Only four dead simple project phases? What are we going to do with all these people then?
Project management should be simple. There's no reason for project management to become a complex monster that feeds on precious project resources. Project management should maximize the effectiveness of resources. It shouldn't consume them.
Here are four dead simple project phases I use to manage projects. I break projects into these four high-level phases. Doing this provides a simple and consistent frame of reference for everyone involved in the project. I've also listed the major activities that happen during each phase.
Project Phase 1 -Planning/Initiation
- Develop client requirements
- Present/align/iterate/confirm client requirements and expectations
- Determine/assign required resources
- Agree to a process to introduce and implement changes to the original plan, as required
Project Phase 2 - Execution
- Manage and maintain the right resource levels to maintain consistency with the timeline and budget
- Report on adherence and deviations to plan to internal and client stakeholders
- Realign plan and expectations as required, identifying any potential reasons for realignment as far in advance as possible
- Remove roadblocks preventing the team from making progress and hitting their goals
- Maintain positive team morale and motivation
- Recognize and celebrate the successes as they happen, not just at the end of the project
- Try and have some fun along the way 😉
Project Phase 3 - Delivery
- Baseline product being delivered against requirements
- Present product to client and collect feedback
- Address client feedback, balancing requests against original requirements vs. additional work, e.g. scope increase
- Determine next steps, if any
Phase 4 - Ongoing Support
- Similar steps to 1-3 above, done on a recurring basis, on a schedule agreed to with the client
- Additional emphasis on reporting can be helpful during this stage, so clients consistently remember the work that’s being done, not just when they receive an invoice 🙂
You can also learn about my dead simple project management principles in this post.