Discuss the five (5) processes of project management. As a manager, how would you plan, track, and manage projects, and what software could you use?
A project creates unique deliverable related to it and is always temporary in nature. They comprise of certain task or assignments to be fulfilled. These tasks can be either stand-alone or dependent on other. To manage the project, the concept of project management was introduced. They include five key phases as in initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and closing (Meredith & Mantel, 2012). More on these five processes of project management are as explained below:
Initiation : This is the phase where the project is granted the permission to start. In this phase the objective of the project are created, project scope defined and understood and deliverables identified. Let’s take an example of a building for a college, the initiation phase there at a high level looks at details like the size, classroom numbers, cafeteria, entrance and emergency exits, and ventilation with proper doors and windows. As part of the overall budget, project funding is discussed as well.
Planning: This phase includes the creation, review, and approval of project management plans and documents like schedule, procedure, finances and alike. These provide the framework for the project to continue. The key activity during this phase is risk analysis. It looks into the scenarios and looks into ways to mitigate the ‘what if’ situations (Dey, Tabucanon & Ogunlana, 1994). Building on the example of the college above. In this phase, it would include the development of a schedule and work break down structure (WBS). Further to that loading resource is planned, estimation of materials required done, insurance acquired along with drafting, submission, and approval of permits as necessary. The phase ensures that the methodology used guides the project manager towards completing the project successfully on time, fulfilling all the milestones and deliverables.
Execution: During this stage, the leader or project management team creates deliverables for those identified during the initiation phase. All the plans created along with work break down structure, timeline, and other plans are utilized to complete the project within the required time while fulfilling all the project scope and costing requirement. As the major development work happens during this stage, the maximum budget is consumed in this stage itself. Constant and proper coordination, communication within the team and with all the related stakeholder is key to the success of this stage.
Monitoring and Controlling: Also considered as a feedback cycle, they check against the metrics and process outlined in the planning phase to evaluate the project. It is used as a way to track the progress of the project. Tools like the Gantt chart are used to update and look out for the status of the project. They thus run in parallel with the execution phase and at times with planning and closing as well - all depending on the duration of those phases. They can be used as a way to identify early warning signs like the project deliverables being overdue by some margin from its original milestone and so on.
Closing : As the name suggests, this process includes wrapping up the project so it includes all the process required to close all the elements of the project. The project would be formally accepted by the client at this stage. Further to that, review of the project is done, and the lesson learned documented (Anbari, Carayannis & Voetsch, 2008). One of the key aspects of this stage would be the project acceptance from the client and documenting all the lesson learned in a proper way for future reference. Also, the resource consumption, shortfalls, and accomplishments along with other parameters are looked into.
I would follow the five process of project management as explained above as a project manager to plan, track, and manage projects. As part of the project management in my previous organization, we had made use of Trello, Asana, and Basecamp in different stages of the project, which worked very well for small to big projects. So, those are some of the software I would stick with. However, I would also be open for other solutions like Microsoft Project, Jira, Smartsheet, Freedcamp to name a few other. The selection of the project will more be linked with first the budget of the company, the scale of the expected project, short term and long-term vision and the requirement as a whole.
Anbari, F., Carayannis, E., & Voetsch, R. (2008). Post-project reviews as a key project management competence. Technovation , 28 (10), 633-643.
Dey, P., Tabucanon, M., & Ogunlana, S. (1994). Planning for project control through risk analysis: a petroleum pipeline-laying project. International Journal Of Project Management , 12 (1), 23-33.
Meredith, J., & Mantel, S. (2012). Project management (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Project management is a complementary discipline that helps you run your projects very easily. As a simple as that and the best part of project management is pretty much all professionals be it an accountant, financial manager, and chemist can benefit from it. Project management is applicable to every single professional.
The definition of project is temporary endeavors to create a unique solution. Project and operation are not same things. The project ends, so it is temporary. You can implement your project, you choose it and you create a unique product or service or whether outcomes you wanted that you are done but in operation, it is on - going and reparative.
To run any project you need two methodologies. The first one is a project life cycle and the second one is project management process. Project life cycle is unique to a project to an industry to your needs. It’s highly customizable. For example, A human development is a project. So our life cycle have several phases 1) Conceiving, 2) Birth, 3) Childhood, 4) Teenager, 5) Adulthood, and 6) Death. So similarly in software project has same phases Design, Coding, Testing, Installation and Turnover. Finally we can say that project lifecycles is a sequential steps of various phases of a project (APM, 2014).
A Project process is a set of interrelated actions and activities performed to achieve a pre - specified product result or service. In project management there are five main process group (O’Brien, 2006).
