The Phases of Project Management
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The moment you become a part of the corporate world, the term you get most familiar with is 'Project'. We can say that projects are the elementary part of the corporate world.
But what does a Project mean?
Project is a singular, short-term goal to be achieved by a person or a group of individuals in fixed, pre-defined time duration. These are the special operations that an organization needs you to complete within a given time frame. In an organization, a group of individuals with the same professional background is assigned to the project, depending upon the project's nature.
If you look around, you will see a variety of projects going on. Construction of roads and bridges, several awareness programs, development of software as per demand, all these come under types of projects.
The next step after understanding the term Project is to have an idea of project management. Since a group of people work on the project, it becomes necessary to make sure that everyone shares equal responsibility, gets all required resources and data, and finally, the work gets completed within the given time frame.
Every project needs a project manager to manage all the above tasks and deliver the required project to the client on time.
What is Project Management?
Project management includes every single responsibility of a project manager, along with his skills. It is all about the way of planning, resource gathering, executing, testing, and finally delivering the project. All projects are different from one another in many aspects, and hence, every project is different and thus managed in its own way.
Project management turns out to be successful once it gets the client's approval. Until then, the project manager needs to put all the efforts and skills in his job to complete his project successfully.
When we build a project, almost all of them go through some steps during its designing process:
- Making an understanding with the client and discovering their need. The actual structure of the project they need can only be built when you have deciphered their exact idea successfully.
- Construct an idea about the way you need to plan and start building the project that matches your client's needs. This step involves all the calculations. Making a plan, passing it on to the entire group, analyzing how much it costs, and the time it takes to finalize.
- Execution starts with this step. Every idea comes into practicality one by one as the project proceeds.
- The project manager keeps an eye on every group member to ensure that the work is going on as per initial planning, checks for problems and identifies them, and finally tries to solve it.
- Once the project is complete, all the issues are resolved, and every group member has completed the assigned tasks, the project manager then delivers the project to their client after testing.
Impact of ineffective Project Management
A project succeeds due to good project management. One cannot deliver a project on time without going through a complete management process.
Lack of proper project management can result in a significant loss and can also affect the relationship with clients. Ineffective project management affects the project in many ways:
- Delivery of the project gets delayed if the complete life cycle of project management is not properly followed.
- Ineffective project management can also be the result of the poor performance of the project manager.
- If the project manager lacks experience, chances are higher that the work would never complete on time, and even if it does, it would not be satisfactory.
- The structure of the project might not match the client's idea of the project as the team couldn't get the exact information.
- If the project designing lacks consideration of real-world scenarios, the project might not be able to provide efficiency in the long run.
Phases of Project Management
All projects are different in terms of time, cost, and resources, and hence, they go through different phases. Some projects are bigger and more complex than others, which makes them go through different phases than the smaller ones. As per the size of projects, they can have 3 to 5 phases. The five basic phases of project management are:
- Project Initiation Phase: This is the starting phase of every project. As soon as a project is assigned, the project initiation phase takes place. The project sponsors decide whether to invest in the project or not. If the project belongs to an IT background, resource gathering, and project analysis takes place during the initiation phase.
- Project Planning Phase: Once the project gets suitable sponsors and resources, now it is the time to start working on the specified project. The project initiation phase is followed by the planning of time, cost quality, feasibility, duration, and risk of the project. This phase includes some important activities for the betterment of the project management – development of schedule, planning of suitable mode of communication, confirming deadlines of deliveries.
- Project Execution Phase: This is the phase where the actual designing of the project starts. All the resources and data that are gathered in previous phases are used in this phase. Projects get their structure, and the client can check how the project will look after the final phase.
- Project Control Phase: In this phase, the project manager checks if the work done is as per given instructions. The design of the project is done according to the plans made in the project planning phase, and to make sure the plan is followed, this step plays an important role.
- Project Closure Phase: The final phase in the life cycle of project management. The project closure phase is important as it involves the final delivery of the designed project, giving recognition to every group member, returning the resources being used, and relieving the contractors employed for the project.
The Importance of Project Management
The complete life cycle of the project ends with its on-time delivery, which, in turn, is the biggest challenge for every project manager. Without proper project management, it becomes difficult for the group to complete the project on time. If a team receives a task along with a fixed deadline, you need someone to keep track of all the group members. In project designing, the performance of every single team member is important as they share equal responsibilities. There are a lot more reasons why project management is essential for a successful project:
Projects are often assigned to a group of individuals. These people are then responsible for giving structure to the client's idea of the project. For delivering it on time, there must be a person assigned to keep track of the group members. Working under pressure of the project manager establishes teamwork among the group.
Taking the responsibility of a project alone can be much costlier than to make a group for it. Proper management is necessary to construct the project in budget.
Working in a group can be very confusing at times as co-ordination can turn out to be a difficult task. Improper project management often makes teamwork a very messy task as it creates miscommunication among members, which further increases chaos. Therefore, project management plays an important role in reducing chaos.
Makes a Schedule
If you are working on a project with a group of individuals, everyone's time must match with each other. If the work lacks proper management, managing time becomes difficult.
The most important factor while designing a project is its quality. It comes under the fundamentals of project designing and cannot be compromised. For maintaining quality, it is crucial to have proper project management.
