Almost every discipline requires knowledge and expertise in project management. When initiating a project, you’re required to put together a team to handle a variety of tasks that must be completed on time, in the right order, and on budget.
It’s important first to look at the totality of a project—the big picture. Once you have the big picture in mind, you can then go about breaking it down into manageable components or phases that must be completed in their right order, on budget and on schedule.
Getting a project management certificate will address these components and provide you with the skills and knowledge required to deal with each phase. In essence, a project management course will address the five phases of project management. These are:
1. How to Initiate a Project
The first stage of every project is initiation. At this phase, the importance and the feasibility of a project are investigated. A couple of tools are used by project managers to establish whether or not to go ahead with a project.
The first tool is the Business Case Document, which seeks to establish the rationale for the project. It does this through a combination of metrics, among them an analysis of a project’s potential financial benefits.
The second tool is the Feasibility Study, which evaluates the goal of a project, costs, and timelines to establish whether the project should be implemented in the first place. Such a study attempts to match the project’s requirements with current resources to establish whether a project is viable or not.
2. How to Plan for a Project
Once a project has passed the initiation phase, the next phase requires a solid plan that will be used to guide a project team. The plan establishes timelines and budgets that the team must adhere to. A well-presented project plan indicates where the resources, funds, and project materials will be procured from. The plan guides the team in the delivery of quality outputs, managing suppliers, risk management, the project’s acceptance, and the communication of the benefits of the project to various stakeholders.
The project plan also clearly outlines the obstacles that a team may encounter during the project’s lifespan. It also assists team members in understanding the scope, the timeframe, and the cost of a project.
3. How to Execute a Project
The execution phase of a project is perhaps the most crucial part of project management. It is mainly about meeting deliverables as per the client’s requirements. A good project leader will ensure that all team members have the resources they need to stay focused on their respective tasks and complete them successfully. This phase depends almost exclusively on the effectiveness of the planning phase.
4. How to Monitor and Control a Project
Execution is sometimes lumped together with monitoring and control because the three phases happen concurrently. A team will have to constantly monitor its progress even as it executes the project plan.
To ensure that the project unfolds as was set out in the initiation phase, tasks need to be closely monitored so that everyone stays within the project’s scope and that key performance indicators are adhered to. In addition, any variation in terms of cost and time must be monitored so as to keep the project going as scheduled.
5. How to Close a Project
Upon a project’s completion and after all the deliverables have been presented to a client, the project is deemed to have closed. The closing process kicks in after a team has delivered the project outcomes and notified all the stakeholders of the project’s conclusion and after handing over any unused resources.
An understanding of how the various phases of a project cycle fit together is deemed a key skill for every project manager. With a project management certification, you will have the confidence and the requisite knowledge to manage any type of project.