As project management grew into its own discipline, so did the philosophy behind it. This led to the founding of organizations like the Project Management Institute (PMI), which seek to standardize elements of project management and create literature that project managers can use to inform their decision-making process.
One of the concepts that came out of this was the project life cycle. The life cycle of a project is broken down into five process groups, and each group represents a series of processes that must occur within that phase. The five phase groups are:
The initial process group looks at whether a project is valid or not. If the initiative is determined to have value, the project will be formally approved, and a project manager will be assigned to oversee the endeavor. It’s during this phase that key elements of the project are defined, such as:
- The required resources
- A cost estimate
- Risks and dependencies
- A project timeline
During this phase of project management, an action plan is developed to support your project from start to finish. Everything from the scope of your project, to its budget and important milestones, are determined during the planning phase. This is when teams are assembled and when work is defined through an execution strategy.
This is the process group where most of the action happens. Teams work on their assigned work, while project managers ensure tasks are moving smoothly through the workflow and all parties are collaborating effectively.
4. Monitoring and Controlling
This group is meant to identify and correct potential problems that could jeopardize the success of your project. Some of the processes of this phase include:
- Measuring progress
- Monitoring variables like cost and scope
- Identifying necessary corrective actions to keep the project on track
As the final phase of the project’s life cycle, the closing phase formally concludes the project. This phase usually includes the post-mortem meeting mentioned above, in which teams and leadership can review the project, looking at what went smoothly, what went wrong, and how to avoid making similar mistakes going forward.
Now that we’ve touched on the basics of project management, let’s revisit the all-important role of the project manager.