Monitoring and Controlling
The Initiating process group contains process that helps to kickoff that phase or project. The process in the planning group is making a plan and objectives for a project. The execution process group we implementing our ideas as per goal and objective. Here we really make and execute the project. The real work is happened in this phase. The monitoring and controlling phase is for evaluating, checking and tracking and making the process of project. Finally, the process in the closing group ends phase or wrap-up or finalized the project process.
APM. (2014). Project Management . INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT .
O’Brien, J. A. (2006). Management information systems. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Project management deals with proper planning, organizing and resource management which results in project meeting its pre-set objective and targets. It however has three fundamental forces that constraints its which are cost, time and scope. (Wallace, 2015)
There are five processes of project management which are explained briefly below:
This is the first step of project management where the objectives are set and the three fundamental forces which are cost, time and scope are defined. A complete organogram showing the main players of the project should be clearly understood stating who the project manager will be, all the staffs and all the stakeholders involved.
A document that defines and authorizes a project is called a project charter. All the above mentioned things should be included in this document. The document should also include relevant people, their roles, budgets and other necessary related information that will help guide the project towards a good start.
Planning is the next step to the management process. This step will undertake the overall designing of the project keeping the constraints in mind. The amount and type of work required, the description of work to be performed, the information system required, software’s to be used, authorization process and any other planning required getting the pre-set job done. It also defines the organogram chart, authority and reporting channels.
This step also plans for the human resource needed, communication, cost and quality of the project.
All the plans and initiation strategies need to be executed by the program manager. Assigning task to the planed human resource, maintaining strong communication with all the stakeholders, formulating contracts, grooming staffs, capacity building of staffs etc. are some of the work of the manger while undertaking the execution of the project. Executing the project according to the plan does not necessary mean that it will go according to what is expected. It is important for the manger to conduct timely review of the program to find out if the project has been receiving the same objective as expected. It is also important to monitor and evaluate the project activities, sites and human resources which come in the next step.
Monitoring and Controlling
Timely monitoring and check of the tasks delegated has to be undertaken by the manager which is vital to understand if any deviation has taken place. Any tasks that have underperformed can be tracked in the monthly reports. Monitoring shows divergence when comparing planning with the actual task performance. Prompt action can be taken to adjust this divergence and divert it to the original path. Timely monitoring is very essential. Early or delayed monitoring will not produce the same result as perfectly timed monitoring.
The closing ceremony is the fruit of all the hard work through the period. The lessons learned, good practices and future possibilities should be tracked and shared in the last closing meeting with all the staffs and stakeholders. Managers usually thank all the staffs and stakeholders alike for their support and celebrate the success or mourn the loss.
It is very important to document the lessons learned and the best practices which can be incorporated in the next project in future. These will be strong guidelines and pillars which can aid in the success of future projects.
If I were a project manager, I would track and manage projects with the help of the above mentioned steps. Software such as Trello, Basecamp, Smartsheet and numerous other project management software’s can be used to aid in initiation of the project, communicating, delegating tasks, monitoring, tracking deviations, controlling and gathering feedback can be done with the use of these software’s. I have used Basecamp before in a training program that I took part in. It was very effective to monitor the tasks that needed to be fulfilled, delegation of tasks, sharing of documents; commenting and receiving feedback were very useful in the Basecamp. There were limitations for me as a first time user as it required a good internet network, and I had a slight difficulty browsing through the settings and options.
For the communication channel I would use Facebook group as one type of communication channel as most people are already in the system and familiar with it. This group will make it easier to disburse information, collect feedback and comments. "Communication is the basis of everything and is thus the key to effective project management. Even in biblical times, the importance of project communication was contained in the chronicle of the Tower of Babel, whereby it was reported that God caused a construction project to fail by interrupting communication through the creation of multiple languages. (Samáková, Sujanová, & Koltnerová, 2013)”
These are some of the steps of project management and what I would do to manage project.
Samáková, J., Sujanová, J., & Koltnerová, K. (2013). Project Communication Management in Industrial Enterprises. International Conference on Information Management and Evaluation; Reading , 155-163.
Wallace, P. (2015). Introduction to Information System. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
Project management refers to the process of planning, organizing, controlling and managing the resources of the organization (including human) in such a way that it contributes in successfully meeting the objectives of the project. The project management plan is expected to effectively and efficiently guide all aspects of a project from start to finish, with the ideal goal of delivering the outcome on time and on budget (Rouse, 2016).
A project goes through five stages, which is needed to manage systematically. They are explained below (Wallace, 2013).
This is the first stage where a concept is build and initiation is taken on starting the project. In this, the idea is generated by the collective decision and contribution of the teams of experts; the initiative is taken whether the project will be feasible and if it can be completed within the assumed period. This stage is getting answers on why to commit this project, is the project feasible, who are the potential partners of the project, and what end result members are seeking to achieve.
