by Maria Lahiffe
Effective project management is a lot harder than it looks. It is also extremely important. Do you want to learn how to deliver 30% of your projects under budget? How about a 21% increase in productivity and 19% of projects completed ahead of schedule?
Although project management is harder than it looks, the good news is, it is all learnable! There are five basic phases to a project:
This is where a project idea is evaluated to determine whether or not it benefits the organization. You may also compare different project ideas to determine which is the best one to proceed with.
This is one of the most important phases of a project, especially smaller projects. This is when you agree on the scope for the project, defining clearly what will and will not be done. When (not if) things change, you sit down with your boss or your stakeholder, to explain the change in situation and decide together what will be needed, in terms of additional work, additional time, and additional resources. Having agreed on a scope to begin with, you can be very clear on the additional resources needed and why.
This is the meat of the project, where the outcome-related work gets done. So, for example, if the project is to run a recreation program, then the execution phase would be the time when participants are doing the actual recreation.
This happens at the same time as execution. Compare the actual progress of the project to the plan. Make changes, as necessary, to keep to the plan. Alternately, if you learn something which throws part of the plan into question, then meet with your stakeholders to make a joint decision about how to move forward.
This is the other most important phase of a small project. Always, always take a little bit of time to debrief on the project: how did it go? What went well? What would you do differently next time? Learning from your own successes and mistakes is the single best way to improve at anything, including your project management skills.
The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) further divides these five main phases into 19 sub-phases, including things like budget, work breakdown structure, key performance indicators, and risk management.
Volunteer Ottawa, in partnership with NPO-PM, is pleased to help people just like you to manage your projects better.
To learn more, and to register, visit our website.
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