technology resources, project management

Demystifying the 5 Phases of Project Management

Project management is so much more than staying on top of deadlines and team members. It’s a complex process that goes a lot deeper than surface planning and it's applicable to every industry in order to achieve business goals. Each of the phases of project management serve a purpose, whether you're launching a new fundraising website, planning an office move, or a marketing team is preparing for a new campaign.

There are 5 phases of project management that have been outlined by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Though these sound complex when put together, they’re simple when you break them down. In this article, we’re going to demystify the 5 phases of project management so you can utilize them for your own team.

1. Project Initiation

The start of the project is known as project initiation. This is the first phase, and it’s all about defining the project on broad terms. Initiation begins with research to determine if the project is necessary and even doable in the first place.

Leaders and stakeholders are key players during this stage. They help the team decide if this project is worth pursuing. If all systems point to go, the next step is a project charter or a project initiation document. This is a formal document that outlines the entire project, the purpose, and the requirements. The focus here is the broad project, not minor technical details. That’s what we’re covering in Phase 2.


2. Project Planning

Now that we have a clear idea, it’s time to create a plan that will help us meet our goals. This is the roadmap the entire team will follow. You’ll also want to set your own goals for the project in this phase. If you’re not sure how to best set goals, utilize the S.M.A.R.T. Method:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

S.M.A.R.T. Goals are attainable and easy to measure. They should be clearly defined. Identify how you’ll review the performance of your project as a whole. This will depend, once again, on your unique goals.

3. Project Execution

This is when the action happens. While the two phases leading up to this were all about planning, this is when deliverables are completed. There are a lot of tasks that will be completed during the Project Execution Phase.

Potential Tasks:

  • Resource assignment
  • Tracking systems enforced
  • Status meetings
  • Updated project schedule
  • Completed tasks

Monitoring tasks as they’re completed is a big part of this phase. Every step that takes you closer to your goals is a step in the right direction, just make sure the entire team is aware of incremental progress. This phase often feels the busiest, and that’s because the entire team is at work making big strides.

4. Project Monitoring

Now that tasks are being completed, you need a way to track your progress clearly. This phase will help you manage project progression to ensure you’re meeting major deadlines and milestones. How do you know your project is on track? It comes down to your performance indicators known as KPI.

These KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, can be anything from project objectives to deliverables. Another important thing to measure is your cost. It’s easy for your budget to increase as your tasks are completed and more demands are added. You’ll likely need additional software, tools, and time. You can find more details on a useful project logging software here.


5. Project Closure

Finally, the last phase is the completion of the project. This is when analysis takes place to measure just how successful the campaign or project was. From here, you’ll need to recognize your key players from your team who helped you reach your goals. This might mean holding a team meeting after the project completion to evaluate what worked and what failed.

Understanding how a project worked is a crucial way to improve in the future. If things weren’t completed during the project, team members will need to divide these tasks amongst themselves to continue getting them completed. The last step is a project report. This is where you collect the project documents, deliverables, and stats for safekeeping.


Final Thoughts

The 5 Phases outlined above are one of the most successful methods for project management. Though they might seem drawn out, these clear steps ensure you're not forgetting anything important along the way. It’s easy to get swept up in the chaos of a new topic and to forget about the minor things. This is inefficient, and it will lead to more mistakes.

Utilize these 5 Phases for yourself to start reaching your goals faster. You’ll quickly realize the value in every stage for yourself. Your project will thank you for being so clear, organized, and consistent.


Could you use assistance planning your next technology project? Contact us to see how we can help.


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