There are different schools of thought about the number of phases during a project. Some claim there are 3 phases, others say it’s 5. At the base of it, the PMBOK points-out that the number of phases is determined by the project team and type of project. Project management is solely based on the idea that a project goes through a number a phases characterized by a distinct set of activities or tasks that take the project from conception to conclusion. Projects are big and small, with constraints like cost, time and resources. As projects become more complex, it’s important to structure and define projects throughout the entire life-cycle. That way, you won’t get lost in the hustle and bustle. One way to organize a project is to sort it into 5 phases and here they are.
The 5 Phases of a Project
Project Initiation Phase – a project is formally started, named and defined at a broad level during this phase. Project sponsors and other important stakeholders due diligently decide whether or not to commit to a project. Depending on the nature of the project, feasibility studies are conducted. Or, as it may require, in an IT project – requirement gathering and analysis are performed in this phase. In the construction industry a project charter is completed in this phase.
Project Planning Phase – a project management plan is developed comprehensively of individual plans for – cost, scope, duration, quality, communication, risk and resources. Some of the important activities that mark this phase are -making WBS, development of schedule, milestone charts, GANTT charts, estimating and reserving resources, planning dates and modes of communication with stakeholders based on milestones, deadlines and important deliveries. A plan for managing identified and unidentified risks is determined as this may affect aspects of a project later on. Risk management planning includes: risk identification and analysis, risk mitigation approaches, and risk response planning.
Project Execution Phase – a project deliverable is developed and completed, adhering to a mapped-out plan. A lot of tasks during this phase capture project metrics through tasks like status meetings and project status updates, other status reports, human resource needs and performance reports. An important phase as it will help you understand whether your project will be a success or failure.
Project Monitoring and Control Phase – occurring at the same time as the execution phase, this one mostly deals with measuring the project performance and progression in accordance to the project plan. Scope verification and control occur to check and monitor for scope creep, change control to track and manage changes to project requirement. Calculating key performance indicators for cost and time are done to measure the degree of variation, if any, and in which case corrective measures are determined and suggested to keep a project on track. To prevent project failure, consider why projects are likely to fail and the ways to prevent failure.
Project Closure Phase – A project is formally closed. It includes a series of important tasks such as delivering the product, relieving resources, reward and recognition to the team members and formal termination of contractors in case they were employed on the project.