Project management is a very complex knowledge area that has to be mastered, especially for project-based companies.
Every phase of a project is important, despite the fact that you might have seen how project managers may skip a stage or two. Simply ‘experience’ does not cut it. PMBOK by PMI clearly defines at least 5 process groups that every project typically has and 10 knowledge areas that spread throughout the 5 stages. Every project also has 4 different key people that are directly affected by the project: the sponsors or investors, project manager, team members and stakeholders. The sponsors or investors are people who fund the project in any form. It could be in the form of monetary support, basic materials provision, human assets, equipment, tools or anything at all that provides the project with what it needs. These people are also stakeholders, people who have an interest in the project and would like to know what is in it for them.
Then, there is the project manager, the person who holds the heavy responsibility of ensuring the authorization, completion, and success of the project. Team members are people who take part in the project and are given tasks according to their expertise and parts. It is the project manager’s job to divide the tasks for them. The five process groups are initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & controlling and closing. The first stage involves the creation of the proposal or project charter, which tells the purpose and scope of the project. It doesn’t necessarily contain all the details, yet. But it has to have the main purpose of the project, main risks and how they are addressed, as well as budget estimation of the project.
Authorization is given at this stage. Then, the most important part of the project, which is the planning part. You have the people who can do the job, the materials to use and enough time to work on it. Despite all this confidence, it’s important to draft out a detailed plan on who is responsible for what, for how long, and how much is allowed to spend. Every time a stage is done, new risks are being reassessed and team members are briefed to prep for the new tasks at hand.When enough time is spent on planning, major risks can be assessed and prevented in time.Next is the execution part, which is basically the part where everybody starts working on the job.
This and monitoring & controlling stage can go hand-in-hand.
During the execution, the project manager’s job is well-defined through how the manager maintains the member’s work performance. The manager must also ensure no tasks irrelevant to the project is being worked on without his permission and delivers the newest updates to the stakeholders. The job of the manager is also to always reassess the plan and risks when changes are made. The rest of the time, the manager maintains communications within the team, ensuring everyone is forming good teamwork with each other. The manager also monitors everyone to ensure that they have no problem in finishing their tasks. During performance assessment, the manager must pay attention to how every member can improve, who needs special attention, and who should be praised for what they have done. Don’t forget to give them small breaks in between! Giving enough gap between tasks will let each member refresh on and give their best on the new tasks. Lastly, the closing part. This is probably the most memorable stage for many stakeholders as people psychologically remembers mostly the beginning or the end of something. Make sure that you end the project under good notes with your team members and stakeholders. Inspect the final product one last time before you send them to your stakeholders and remain professional through the end. Provide completion certificates of the project for people who deserve it and end the contract between you and your subcontractor for this project. Make sure that the project’s results are satisfying to your stakeholders and can declare a success based on the main success factors. Every process stage also comes with relevant documents that must be provided, especially for middle to complex projects. The ten knowledge areas can be found in every stage of a project. They are project integration management, project scope management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project human resource management, project communications management, project risk management, project procurement management, and project stakeholder management.
Integration management refers to keeping different departments and people as well as tasks as one. Scope management is about making sure everyone is staying on the same page throughout the project. Time management ensures that everyone manages to complete their task in time and to check if they are ahead of or behind schedule. Cost management is important if you want to make sure that the project remains within budget. It may need readjustments when changes are made. Quality management is important and can be done by going through internationally standardized tests. Between time, quality and cost, there is a minimum of sticking with the promised quality from the beginning. The only two factors that can be carried out are time and cost. The project may take longer than expected or requires more fund to stick to the quality that was initially promised. Human resource management talks about getting the right people to do their right job, but it’s more than just that. The manager must also ensure that the members are okay with the tasks they are delegated with. Communications management refers to keeping communication channels open at all times, especially with stakeholders and in general with every related party. Risk management refers to assessing the viable risks that the project may meet. It’s one of the least famous parts of project management, but can easily be the biggest problem when contingencies are not properly prioritized and managed.