As we have always studied, planning is about deciding in advance what to do, how to do, when to do and who is to do it. It works similarly for the project management process i.e. acting as a road-map for executing the project. At this stage, the goals are set in which each member’s job responsibilities are described in detail regarding cost decision, duration of project, communication, risk of the project, making WBS, development of schedule, estimating and reserving resources, etc. As Bisk (2018) points out, “The project plan gives the team direction for producing quality outputs, handling risk, creating acceptance, communicating benefits to stakeholders and managing suppliers.” The project planning prepares team to tackle the obstacles they might encounter during the project.
After the planning phase, the next step is to execute it according to the mapped out plan. The tasks like meeting on status, current project status updates need of human resources, communicating with stakeholders, doing presentations, negotiating contracts and overall performance reports of the team. However, the execution stage needs team coordination to ensure that the tasks on the WBS are performed appropriately. This stage helps the project team understand whether the project will success or fail in the future.
Monitoring and Control phase
In this phase, the overall performance on the project is monitored and controlled starting from the initiating phase until the project completion period. This stage helps the project manager to identify any deviations occurred in the project while executing the project plan by measuring the project performance and progression. For example, Many managers use KPI technique to evaluate if the project is going on the track or not. If the project is moving according to the plan and desired budget then it gives an indication that the project will meet the expectations and if not then any corrective actions can be taken at that very time.
At the closing phase, the project is closed in an orderly way. It indicates that the project is completed and the strength, weakness, most prominent team member, what went wrong, what could have been done and what are the takeaways of the project are determined. This helps the organization to do better in the future project.
Project management software is one of the tool the managers use to plan, track and manage projects. This software helps in keeping track of the project performance ensuring if they have been paid off on time.
It helps the project managers manage the time by automatically setting off the starting and ending time of the project. For example, the Time sheets helps the manager to keep track of benefits of the enterprise and meet deadlines by keeping them updates about the team’s progress. The managers can set a time/date for the task completion and the software will show two bars one showing the percentage of task left to be completed and other showing the percentage of task already completed. Similarly, Gantt chart helps to organize tasks and keep a visual timeline o the task.
Managing People and Resources
Project management software helps the managers to assign the task to the team and analyze their workloads and performance during the project. It gives reports on the level of effort each team member requires and has contributed to complete the project as per the schedule. This helps the managers to know if any employee is overloaded with work and can shift their burden to someone else who is working less. “The reports showing everyone’s schedule are especially useful because many projects include team members who work in other departments or projects, and their skills have to be shared.” For example, Dashboard can be used to record the status of multiple projects at the same time and managers can have a quick look on how things are working out.
Project management is the best tool to keep record of working hours and overtime hours of the employees. According to the recorded time in the software, a manager can provide salaries to the staffs or workers. The software gives an estimated cost that ca be used in the project. Suppose a project is not completed at the estimated time then the cost of the project might increases as the staffs needs to be paid for the extra hour or time they worked for the project. Therefore, when the software already provides the time the managers can estimate the cost of the project and earlier get prepare for such situations.
Therefore, a project is concerned with on-time delivery, within-budget expenditures and appropriate performance standards (A.K. Munns, 1996).
A.K. Munns, B. B. (1996). The role of project management in achieving project success. International Journal of Project Management, Volume 14, Issue 2 , 81-87.
Bisk. (2018). Five Phases of the Project Management . Retrieved from Villanova University: https://www.villanovau.com/resources/project-management/5-phases-project-management-lifecycle/#.W3QIUOgzbIU
Rouse, M. (2016, August 30). Project Management . Retrieved from Searchcio. techtarget.com: https://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/project-management
Wallace, P. (2013). Introduction to Information Systems, Second Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
A project is a temporary and unique activity aimed towards achieving certain objectives and is constrained by time, cost and scope. In order to attain the objectives of the project addressing these constraints, multiple tasks has to be carried out in right time and right sequence. Thus the project management efforts are divided into the following five phases to simplify the task of project managers:
Initiating is the build-up phase that lays groundwork for the project. This initial stage is about clarifying vales, setting objectives and estimating length, cost and scope of the project. It helps to analyze feasibility of the project to decide whether to undertake it or not. If the project is considered feasible, the project charter including the preset values, objectives and constraints along with estimated start and end date of the project, list of people involved in project with their roles and criteria for measuring success of the project is prepared with the commitment and support of the senior management. A kick-off meeting can be scheduled in this phase to let all the stakeholders and team members review the charter and discuss on next steps to be carried out (Wallace, 2015).
