Project management is a broad field that spans many different industries and geographies. No matter what the project is, there are five project management steps that every successful project management professional should take to achieve successful project outcomes. These project management steps are: conception, planning, execution, control, and closure. Read on to learn what each step consists of!
Every project begins as just a concept. The first project management step towards a successful project is to examine the concept of a project and determine its feasibility. During the conception phase, you should do research to determine how and if you would be able to successfully complete a project. This includes examining the resources you have and talking with relevant teams and stakeholders.
As you carry out the project management step of conception, you also need to think about the value of a proposed project. Maybe you have determined that you have the resources to successfully complete the project, but will it be of value to your organization? Projects need to be both possible and valuable in order to pass through the conception phase and onto the next project management steps.
One of the most important project management steps for success is planning. Without effective planning, your projects are highly unlikely to succeed. During the planning step, you will need to create a project plan that includes the scope, budget, resources, and schedule. Of course, projects very rarely go exactly according to plan, so you should also identify potential risks and delays during the planning phase so you are prepared for them down the road.
You can use the SMART method during the planning step of project management in order to plan your project's goals and objectives. SMART stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Use this acronym to help you set project goals and objectives that follow this criteria. Setting project goals that are SMART will greatly increase your odds of project success.
Execution is the step where your project kicks off and the real work begins. During this phase of the project management steps, you will hold a kick-off meeting to go over the final project deliverables and schedule, so make sure that you have these defined. In the kick-off meeting, you will meet with the whole project team to assign responsibilities, distribute resources, and go over all relevant information regarding the project.
Make sure to define tracking and communication standards during the execution step so that you can monitor the progress of your teams during the next step. Make sure that individuals know how to communicate problems that arise and provide updates on their task progress. This will help you evaluate the project's progress as it is in development and write project management reports.
The project management step of control happens over the whole period of time from a project’s launch to its delivery. During this stage of the project management steps, you will monitor the project’s progress and compare it against the project plan that you came up with originally. As you monitor the project during the control step, you should be in constant communication with everyone involved in order to make sure the project is going according to plan.
You should also measure the project’s progress using KPIs during he control phase. The KPIs that you use can vary from project to project, but usually you will use schedule and budget as two of the main KPIs during a project’s control phase. If a project is on schedule and within the budget outlined in the project plan, then it is a good indicator that the project is on track for success. If any problems arise during the control step, then you need to be ready to adapt and reassign resources or responsibilities to get the project back on track.
Closure is the final step of the five project management steps for successful projects. Closure happens after a project is completed and approved for delivery. During the closure project management step, you will evaluate the project’s overall success. You will compare the project’s actual outcome to the original project plan and goals and evaluate if everything went according to plan.
To evaluate the project during the closure step, you should look at the completed project’s quality, accuracy, and the speed at which it was completed. This way, you can see if a project was completed more efficiently than expected, as expected, or less efficiently than expected. As you evaluate these aspects of the project, you can analyze any problems that arose and how they were confronted in order to apply any learnings to the next project.