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The Basics of the Good Project Management

By Yana, Customer Support Specialist at Flat Rock

An old saying says that behind every great man stands a great woman. We would freely paraphrase this to “Behind every great company, stands great project management”.

No matter how small or big your company is, one thing is for sure – you need to have the perfect project management. Nowadays a company wouldn’t survive if the workflow is not organized and coordinated according to good PM practices.

Project management is a very responsible task and should be taken seriously from company executives. It sounds a bit vague but actually it isn’t. Each project has a beginning and an end. Between them we can find the project management methodologies, which define the success of the project.

The skeptics would ask “Can project management be that efficient, having in mind the great variety of industries? Is it really applicable everywhere?”

Yes, it is!

Regardless of the industry, project management always follows the same basic processes and the used PM methodologies are always formed of four to five process groups.

Usually these groups include:

→ Project initiation

→ Planning and design

→ Execution

→ Monitoring and controlling

→ Closure

The initiation process defines the nature and scope of the project. Probably this is one of the most important stages. If the scope is set incorrectly, the result would be a product that won’t meet the client requirements. For bigger projects, this stage is crucial, because change of the concept or requirements in the middle of the project could lead to a failure.

Documentation

One of the most important documents is being created during project initiation. This is the project’s initial documentation. Some companies call it FDS (Functional Design Specification), others call it PID (Project Initiation Document). Regardless of the name, we may call it “a project’s bible”, as it becomes the pillar of the project. Basically each question that you might have about the project should find its answer there, in relation to: business case, scope and deliverables, objectives, risks and issues, dependencies, resources, milestone plan and timeline and of course cost estimate.

After the project initiation, the project needs to be planned to the smallest detail. This includes developing the scope statement, schedule, budget, communication and risk planning, and team selection.

During this phase, all teams involved in the project should work closely. It’s very important to successfully communicate the tasks to the relevant team and to coordinate the work between them. The teams can vary depending on the project’s industry. You can have for example designers, quality assurance specialists, engineers and market developers. The combinations can be many more and can change during the project course.

This is the period when all questions should be cleared in order to achieve a smooth workflow and precise synchronization. It’s the project manager’s job to ensure this!

Execution is the time when you can see how successful the first 2 phases were. If there is an omission somewhere, usually it will be noticed during the execution period.

Project control

The monitoring and controlling process is actually performed while execution takes place. It includes tracking the project in order to spot any potential problems and to correct them. In order to control the project, the project manager refers to the project’s initial documentation and the project delivery plan. A successful process control includes measuring of the ongoing project activities in respect to “planned vs. actual” results. 

Planned costs, spent time and schedules are compared to the current results and according to the results corrective measures can be taken.

Of course during this period every change should be considered carefully. Sometimes the impact can be bigger than expected and bring negative results. For this reason, the risk should be judged well and justified.

Closure

The project monitoring can stop when the project has achieved its goals but the project is considered finished only after its official closure.

Usually, “official closure” means finishing all activities for all project stages and signing off the project with the customer.The project manager can organize a closure meeting where to present the results of the project to the team. A short presentation would inform on how well the project went. This not a compulsory step, however, it is commonly used among project managers. It is really important because the experience can be applied for any future project.

This final step closes the project life cycle.

As a conclusion, we can say that, if all 5 steps are followed in the right manner, the project success is guaranteed. However, we should not forget that people are the ones to manage projects. It’s up to the senior management to support the PM methodologies and to encourage good PM practices in order to have a prosperous business.

If you want to know more about Flat Rock Project Management and how we successfully delivery projects, you can check our website or drop us a line at marcom@flatrocktech.com

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