Project steps – key stages to incorporate into your project – Part 1

One of the challenges that new project managers face is that they are often daunted by knowing what activities and stages should take place within their project timeline. While formal methodologies such as Prince 2 & PMP can provide a basic framework novice Project Managers often find such tools complex and bureaucratic and be put off from the benefits that they can provide an so initiate their project without an understanding of those steps that will facilitate success.

For most projects there are some common steps and activities – these can be adapted into most plans in some guise and while the detail may depend on your deliverable you may wish to include those steps shown below.

Project steps: the essential project elements

1. Project initiation

Project initiation refers to the steps involved in getting your project off the ground and typically this will include:

• Defining the deliverable and it’s benefits (i.e. the reason for undertaking the project)
• Defining the project scope
• Producing some form of cost benefit
• An initial risk assessment and assumptions
• A Stakeholder assessment – who will your project impact – include customers and suppliers to the project consider who will support your project and who may sabotage it!
• Appointment of a steering board
• Project Approval

Depending on the complexity and cost of your project, Project Initiation can take various forms. Often a project charter is produced which summarizes the benefits, costs, risks and high level timeline that the project will take. This can then be presented to appropriate decision makers who allow the project to go ahead.

Formal Project approval is usually required and is especially needed where costs and resources are used. Budget can then be granted, usually with a certain tolerance that once (or if likely to be) exhausted will be referred back to the steering board for review.

2 Risk management

Risk Management is a key Project step – effectively this is the process that captures and manages potential pit falls (for example a failure of hardware to be ready on time in a IT deployment). Risk Management has a number of key attributes namely.

Risk Capture
Risk assessment
Risk avoidance & mitigation
Risk monitoring

For more information check out the following article on Project Risk Management

3 Project Team formation / Project Organization

Once your project is approved you’ll need to form a team to help implement it. Again its size and shape will be dependant on the skills required but most project teams have a number of project related functions that they undertake:

• Help produce and co-ordinate Project Plans
• Undertake Work Packages
• Report on risks and issues
• Communicate to stakeholders

Part 2 of the article can be found here Project steps – key stages to incorporate into your project – Part 2

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Related posts:

  1. Project steps – key stages to incorporate into your project – Part 2
  2. Project Management Guide An Introduction to Project Management
  3. What’s included in a project charter
  4. Benchmarking strategy