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5 Stages All Successful Projects Swear By!

Most formal projects, irrespective of size, move through the various stages of project completion in much the same way. The project is kick-started with an agreement that describes the project’s goal, outcomes and importance, followed by appointment of the project manager. After the project is initiated, it moves into the planning stage. In this phase the work, project scope, assessments, estimates related to cost, time, resources and risks are identified.

From the planning phase we progress into the active or execution phase where the work happens to make the project outcome achievable. It’s during this phase that emphasis is placed on critical activities related to controlling, monitoring and reporting on various aspects of the project. Finally arriving upon project completion when the entire project is submitted to the client. It is also a time when the team assesses outcomes, evaluates methods and takes away lessons for further improvement.

This is merely the general pattern followed by all projects. A detailed explanation of the five stages of successful project completion follows:

#1 Initiation

This stage is focused on project team chartering and formation, followed by kick-off. A sound initiation ensures project success and also lays down the groundwork for all of the upcoming stages. In the initiation stage, team members are assigned and briefed about the project’s goals.

They are given an opportunity to directly pose questions to either the client or project lead in order to plan more efficiently. This is also the time when enthusiasm for the project builds. It also includes tasks such as stakeholder analysis, a formal start-off meeting, chartering communication and document development procedures, etc.

#2 Planning

In this stage, the project scope is finalized. It provides a detailed breakdown of the work, assesses risk, finalizes the work schedule, identifies required resources and begins preparations for work to commence. This stage will depend on the depth of the project, the size of the team and the quantity of information at hand to organize your project. The end result of this stage is a clear schedule or project plan that informs everyone about their assigned tasks.

A project planning tool is vital to a project plan’s success. It can assist project managers in tasks such as identifying the project path, developing a comprehensive schedule introducing resources into the project plan based on resource constraints and project dependencies, developing a thorough work breakdown, assessing risks and developing a mitigation plan and creating a plan for communication.

#3 Execution

With a solid plan in hand, the actual work begins in the execution stage. The team begins performing their assigned duties. Most managers begin this phase with an in-person meeting to ensure everyone has what is required to begin fulfilling their roles. Communications and schedule must be articulated clearly to ensure the team starts off on the right path.

#4 Monitor & Control

This phase entails management, control of the budget and resources and reporting. The focus of this phase is to ensure the project is moving according to plan! There are many ways to monitor and control a project’s outcome. Common methods include casual check-ins with the team, formal weekly status updates, daily reports, etc.

These methods are necessary to create a functional feedback loop which can help identify adjustments and re-planning of the project steps as required.

Other important activities of this phase include:

-Monitoring of work activities and teams
– Adherence to the per-established communication plan
– Monitoring costs
– Identifying chances to make schedule improvements
– Monitoring and mitigating potential risks and altering the risk strategy as required.

#5 Project Close

Once the tasks of the project are completed and approved by the project manager, client and stakeholders, you can proceed towards project closure. This phase is just as important as the previous four. Document all required information as required, organize it so that you may refer to it in the future.

If possible, hold a post-mortem of the project so that team members can provide their input about what worked, what didn’t and how things can be improved for future projects. Adjourn the project by providing performance evaluations and feedback.

All formal project follow the five stage path listed above. With the addition of a project management tool you can increase the efficiency of the outcome.