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5 Stages of Project Management

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No matter the industry or company, project managers play a vital role. Project managers are responsible for leading a team through any given project. They organize team members, create timelines and delegate tasks to ensure a project’s success. To make this role’s day-to-day more manageable, project managers often break down their efforts into five different steps. 

 

Initiating

Given the name, this is the first phase or stage of project management. It is in this stage that the project manager evaluates the project based on its value and feasibility. If the project is profitable, the project manager will then typically make a project charter or outline stating the project’s goals and objectives for the team to refer back on. 

 

Planning

The second stage of project management is centered around planning, which is an essential part of the process. During this stage, project managers typically set goals that will ultimately help develop an outline or roadmap for the project at hand. These goals are considered to be S.M.A.R.T. goals, meaning that they are vetted to ensure that they are achievable. S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Creating goals with these qualities will make it easier for you to track your progress.

Based on these goals, the scope of the project can be easily defined and conveyed in a project management plan. This plan is dictated and enforced by the project manager through the lifecycle of the project. 

 

Executing

It is during this phase of the project where the goals set prior are completed. This is one of the longest stages of the process since there is a lot going on. A discovery or kickoff meeting typically marks the start of the execution stage. The purpose of the discovery meeting is to go over the project as a whole and assign responsibilities to the team involved with the project. Other tasks/ meetings that are completed in this phase include, updated timelines, status meetings, project assignments executed, and project schedule updates.  

 

Monitoring and Controlling

In this phase project managers are focusing on monitoring the project’s progression and performance. This is to ensure that everything is being completed in a timely manner and to the client’s standards. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are extremely useful to project managers during this phase. Typically they will pick three or five KPIs to look into to make sure the project is heading in the right direction. 

 

Closing  

Closing is the final stage of the project management process. At this point the project has been completed. Project managers are responsible for tying up any loose ends, whether that involves payment processing or internal evaluations. Depending on the project and client a final project report may be required.