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Project Phases
By Michele Berrie, Queensland University of Technology

The Project Management Body of Knowledge divides the project into five standard phases. Each phase has associated processes (activities), and sometimes the phases overlap.

Initiating Processes – Preparing a notification followed by a project proposal, then, gaining approval and reserved funding for the project. The end to end life of the project must be taken into account at the proposal stage, for example, recognising that the information for an Activity Completion Report at the end of the project should be considered at the proposal stage and throughout subsequent stages of the project.

Planning Processes – Defining and refining objectives, preparing the Project Plans and associated sub-plans for running the project, then gaining final allocation of funding.

Executing Processes – Implementing the Project Plans; coordinating people and other resources to carry out the Project Plans. Typically, this is the longest phase of a project.

Controlling Processes – Ensuring that project objectives are met by monitoring and measuring progress regularly to identify variances from the plans; taking corrective action when necessary; tracking the variances and changes. Controlling has much overlap with other phases.

Closing Processes – Bringing the project to an orderly end: formalising and communicating the acceptance or conclusion of a project, handing over to the ongoing accountable area, completing an Activity Completion Report and, for major projects, holding a post implementation review.

The project manager is not necessarily the one to facilitate each activity, for example, an area manager may prepare a project proposal with the project manager being appointed afterwards. Someone external to the project should conduct the Post Implementation Review, if required.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is a highly successful Australian university with an applied emphasis in courses and research. Based in the city of Brisbane with a global outlook, it has 40,000 students, including 6000 from overseas, (QUT Statistics) and an annual budget of more than AU$500 million. Courses are in high demand and its graduate employment rate is well above the national average for Australian universities.

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