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Spring Cleaning and the “Rites of Passage” Into the Five Project Phases

Spring Cleaning and the “Rites of Passage” Into the Five Project Phases
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

By Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP®, PMI-ACP, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning

As a Project Manager, you are most likely familiar with the five project phases (also known as the project life-cycle or “process groups”) outlined in the PMBOK® Guide: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing. However, do you know the 47 PM “processes” that these five phases encompass? How do you know you’ve moved from one project phases to the next? In this post, we want to sharpen up your knowledge on the distinction between the project phases through the metaphor of “rites of passage.” Just like the seasons, project phases follow a life cycle marked by certain activities (like spring cleaning) that indicate you’ve entered the next phase. By knowing the “rites of passage” into each new project phases, you’ll be better equipped to keep track of which processes belong in each project phase, and, ultimately, better manage your projects. Read the Complete Article

The Project Lifecycle for a Workspace Design Project

The Project Lifecycle for a Workspace Design Project
By Amspec

The design of a workspace is an intrinsic part of company success. Not only is the style and design of the workspace reflective of a firm’s brand and personality, but the right workspace can nurture workforce productivity. If your working environment isn’t designed at its optimum, embarking on a workspace design project could prove an invaluable investment. Commercial property design-led construction specialists Amspec, map out a typical project lifestyle for a workspace design project.

  1. Identify your workspace goals

    First and foremost, as with any design project, you will need to plan ahead.

    Ask yourself why do you need to alter your current workspace? Does new technology need installing? Does the infrastructure need updating? Has your workforce grown and you need more space? Perhaps you have re-branded and require a new office look and design?

    Determining the goals of the project will help ensure the ultimate design objectives are achieved.

Read the Complete Article

Successful Project Management at the Executive Level

Successful Project Management at the Executive Level
By Sabah al-Binali

The dream: A management team meets to deal with an opportunity or challenge. After some discussion a decision is made. Goals are decided. A project leader is appointed. A short number of weeks later the project leader calls a management meeting to present his deliverables. Management agrees that the deliverables have been met. The project is closed.

The reality (you know where this is going, don’t you?): A management team meets to deal with an opportunity or challenge. After some discussion a decision is made. Goals are decided. A project leader is appointed. Time passes. Nothing happens. The opportunity starts fading, or the challenge gets worse. More management meetings are called. The team leader gives his excuses. Management update the goals. This cycle is iterated until the opportunity disappears or the challenge becomes a crisis.

This happens repeatedly in nearly every company that I have seen. Read the Complete Article

The Psychological Value of Execution

The Psychological Value of Execution
By Steve Prentice

Many people who formally learn Project Management for the first time, whether they are completely new to the field, or have been informally taught through a series of crisis-laden past experiences, are somewhat taken aback by the five phase PMI approach (Initiation, Planning, Execution, Control and Closure), feeling that it has four items too many. A project, after all, should be about doing something, not thinking about it, right?

But as every project manager who has survived a project knows, these five phases are each there for a reason. Each has a role to play and each is as important as the other, regardless of duration, and regardless of the technologies employed.

Ultimately Project Management is about getting people to do things on time, on budget and correctly, which means that as a complement to a full understanding of its scope and effective planning of the actions involved, a project must also employ a great deal of psychology and leadership to best inspire the team to work to the standard required. Read the Complete Article

The Importance of Launching a Project

The Importance of Launching a Project
By Mandy McGill, Northwest University

So you have been asked to manage a project and you have worked diligently to come up with all of the necessary tools to begin. You have a very supportive sponsor who believes in you. You have created a project charter and determined the work schedule. The majority of your team has been established and each team member has been assigned responsibilities. Incentives, both financial and personal have been determined. You are ready to begin right? Not quite. It is time to launch your project with a kickoff event. Holding a kick-off event helps establish a start time of the project, as well as creating a sense of camaraderie. Here are the steps you need to take to prepare for this very important event

  1. Be sure all administrative work is in order – vendor negotiations, acquisition contracts, purchase orders etc.
Read the Complete Article

The Five Universal Project Checkpoints

The Five Universal Project Checkpoints
By Preben Ormen

I have been working in or alongside projects for over 35 years now and have certain notions about what projects are alike and how they differ.