Planning refers to orderly listing of actual tasks that people involved in the project must complete to produce the project’s deliverables. It provides guidance for obtaining resources, acquiring financing, procuring required materials, producing quality outputs, handling risks, creating acceptance and communicating benefits to the stakeholders (Bisk Education, 2018). The planning phase provides Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to simplify the tasks related with project completion. Many companies use Gantt chart for this purpose as it lists every tasks with the starting and ending date in graphical format.
Executing is about putting the plans set in earlier stage into action. If planning is done properly, the execution becomes much easier and less time consuming for the project managers. It attempts to coordinate efforts for ensuring that the tasks are carried out as per the WBS. Executing includes tasks like communicating with stakeholders, allocating work assignments, negotiating contracts, coaching team members, holding meetings, writing updates, doing presentations for the board and conducting research among others.
Monitoring deals with tracking progress in the project to ensure that the actions are in accordance with the plan. It also helps to identify and rectify the deviations if there are any. In practice, the execution and monitoring goes hand in hand. Monitoring helps to prevent scope creep, calculate key performance indicators and track variations from allotted cost and time. It is important to incorporate the changes affecting the project during the project execution.The expected and actual performances are compared to ensure that team is on the right track.
Closing is wrapping up the things and ending the project in orderly manner. It involves debriefing with team and acknowledging the efforts and accomplishments of the team members (Harvard Business Review, 2016). The project is reviewed to analyze what went well and what could be improved. The overall process is documented including both good and bad aspects to use as reference in future and add to the knowledge base of the organization.
I will also follow the similar steps mentioned above to plan a project as manager. For example: If I have to lead project, I will first organize a meeting with all the team members and discuss about objective, time, cost and scope of the project. After that I will classify the overall task of project into small chunks and assign those to different members. After that the team members will start performing the tasks assigned to them and I will continuously monitor the work of each members to make sure that the objective of project is met on time. Upon completion of the project, I will document the overall process. In order to make the task of project management simpler and easier, different software can be used based on the available budget, objective and requirement of the project. Scoro, Proofhub, Basecamp, Asana, Podio, Workzone, Jira, Notion, Eventcollab etc. are some of the software that can be used for project management as suggested by Leis (2017). These software help to track project timing, project tasks and cost (Wallace, 2015).
Bisk Education. (2018). Five Phases of the Project Management Lifecycle. Retrieved from Villanova University: https://www.villanovau.com/resources/project-management/5-phases-project-management-lifecycle/#.W3ZX5-gzbIX
Harvard Business Review. (2016). The Four Phases of Project Management. Harvard Business Review . Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/11/the-four-phases-of-project-management
Leis, M. (2017, February 7). 42 Best Project Management Software and Tools. Retrieved from Scoro: https://www.scoro.com/blog/best-project-management-software-list/
Wallace, P. (2015). Introduction to Information Systems (Second ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
O’Brien & Marakas (2006), in their book Introduction to information systems, project management is a systematic approach to project planning, organizing, and managing resources, resulting in a project that successfully meets its objectives. A successful project can underlie only with border knowledge and skills in the area with clear understanding of the process. Every project has five underlying processes that require management and they are listed and explained below: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
The initiating processes is the groundwork for the project. Here, we clarify the value of the project to the organization, setting its objectives, and estimating the project’s length, scope, and cost. Or, this initiating process is also called as kickoff meeting. Here, the stakeholders meet one another where the team reviews the charter and discuss on next steps in the led of project manager.
The planning processes is a road-map or say guide for executing the project. An organizational chart with detailed description of the work to be performed, scheduling information, predict on success metrics, and system used to monitor the project are included in the process. In the same way, strategies for managing time, quality, human resources, communications, cost, risk, and overall integration are also included.
Executing processes comes under the led of project manager where he enroll all the set process in the field. The project manager need to execute all the details from communicating with stakeholders, allocating work assignments, negotiating contracts, coaching team members, holding meetings, writing updates, doing presentations for the board, to conducting research for the project.
Monitoring and controlling processes is tracking the process from start to end the project. This is also required in order to pinpoint the deviations on plan. The project manager pays close attention on the process.
Closing processes will formally end of the project. The project manager arrange the meeting to conclude the project with celebration. Most of the company missed the lesson learned process which has its importance in upcoming projects. Here, the team members are encourage by their performance and share the learned process during the project.
As a manager, I would follow the five process of project management (i.e. initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing) as explained above to plan, track, and manage projects. Now for the software, I would go for Trello to collaborate, communicate and coordinate on all of my projects. It has features likes’ labels and categories, drag and drop, in-line editing, checklists, uploading of files and attachments, data filtering etc. which would push updates in the cloud storage to all users and also will be the centralized place for my subject-librarianship record-keeping (Heaton, 2015).
Heaton, R. (2015). Free Web App Trello.
O’Brien, J. A., & Marakas, G. M. (2006). Management information systems (Vol. 6). McGraw-Hill Irwin.