Project Management Process
Last updated: 2022-03-18
With the project life cycle of a traditional project in mind, we describe project management as a process of four major phases or steps. The four project management phases or
major project management steps are:
Phase 1 (or step 1): Project Definition Phase
Phase 2 (or step 2): Project Planning Phase
Phase 3 (or step 3): Project Implementation Phase
Phase 4 (or step 4): Project Closure Phase
Here is the graphical overview:
Project Management Process
The next, more detailed picture, shows this project management core process and its supporting processes
also emphasize that within the supplier's organization, there are
usually two different teams working on the project: a sales &
proposal team during definition and planning phase, and an
implementation team during implementation and closure phase. Mutual
support between these two teams is best practice for successful
Project Management Process and Supporting Processes
The interpretation of project management as a process is somewhat simplified. We do this mainly in order to present a practical approach that works for most projects. More strictly speaking, project management can be seen as a collection of process groups, which are - just as above - definition, planning, implementation and closure. Each of these four process groups would then consist of several sub-processes, through which we run iteratively and / or recursivly. Some of these aspects, we discuss in more detail in sub-section project management models.
A good project plan is essential
In section Fundamentals of Project Management,
we point out that in a real life environment, we cannot plan for
everything that could happen. That might tempt us to keep planning
low-key, and rather start taking action because things unfold
differently from what we can plan anyway. On the other hand, poor
planning documents are one important reason for bad project results in
terms of additional, unplanned work, time delays, and cost overruns.
Thus, the secret of excellent project management seems to be the right
balance between creating detailed planning documents in planning phase
while keeping enough flexibility for changes during implementation and
closure phase. That sounds like a dilemma. How we are going to resolve
this you will find in the sections Definition Phase and Planning Phase on a detailed level. Here, we focus on the general project management principles.
we want to achieve the best possible project results. This we can only
do by managing implementation and closure phase in the best possible
way: We, as project managers, together with our core team members must be
in control of implementing and closing the project. This is only
possible if we prepare everything we need for optimum implementation and
closure in definition and planning phase.
"Tell me how you define and plan your project, and I tell you how it will end."
following picture illustrates the project management controlling cycle
which will guide us through the whole project management process, from
the first steps into defining the project, all the way to the last steps
of closing the project.
Basic Project Controlling Cycle
If we want to be in control of our project we need to be able to compare
the results of action with the required results. So, we need a plan
that contains sufficient information about required results and
necessary actions. In order to create such a plan, we need a good
understanding of the requirements and the specifications of our project.
These requirements and specifications should be as clear and stable as
possible. Since these requirements and specifications can only be as
clear and stable as the project goal(s) are, we now can define our main tasks
for definition and planning phase.
Tasks in Definition and Planning Phase
Having a plan with a sufficient level of details, while still containing
the necessary flexibility, sets the stage for implementation and closure
Tasks in Implementation and Closure Phase
Our project management master plan
This reflects pretty much our view of the general project
management methodology and will serve as our project management master
plan. We assume project management being a process, or better a set of
with the following supporting processes:
- Proposal management process
- Quality management process
- Crisis management process
- Problem-solving processes
We develop all the project management methods and project management
tools to answer the basic question: What do we have to do in order to
prepare and enable optimum management of implementation and closure
Section Definition Phase
lines out how to prepare the planning phase. We focus on how to set
goals, how to start the stakeholder management process and how to setup
contract relationships or contract structures.
In section Planning Phase,
we will describe how we create a detailed project plan with enough
flexibility for changes in later phases. Emphasis lies on the core
project management process, risk management process, and contract
management process. Additionally, we indicate how we, as project
managers, can involve into the proposal management process and benefit
from it, and how to include the quality management process.
Section Implementation Phase
goes into details of how to follow the plan and deal with necessary
changes. Here, we go into details of the application of controlling
tools and change and claim management. Since we sometimes face crisis
especially in implementation phase, we also present the basics of the
crisis management process and problem solving processes.
In section Closure Phase, we describe how to conclude all the project management related processes, and how to collect and evaluate the lessons learned.
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To save you time in your daily work as a project manager, I packaged more than 35 project management templates, tools, and checklists into one zip file.
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