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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

Project Closeout

Project Closeout
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

Every project needs to end and that’s what project closeout is all about in the last phase of the project lifecycle. The whole point of the project is that you need to deliver what you promised. By making sure you delivered everything you said you would, you make sure that all stakeholders are satisfied and all acceptance criteria has been met. Once that happens, your project can finish (Figure 1).

I finished the project on time and on budget!

Figure 1: The potential unwanted consequences of finishing a project on time and within budget!

Project closeout is often the most often neglected phase of all the project lifecycle. Once the project is over, it’s easy to pack things up, throw some files in a drawer, and start moving right into the initiation phase of the next project. Hold on! You’re not done yet!

The key activity in project closeout is gathering project records and disseminating information to formalize acceptance of the product, service or project as well as to perform project closure. Read the Complete Article

The Project Execution Phase

The Project Execution Phase
By Mark L. Reed

We began our Project Management Lifecycle with Phase One – Concept and Feasibility where we secured agreement with our Project Customer on the definition of the project’s objectives and a high level time and cost against those objectives.

Then we finished our detailed planning of the project with Phase Two – Organization/Schedule where we created our Work Breakdown Structure and Critical Path Analysis to get all stakeholder buy-in to the executable tasks.

Our Project Customer has agreed with us to move forward with a +/- 10% time and cost estimate against the refined and detailed objectives. We now have a project schedule for the team to follow and report on.

Whew! That was a lot of project management work to get our project ready for Phase Three – Execution, but without the pre-work, our execution phase is not properly planned. But we did do it and we are ready to roll. Read the Complete Article

The Project Life Cycle

The Project Life Cycle
By Merrie Barron and Andrew R. Barron

The project manager and project team have one shared goal: to carry out the work of the project for the purpose of meeting the project’s objectives. Every project has beginnings, a middle period during which activities move the project toward completion, and an ending (either successful or unsuccessful). A standard project typically has the following four major phases (each with its own agenda of tasks and issues): initiation, planning, execution, and closure. Taken together, these phases represent the path a project takes from the beginning to its end and are generally referred to as the project life cycle (Figure 1).

The four phases of the project life cycle

Figure 1: The four phases of the project life cycle. Adapted from J. Westland, The Project Management Lifecycle, Kogan Page Limited (2006).

Initiation Phase

During the first of these phases, the initiation phase, the project objective or need is identified; this can be a business problem or opportunity. Read the Complete Article

Transition: The Forgotten Project Management Phase

Transition: The Forgotten Project Management Phase
By Susan Peterson

Most project managers are familiar with the five phases of a project life cycle. However, buried somewhere between the execution and the close-out is a critical period when a project transitions to production or is integrated into an organization’s functional activities. The challenge for a project manager is to identify the transition needs early in the project life cycle so that effective planning can take place in an orderly fashion and not in a last-minute crisis mode.

Some project management reference sources include transition planning and execution with little emphasis on specific concerns that need to be addressed. These efforts are generally specified as some of the last activities in the project schedule. Because of that chronological placement, project managers are often challenged to convince customers, clients, sponsors and/or users that transition planning cannot be deferred until the day before “go live”. Read the Complete Article

Take Control of Your Project With Phase One – Concept and Feasibility – Part 2

Take Control of Your Project With Phase One – Concept and Feasibility – Part 2
By Mark L. Reed

A while ago we began discussing the tasks associated with Phase One – Concept and Feasibility:

  • Project Customer Definition
  • Functional Team Review
  • Kick-off Meeting
  • Communication Plan
  • Objective Definition

In this article we will begin where we left off and complete the Phase One tasks with:

  • Project Definition Document
  • Project Management Plan
  • Project Team Time and Cost Estimates +/- 50%
  • Agreement to Proceed with Project Customer

Project Definition Document and/or Project Management Plan

A Project Definition Document contains all of the information we are discovering during Phase One – Concept and Feasibility. You have done all the work and the Project Definition Document is a handy place to document it and share with all stakeholders.

A Project Management Plan spells out all the steps and tasks necessary during all Four Phases of your Project Management Lifecycle. Read the Complete Article

Project Life Cycles versus Key Project Management Processes

Project Life Cycles versus Key Project Management Processes
By Michael Greer

We know that a project life cycle is made up of a collection of related phases. And each phase in the life cycle is made up of a bunch of related tasks or activities. And the exact nature of all these tasks, activities, and phases is dependent entirely upon the finished products (deliverables) you are trying to create. So, a media producer has a “Scripting” phase made up of many tasks related to drafting and refining the script. And a home builder has a “Blueprint” phase made up of creating and refining the home’s floor plans. And a software developer has a “Design” phase in which clear software specifications are created to guide the programmers. You get the idea: Deliverables determine the tasks & activities needed, which in turn determine the project life cycle.

On the other hand, there are the Five Key PM Processes that pretty much everyone agrees are universal: Initiate, Plan, Execute, Control, and Close Out. Read the Complete Article

Cybernetic Control – Project Control Techniques

Cybernetic Control – Project Control Techniques (#1 in the series How to Control a Project)
By Michael D. Taylor

Having a project management plan will not always ensure having effective project control. Without a control process the project manager will often resort to an improper use of institutional authority to embarrass, or intimidate a project member whose performance is unsatisfactory. As a result the project member will learn to prevent disclosure of any problems. This then creates another problem in that the project manager is not being made fully aware of deviations from the project plan. Taylor’s Law1 states that “the earlier a problem is disclosed, the easier it is to manage.” When project problems are hidden from the project manager they often grow to the point where they become untenable.

Meredith and Mantel offer three methods of control, these are:

Cybernetic control involves a self-correcting feedback loop as illustrated in Figure 1. Read the Complete Article

The Follow-up Phase in Project Management

The Follow-up Phase in Project Management (#30 in the Hut Project Management Handbook)
By Wouter Baars

After an adequate result has been achieved in the cyclical phase, the project enters the follow-up phase. In this phase, the project result is secured. What this means depends upon the type of project and on the agreements that have been made with the client or customer. For a research project, a final report would probably suffice; the development of a new product would require more follow-up.

Most of the problems in the follow-up phase arise because no clear agreements were made between the customer or client and the project team at the beginning of the project. The following are among the points that should be taken into consideration:

  • How long should the follow-up last?
  • What does the follow-up entail?
  • How quickly must errors be repaired?
  • Is there a guarantee on the project result?
Read the Complete Article

Managing Project Boundaries: Stages, Phases & Milestones

Managing Project Boundaries: Stages, Phases & Milestones (#25 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

A well-constructed plan with clear deliverables should make it very easy to track the progress of your project as part of an ongoing monitoring and review process. Defining key stages, phases and milestones is an essential part of this process. Why three words? Although ‘stages’ and ‘phases’ sound similar there are distinct meanings in project terminology.

  • Stages: The intervals between Project Board Meetings – the end of a stage is a point where the Board can decide to continue with, or close, the project.
  • Phases: Distinct divisions between the types of work. For instance there may be a procurement phase, a testing phase, a pilot phase, a full implementation phase.
  • Milestones: Significant success points, several of which may occur within a phase – e.g. in a pilot phase of a VLE project, enrolment; first access; first assessments; first interactive session; first use of multimedia etc.
Read the Complete Article

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