Phases of Project Management
Depending on the specific organization or methodology, the specific names for the Phases of Project Management or terms used within project management may vary. For example, some use the term “execution” rather than “implementation.” Some organizations have more or fewer than the five phases we’ll use in this guide. For our purposes, the lifecycle of a project will be characterized by the following five phases:
- Monitoring and Control
While the names may vary, the processes follow the same general path, which is not linear but rather an iterative cycle. It shares some characteristics with a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle of continuous quality improvement and indicates whether a project is on the right trajectory toward success.
In the pages ahead, we’ll touch upon each of the five phases shown in the graphic above to provide a foundation of understanding. Through this guide, we’ll point out ways in which project management can look a bit different in a state or territory than it would in a for-profit company.
Within this guide, we are assuming the project management is being conducted by a person who is employed within the state or territory either as temporary or full-time staff within the program area implementing the project or through the state or territory’s project management office. As such, some elements of the phases will leave off steps that would be present if the project were being executed and managed by a vendor through a contract for work outside the state or territory.
Additionally, in some industries, it is common to create a Project Management Plan, which is a document that defines how a project is implemented, monitored, and controlled. In states or territories, these elements are often covered in several different documents or overarching governance policies for projects within the agency. For example, the implementation may be governed by the project management approach used by the state or territory, while the monitoring and control are handled through a dashboard or Gantt chart and the reporting is detailed in the Communication Plan.
Regardless of the exact method, protocols, or ways of organizing, it is more important to utilize a project management system that works for the state or territory rather than attempting to fit into a preconceived project management system that was built for a different industry or way of work.