One way all projects are more alike than different is in what I think of as the five universal project checkpoints.

I think of each checkpoint as a process whereby stuff gets done and then we are done so we can get on to the next piece of work.

After each checkpoint we should know we have our back clear so we can focus on the future and not worry about the past (well, OK, hopefully only as little as possible – we can never escape it entirely as we will be held accountable).

So without further ado, my Five Universal Project Checkpoints are as follows:

  1. Kick-off
  2. Requirements
  3. Design
  4. Build
  5. Commissioning

Kick-off

This checkpoint occurs when we conduct the kick-off (or start-up or initiation) meeting with the sponsor and the project team. Read the Complete Article

How Do We Agree on “Finished” in Projects? – Project Management Life Cycle

How Do We Agree on “Finished” in Projects? – Project Management Life Cycle
By James Clements

When I worked as a Proposal Manager during my days in the defense industry, I remember when we’d do what was called a Gold Review, which was the final pricing review with the CEO prior to the submission of a bid. I would be pitching the bid and the Group Commercial Manager would always have the same question of me, and whilst I always knew it was coming and was prepared for it, I hated it because there were so many opportunities for me to get it wrong, as well as project’s to get it wrong in the project management life cycle.

He’d ask “What is the Acceptance Criteria?”, complete silence would fall over the room, here was a guy who’d bore the brunt of many projects that had been unnecessarily difficult to complete and if he didn’t give the CEO the nod, the bid would still be submitted, but would go in with a big fat contingency attached, we might as well not bid. Read the Complete Article

Managing Projects Is Like Having a Baby

Managing Projects Is Like Having a Baby
By Kiron D. Bondale

Many project managers have doubtless exclaimed “giving birth would be simpler than managing this project”! This may be truer than they ever imagined…

  • Initiation can provide the same euphoria as finding out you are going to be a new parent – getting assigned to a new project is an exciting but also unnerving time. There are hundreds of questions, but also plenty of stakeholder input! There are myriads of sources of information, but it can be challenging to separate the useful lessons learned from “old wives tales”!
  • Planning can prove to be as unpleasant as the first trimester – with frustrating stakeholders, challenging constraints, uncertain scope and storming teams, project managers might be excused for acting as though they suffer from prolonged morning sickness! With appropriate attention & resourcing combined with a healthy dose of risk management, the project manager should strive to lay a solid foundation for the rest of their project/pregnancy.

Read the Complete Article

An Introduction to PMI’s Project Management Life Cycle

An Introduction to PMI’s Project Management Life Cycle
By Brian EganGlobal Knowledge

The term “life cycle” implies two things: that a process is perpetual and that the sequence of events is obligatory or uni-directional. There is no beginning or end to a life cycle and the sequence of events cannot change. A seed cannot go directly to being a mature plant nor revert back to the blossom stage.

The Project Management Life Cycle

The term “life cycle” is misleading, because it is neither a perpetual circle of events nor is the sequence of events rigidly fixed. There are five stages to the project management life cycle that usually occur in sequence. During large complex projects it is often necessary to return to planning several times. In this case, the project management life cycle can become very complex with multiple repeats of planning and even initiating processes.

Project Life Cycle vs.

Read the Complete Article

The Implementation Phase in Project Management

The Implementation Phase in Project Management
By Jessica Popp

In its simplest form, Implementation is generally considered by team members as when the project starts. In a phase-controlled project, project team members are only minimally involved prior to the implementation phase. At this point, the scope should be approved and the project is starting in earnest. Implementation is very often the longest phase in the project lifecycle.

From a software perspective the traditionally agreed upon sub-phases include requirements, design, develop/build, and test. These can be extrapolated in many different ways and approached using different methodologies such as Agile, XP or countless others. But, at the core of the project you are managing these four things:

  • Understanding in a documented way what the end customer needs/wants (Requirements)
  • Extrapolating the understanding of the requirements into a technical specification to prove that the wants and needs of the customer can be addressed (Design)
  • Making the requirements a reality (Development/Build)
  • Test the results for accuracy/completion (Quality Assurance or Testing)

I’ve stated the above bullets in a generic way to demonstrate that these sub-phases or something similar are applicable across many disciplines. Read the Complete Article

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