Project Management Processes

Overarching Project Management processes are independent of industry sector, organizational influences or application area. Performed in the same sequence on any type of project, these basic Project Management processes include defining, planning, implementing, controlling, improving, and closing. It is imperative to integrate, optimize and coordinate these processes and various activities required to successfully manage project scope, schedule, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk, and procurement. Project Management processes are intrinsically interdependent, incremental and iterative. At the beginning of any project, there is insufficient information to formulate a complete, detailed and accurate project management plan. Progressive Elaboration technique allows a project team to continuously update, improve and refine the plan as more detailed and specific information become available during the course of the project. Using key performance indicators, effective communication with key stakeholders, teamwork, and methodical application of change management principles are also important for producing defined project deliverables. Depending on the nature and scope of the project, achieving ultimate project outcomes may involve creating and/or implementing a new and unique service, information system, facility, business process, medical device, clinical practice, organizational capability, publication, training program, etc. It is important to recognize that every project is unique and individual Project Management processes with associated tools and techniques should not be automatically applied with the same degree of rigor across all projects. Software development and other projects characterized by frequent changes to the requirements often necessitate utilization of highly flexible, adaptable and interactive Agile Project Management methods. Agile methods help project teams deal with unpredictability and provide opportunities to revisit every aspect of design and development through iterative planning, testing and integration.

 

Project Management Processes

 

Defining

  • Assess organizational needs and identify strategic opportunities
  • Apply appropriate project selection methods, tools and techniques
  • Conduct feasibility study to determine viability of the selected project
  • Define the main purpose and objectives of the project
  • Define preliminary project scope, schedule milestones and budget
  • Define project boundaries, general expectations and measures of success
  • Document project assumptions, constraints and high-level risks
  • Identify key project stakeholders and perform stakeholder analysis
  • Develop effective communication strategy
  • Define key project requirements, specifications and deliverables
  • Define approval requirements and acceptance criteria
  • Develop Project Charter and obtain approval from the project sponsor

Planning

  • Establish project team and define roles and responsibilities
  • Develop integrated Project Management Plan and necessary subsidiary plans
  • Refine project scope, objectives, deliverables, requirements, and constraints
  • Create Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • Define work activities and sequence them in the correct order
  • Estimate time and resources required for each work activity
  • Develop detailed project schedule
  • Develop detailed cost estimates and determine budget
  • Identify project risks, perform risk analysis and develop risk responses
  • Develop plans to manage human resources and communications
  • Develop plans to manage procurement, quality and process improvement
  • Develop and document change control system
  • Obtain stakeholder inputs and approval to execute the project
  • Conduct project kick-off meeting with all key stakeholders

Implementing

  • Secure necessary resources to implement the project plan
  • Direct and manage execution of the planned tasks and activities
  • Integrate and coordinate all the elements of the project
  • Perform project work according to the applicable requirements and standards
  • Demonstrate commitment, convey a sense of urgency and drive for results
  • Manage the project team and create an environment conducive to teamwork
  • Identify and address the true sources of interpersonal conflicts
  • Establish high standards of performance and inspire people to excel
  • Anticipate and address issues that may undermine the project success

Controlling

  • Consistently measure and monitor project performance against the baseline
  • Analyze performance data and identify variances from the project plan
  • Recommend, approve and implement corrective and preventive actions
  • Prepare project status reports and conduct regular progress review meetings
  • Monitor and control changes to the project scope, schedule, cost, and quality
  • Communicate changes, update the project plan and adjust resource levels
  • Continually identify, evaluate, monitor and control project risks
  • Ensure that project deliverables conform to the quality standards
  • Foster open communication and manage stakeholder expectations

Improving

  • Use a balanced mix of quantitative and qualitative measurements
  • Identify and validate root causes of the problems that arise during the project
  • Identify, prioritize, test, refine and implement feasible solutions
  • Perform Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Improve work flow, eliminate waste and error-proof critical processes
  • Standardize work, reduce variation and optimize the use of resources
  • Develop supporting systems and structures to sustain organizational change
  • Maximize team performance by providing feedback, training and mentoring
  • Develop and cultivate organizational capability for improvement

Closing

  • Obtain final acceptance and transfer the ownership of project deliverables
  • Perform financial, legal and administrative closure of the project
  • Identify, document and communicate learning from the project experience
  • Prepare and distribute the final project report
  • Archive project documentation and records
  • Measure stakeholder satisfaction at the end of the project
  • Release project resources and reassign project team members
  • Acknowledge and celebrate team accomplishments

Project management processes should not be confused with project phases. Each project phase is expected to produce one or more project deliverables and at the end of each phase the project sponsor and the project manager have the opportunity to evaluate the progress made and value of the project in the current circumstances. Taking into consideration all the information available, a decision is made if the project should continue to the next phase. This kind of management review process is known as a phase gate review or phase-end review. Depending on the industry, application area and specific circumstances, the project can be divided into several different project phases. For example, definition of requirements, design, testing, implementation, and evaluation are some of the commonly used project phases. Collectively, the project phases are known as the project life cycle.