How To Execute Project Management In 5 Easy Steps
A proper project management process ensures an organisation (or individual) can execute the project as efficiently as possible.
Thus, we can achieve the project’s objective faster while using fewer resources.
In short, project management is critical if you what to finish your project within budget and deadline.
Without it, you won’t have enough control over the execution of your project, and essentially you are leaving the project’s and even the organisation’s future at the mercy of your team.
Yet, what is project management? How can we effectively implement project management in any project?
This guide will answer those questions and discuss all you need to know about project management.
What Is Project Management?
As the name suggests, project management is the effort of managing and optimising the execution of a project.
First, what is a “project”?
Simply put, a project is a set of (typically) sequential tasks or actions that involve the transformation of raw material to a deliverable and processing of raw data into processed data to achieve a specific objective.
We should differentiate “project” with a “process” or “business process.”
Project is typically one-off, and the result of accomplishing the tasks might not be predictable.
On the other hand, a business process is repeatable and predictable, meaning when we give the same input to a process, we’ll always get the same output.
Let’s use a restaurant business as an example. Planing the interior design of the restaurant is a project.
On the other hand, the repetitive day-to-day operation of cooking the signature dish is a process.
While there are principles of project management that you can apply to business process management/optimisation, there are also some unique features that are only applicable to project management.
The actual implementation of project management may vary depending on the project’s objective and other factors, but it will always include five core steps:
Below, we will discuss these five steps.
Five Steps of Project Management
Step 1: Initiation
The first step of project management is to assess the feasibility of the project.
If the project is self-initiated, you have to do this on your own, but if the project comes from a client (i.e., if you are a marketing agency), the client will typically provide a project brief for this purpose.
You may still need to conduct a kickoff meeting with the client to understand better the client’s requirements and expectations from the project.
In this step, you should also assess the project’s feasibility: will this project benefit your company and your client?
Will the project align well with your company’s value?
Also, have at least a rough estimation of how long the project will take to execute, how much budget you will need, and the objective(s) of the project.
In this step, you should decide whether the project is worth pursuing (so you go to step 2) or move on to another project.
Step 2: Planning
This step is about defining the project’s scope, estimating the budget, and setting up a timeline/schedule.
You can use a workflow management tool to draw up a project plan with the scope, schedule, and budget, and the first thing you should do is define the project’s objective.
Use the SMART goal methodology to define your objectives. That is, your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Based on these objectives, assess your available resources (including workforce) and develop a schedule to efficiently achieve the goals with your current resources.
In this step, you should also perform a risk management plan: identify potential hazards and issues throughout the project execution, and devise strategies to tackle these issues and mitigate the impacts ASAP.
Don’t worry too much about committing to specific plans in this step. Virtually all of these items are subject to change throughout the project’s execution, and the idea is to apply structure while remaining flexible.
Step 3: Execution
Pretty self-explanatory, this step is the actual launch and execution of the project. How successful this step will depend on how you’ve performed the previous two steps, but this step remains the most crucial.
Start this step with a kickoff meeting: meet with your team members and distribute the required information and resources.
Ensure you’ve adequately communicated the schedule, assigned roles and responsibilities, and any critical information related to the project’s execution.
Execute the project based on the schedule you’ve planned, and keep track of the project’s objectives by regularly monitoring KPIs.
In this step, it’s crucial to set up two things:
- A collaboration hub where your team can collaborate and communicate efficiently to maintain transparency and accountability. A business process management software like Aproove can help with this objective.
- A monitoring and analytics system that allows you to monitor projects in real-time. This is to ensure that you can take action against any issue as soon as it gets identified.
Step 4: Monitor
In this step, we continue monitoring and controlling the project’s performance.
This step aims to monitor the status of the project’s progress compared to the original plan. If the project runs smoothly, then this step will be relatively easy.
However, if there are many issues, this step can be challenging to undertake.
You should monitor:
- Progress against objectives: whether the project stays within deadline and budget and its status against the project’s objectives
- Performance: how many issues have occurred and how quickly these issues were dealt with.
- Cost tracking: monitoring expenses and usage of resources
- Quality of deliverables: whether tasks are completed to the desired level of quality
You should keep checking the KPIs of the project periodically and adjust your approach/reassign resources when there’s any problem or when deadlines are missed.
Step 5: Closing
The last but not least step is to close the project when completed.
The project may successfully achieve the desired objective or not, and both the project manager and the client should evaluate the overall performance.
The best outcome is when a project is completed ahead of schedule with high-quality deliverables, but there will be projects where too many problems arise, and you can’t finish them within the deadline.
Evaluate and learn both from your success and failure so you can execute your future projects better.
Project management is essentially about ensuring all elements and moving parts of the project are running smoothly so you can execute the project as efficiently as possible.
The secret is about managing the small details.
It all starts with proper initiation and planning of the project, so you can always track the project’s progress against its objectives.