5 Stages of a Project: Planning and Executing
I recently outlined the five phases of project management defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) with a particular focus on the first phase, Initiating. In this article, I will explore the next two phases of project management: Planning and Executing.
Project Phase 2: Planning
Using the project plan developed in Phase 1, work with your team and stakeholders to develop key documents required for project execution. Planning is vital to the overall health and success of your project so do invest time in this phase.
Review and update the following plans:
- Costs: Estimate costs and create the project budget.
- Scope: Set the scope including tasks, costs, and outcomes.
- Duration: This should include ideal and likely timelines. It may be useful to start at the end goal and work backward to develop your timeline.
- Quality: Decide how deliverables will match the required criteria. Remember – quality is part of the triple constraints that impact on a project.
- Communication: Develop a detailed communication plan, outlining when and how key communications will occur. This should also include stakeholder engagement.
- Risk: Revisit the original risk assessment from Phase 1 and refine. Where needed, develop contingencies.
- Resources: Gather and allocate required resources.
- Metrics: Determine key reporting metrics and measurements, and tools.
Once these plans are prepared, review and update the original project charter as required. It’s a good idea to ask your project sponsor and team to check the plan to ensure the plan is realistic and nothing is overlooked. At this point, you may need to make some compromises to deal with the conflicting constraints of time, quality, and cost.
Finally, you will need to assign tasks to relevant team members and notify individuals of their responsibilities on the project.
Project Phase 3: Executing
Having dedicated time and energy to planning your project, here comes the fun part – doing the work.
Start with a kick-off meeting to ensure everyone is clear on the project objectives, individual roles, and any critical milestones or task dependencies. During this phase, manage the team and avoid becoming too involved with daily tasks. Lead your team to success.
Reporting and communication are paramount to the execution of your plan. Develop reports and dashboards in accordance with the metrics established in phase 2 and team roles.
Where possible, use automated reporting for increased efficiency. Effective meetings are another great way to track tasks and support the team.
The execution phase determines if your project is a success or failure. Some risks to monitor include:
- Over/under allocation of key resources
- Poor time management
- Inadequate team training
- Poor stakeholder engagement
- Missed milestones
- Constant changes to requirements, leading to scope creep
- Failed project leadership
- Lack of a standardized approach.
Managing Phase 2 and Phase 3 in SharePoint
SharePoint is a feature-rich platform for project management and is easily configured to support these two critical project phases, especially when extended with software such as BrightWork. Let’s take a look at two SharePoint functions – document management and project reports – in more detail.
Using a collaborative project site, centralize all project documentation in SharePoint. This will helps team members to find everything they need quickly whilst ensuring a standard approach to the project. Using version control, you can track and roll back updates to a document as needed. No more outdated Excel files!
With reports for team members, project managers, and stakeholders, it’s easy to track project progress and deal with risks quickly. Automated report and personalized views help to engage the right people at the right team with relevant information, and provide a gentle reminder about upcoming tasks!
Use the ‘My Work’ report to keep team members on track.
Project reports focus on important details like metrics, issues, open work and resources.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.