Projects undergo 4 main phases from the time a project concept is borne to the time it is concluded of terminated. The modulation of a project into the 4 phases helps to mitigate the effects of the 3 main constraints that all projects experience i.e. cost, time and quality. This makes the project implementation systematic, efficient and effective. The following are the four main phases:
- INITIATION PHASE
- PLANNING PHASE
- IMPLEMENTATION PHASE
- CONCLUSION PHASE
This phase involves identification of an existing problem which needs to be addressed thus establishing the need for the project. Problem identification helps to determine the objective of the project. Possible solutions to the existing problem are also formulated and evaluated. All possible solutions to the problem are evaluated and tested in a feasibility study which determines if they address the objective of the project. A final and most suitable solution is selected. The project is then initiated so as to actualize its objective.
The justification for the project is established by answering the question “Why should we do the project?”
The feasibility of the project is established by answering the question “Can we undertake the project?”
A project manager (PM) is then appointed to spearhead the project. The PM then works on the project’s deliverables and identifies the personnel required for the project and their appropriate skills.
A project manager’s role is also to seek the management’s approval to proceed with other activities involved in the project.
The solution to the problem is developed in much greater detail in this phase. The procedures to be undertaken so as to actualize the objective of the project are explicitly established. Tasks to be undertaken and resources required for the project are also identified. A strategy for implementing the tasks and acquiring project resources is also developed. The 3 most critical items in planning are task identification, resources and timeframes.
A budget showing estimates of resources e.g. labor, equipment and materials is also developed. The budget is used to monitor and control expenditures during the project implementation phase.
Risk identification is also done in this phase. The “high-threat” risks are identified and their mitigation actions also established should they occur during the implementation phase.
Project stakeholders are also established in this phase. The mode and format of communicating to the stakeholders is also established including how frequently they will be informed of the project progress.
The project plan is executed in this phase by performing the activities and tasks as outlined in the plan. Adjustments are made to the original plan as tasks are undertaken. These changes must be recorded as variations to the plan and also communicated to all project stakeholders. The project manager uses the original plan to control the project. Progress is monitored by holding meetings and presenting reports which are also used to monitor quality and project milestones.
Project deliverables and documentation is handed to the final consumers. Supplier contracts are terminated at this level and resources used in the project are disposed of. These activities and procedures used must be communicated to the project stakeholders. A study on lessons-learned is undertaken to document the processes that were conducted well and those that were not. This documentation is used to inform future projects.