Project management is a process which best guides a project to its completion using the people, budget, and resources to their maximum benefit. Managing projects dates back at least 4,500 years, yet the role of project manager is only recently becoming recognized as a discipline in its own right. Project management is so different of any another type of management because many projects are attempted without any past history. The project may have a clear cut beginning and ending, but everything in the middle is not clearly defined at the start of the project. With multi-tasking being part of our everyday lives, we often have other duties that monopolize our time so we are not able to focus solely on one project. Knowing how to make a project run in the smoothest manner possible will decrease the amount of time the project takes, as well as decreasing the stress and pressure of completion. There are six main phases of project management that we will overview below.
Phase 1: Determine Project Specifics
During the first phase of your project, you want to examine the benefits of gathering all your information up front. Completing this will allow you to clarify the expertise and skills needed. Analyzing the skills of your project team will help you determine who will be best used in which area. With your team, brainstorm ways to complete the project on budget and on schedule. You may even be able to detect problems and concerns in their early stages.
Phase 2: Chart Out a Successive Project Plan
Your first team meeting will probably be spent on developing detailed tasks for each member, creating a budget, breaking the project down into the major and minor milestones, and setting your timeline. Doing all of this is going to take lots of cooperation from everyone involved. This is the phase that will either unite everyone as a team or single out a few individuals who want to be in “control”. In order to have a powerful team, unity must be reached. The old saying “There is no I in team” still holds true today. Everyone must have an active role in order for you to be successful. Creating a code of conduct will help to achieve this. A code of conduct is a tool created by the project team to give direction on how people will be treated and expectations on performance while working on the project. Developing this up front will eliminate any confusion as to what is expected.
Phase 3: Implement and Execute the Plan
Communication is the key to every successful project. Knowing how and what to communicate to whom is vital in keeping the project on the right track. Always remember that there inevitably will be changes in your project. Make sure it is stated very clearly up front who has the authority to handle any changes that need to be made. Once a change has taken place, communicate it to everyone involved–including upper management and the customer.
Dr. Keith Mathis, founder and CEO of The Mathis Group, specializes in Project Management, Management Leadership, and Marketing training for private businesses and government agencies of all kinds. He offers 33 Project Management courses, is a Project Management Professional, is certified by the Project Management Institute and will customize every training session to your individual company’s needs. The Mathis Group also sponsors www.pmexpertlive.com, which is a powerful project management resource with free reports, podcasts, videos, and a monthly newsletter. He also offers customized management training and coaching on any subject with prolific communication and professionalism.