Project Management

project management

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“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

–  Jack Welch


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The types of work that require project management are varied, and you can apply project management practices and processes on both big and small projects. You’ll find project management happening in all industries, from film production and creative enterprises to investment banking and insurance.

Here are some examples of projects:

Launching a new website
Launching a new consumer app or other product
Introducing business, process or cultural changes to the organization
Opening or closing a new office
Construction work like any building project
Putting on an industry event
Making business changes to comply with regulation.

And you can probably think of hundreds of other examples relevant to your business.

The Project Management Life Cycle

Because projects have a start, a middle and an end, making them different from operations management, they all go through a series of phases. These phases are:

Initiation: This is the starting phase of your project. You develop the idea and put together the Project Charter, a document that sets out exactly what the project is going to deliver and how you are going to get there.
This stage of the project culminates in a project Kickoff meeting, where you bring together the team, stakeholders and relevant other parties to define the project goals, schedule and processes like how to communicate and chain of communication.

Planning: The next phase is where you plan the work by breaking it down into smaller chunks and estimating how long they will each take. The output from this is your project plan, often visualized as a Gantt chart, which represents the order of tasks and how they are interdependent. This gives you a roadmap for the work until the project reaches its conclusion.

Executing: This is where the bulk of the work happens. Now that you have a plan, you can execute that plan. Along the way you’ll monitor and control the work to make sure that you stay on track in terms of budget, schedule and quality performance. You’ll also work to identify and mitigate risks, deal with problems and incorporate any changes. The bulk of the work of a project manager happens in this phase and a lot of the project management processes we’ll discuss below help you here.

Closing: Project work needs to be closed down carefully to make the most of what was achieved and ensure that anything useful that was learned is passed on to teams who will benefit. In this phase you’ll get user acceptance for the work that was completed, finish off any final paperwork and reports and hand any deliverables over to a different team, such as operations management team.

“Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet.”


Project Management Processes

Risk management: The risk management process helps you identify what might happen to throw your project off track and then define a response so you’ve got contingency plans in place. This is usually done on larger projects, rather than smaller. Although even for small teams, a short sync up with the team to help identify potential problems in the plan would be useful to guard against the unexpected and have plans of action in case it does.

Issue management: An issue is a problem that has happened (different to a risk, because that hasn’t happened yet). Issue management is how you deal with problems when they turn up on your project and it’s worth working out what this is going to look like for you because something is bound to go wrong. The process will cover who needs to be notified, how you make decisions about what to do next, and who has the authority to take action.

Change management:
Every project has changes. Sometimes that’s because the objective wasn’t defined particularly well at the outset. Or because the business strategy has changed and the project needs to be updated accordingly. The change process helps you incorporate these into your project plan with the least hassle possible.

Procurement management:
Many projects involve working with suppliers and there is normally a process around how you engage and contract with them so that everyone knows what to expect and what you are getting for your money.

Communications: Yes, communication is a process! You have to identify who needs to get which message when and which method of communication is most appropriate. A communications plan will help you do this.

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