Project management today is still time-consuming and requires efforts. But this can get reduced with the right set of software tools. In today's world, there are numerous project management software available, which help get the job done easily. For this, along with the project manager, you would need a project management software.
Let's see what Project Management Software is?
Project Management Software helps in project planning, scheduling, and resource allocation. With the help of project management software, the entire team can control the budget, documentation exchange, quality management through this project management software. It also facilitates collaboration among different project stakeholders.
A project requires a lot of things like budget management, track down deliverables, collaborate with team members, resource management, and many more.
Various project management aspects make project management software useful. While considering project management software, always take care of 5 key functional aspects:
- Firstly, it should be able to assign and update the tasks given to everyone on the team.
- Secondly, many tools offer calendars or other milestone tools that help to understand how much time is required to complete the project and where a task fits in a project.
- Project Management Software should be able to share and organize key project documents without wasting time searching for important files.
- The software should support smooth communication flow and should be easy and problem-solving in nature.
- The last and the most critical requirement in the software is that every project member should be able to update themselves or report their tasks.
Top 13 project management software:
- PlanStreet: PlanStreet is top-notch project management software that provides many tools to help project managers and their teams. The tools provided include Kanban Boards, Online Scrum Tools, etc. PlanStreet can be used to manage the project of any size or complexity. Each feature as a module offers the user superior functionality. PlanStreet provides useful features such as Gantt charts for real-time tracking of workload, resource tracking for optimal allocation of the right resources, expense tracking to make sure that you are well within your project budget, and communication with the client. The tool requires minimal training, and users can access it from anywhere.
- Basecamp: One of the most preferred project management software is Basecamp. It comes with many integrated features like a dedicated discussion area to discuss the project. It also offers a copy of updates on the project to the mailbox of the project employees, which can help employees to find any files or conversations. However, it has its shortcomings like it lacks customization and does not allow access to more than one user at a time. The base charge of Basecamp is $99/month for businesses.
- The next one is Plutio. It is an all-in-one project management platform. It has in-built features that include not only managing projects and tasks but also creating proposals and sending invoices. It organizes the project flow by allowing monitoring the time-sheet entries of the employees. The price structure is $15/month for individuals and $30/month for a team, and a studio plan of $20/month.
- The most extensive project management software is Zoho. It is straightforward. The features of Zoho include project planning, Gantt charts, to monitor the task progress, collaboration software, and reporting tools. It smoothens the contact between the vendors, employees, clients, and consultants. It is also responsible for Document Management. It is possible to integrate Zoho with google apps and dropbox. It is available in a free plan that includes one project and 10 MB storage, then an express plan of $25/month and a premium plan of $50/month, and the last one is an enterprise plan of $80/month, depending on the number of project and storage space.
- Teamwork Projects is one of the preferable project management software. It includes all the project development tools. It is flexible and includes various features like Task management, File Storage, Milestone management, time tracking, and many more. It helps the project teams to track a project through a calendar and can also set-up reporting. It is accessible through Google Drive, Box.com, and DropBox and is available between $69/month to $269/month.
- And then comes Trello. It is different from other project management software. It is like an online kanban tool. In Trello, the entire project is visible in one single view. Trello designs cards, which then float around the board. These cards have the to-do lists, which helps the dedicated tool users to view and access the task.
- When considering a real-time software development team or say an Agile software development team, another better project management software is JIRA. It can facilitate Agile reporting and can also create customizable kanban boards and scrum boards. JIRA enables its users to connect with any third-party software. It can help in monitoring the time spent on each task.
- The next one is Asana project management software which helps in organizing a project. It includes conversations, projects, tasks, and dashboards. The best feature that Asana project software provides is the option to add customer's fields and filter to track only important conversations. It provides a "Smart Box" feature to share valuable ideas and allow members to receive only important project or task updates. It can integrate with other systems like Google Drive, MailChimp, and many others.
- Podio is ever-growing project management software which looks for communication among business. It is customizable, which means you can customize reports, content structure, and project overviews. It also offers a feature of internal interaction among the same company employees through an internal intranet environment.
- The software that offers personal workflow is Monday.com. It helps to visualize elements like location management and time management, which helps the entire team to work together and share and record important documents and conversations and thus saves time.
- The next project management software works well with small businesses. It is TeamGannt. It is easy to set-up and runs for around 1-2 hours. It allows inviting colleagues and offers editing if they are allowed access. The only shortcoming of TeamGantt is in-app collaboration.
- There is another one that supports the online project management app. It is Proofhub and focuses on simplicity and is mainly works for small, emerging businesses. It allows groups and clients to discuss, share, and edit. It has an in-built feature that includes Customer Roles, Time-tracking, Chat, Gantt Charts, Reports, Discussion, File management, and many more. It costs between $45/month and $99/month, depending on the project and storage space.
- The next one is Clickup. It is most suitable for process and task management. It helps in customizing the workflow, assigning tasks, and adding a different type of dependencies for the task. It works best in a real-time environment by managing the resources, checking the workload, and working together with the other teams.
While opting for the best project management software, it is essential to consider important facts like the business size and the number of projects and the features which are critical to the project. This analysis helps in analysing how important software is to sort the day-to-day work and also which software suits the company's needs.
Hopefully, the article provides a clear understanding of the different project management software available and why and which one is suitable for a particular business.
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