make sure that you progress through all five stages of the project life cycle, from initiation to closing. Each portion of the life cycle has its own process and set of deliverables. For example, during the initiation phase, project managers, stakeholders, and team members will be working on the project proposal and scope statement. During the closing phase, project managers will work on the closing documents and the process of putting the project to bed.

Life Cycle Help

While it’s easy to see how the different parts work individually, sometimes it can be confusing to understand how the different phases flow together. Is the project a linear thing or does it require that sometimes project teams return to the planning phase? Sometimes, if there’s a change or something big happens, it’s necessary to change the scope and then carefully manage the change after that.

Initiation

During the initiation phase, the project manager and project team put together their thoughts for running a successful project. Deliverables produced during this phase include an agreement on the project scope statement. The project scope statement outlines the boundaries and relevant stakeholders involved in a project. This document is created when the project manager meets with the stakeholders and sponsors for the project and the project is outlined. Once the scope is nailed down, if need be, a project proposal is submitted for approval. If approved, or not needed, then the team works together to create a project charter.

Planning

Once you’ve initiated the project and you’ve gotten the approval for beginning the project, it’s time to carefully plan out the project. This is the phase that most people think about when they start thinking about project management. Planning the project involves creating work breakdown structures to decompose the project into component parts, assigning action items to individuals, and assessing the risks involved with the project’s execution. Proper project planning will help ensure a successful project and will minimize the chances that your project will fail.

Execution

No, execution in project management doesn’t involve standing in front of a group of guns all pointed toward you. When you’re executing the project, you’re carrying out the pre-defined tasks for that project. The project execution process group is the phase during which all of the aspects that you have planned out carefully will be carried out. During this phase of the project, you will be making heavy use of the project plan and of any project tracking tools you have selected.

Monitoring

It’s important to monitor your project and use the feedback

Monitoring your project is a vital part of the project life cycle. When you’re monitoring your project, you’re checking to see whether the various milestones are being met, what the quality of work being preformed is like, and the progress being made by the team as a whole.

During the monitoring phase of your project, you will be carefully overseeing what is going on in the project. Successful monitoring phases rely upon good communication, so it’s vital that you have an excellent communication plan in place. During the monitoring phase, if you find out that something is not working for your team, it may become necessary to change the project. Thus you’ll also need to be aware of change management methods.

Closing

Closing your project is an oft-overlooked phase of project management. Many people simply complete the execution and monitoring steps in a project, and then they move on to the next project. However, properly closing projects is a vital part of running a successful project. During the closing phase, files are archived (making room for new projects), closing forms are filled out, and lessons are recorded in order to make the next project run more smoothly.

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