Different People and companies define the steps of project management in different ways. One way is to divide a project in following four steps.
- Pre-Project Assessment
- Project Initiation
- Project Execution
- Project Closure
Project starts when the need for a project is recognized. But actual start of a project, it is necessary to justify that resources spent on it are justified. This is done through project appraisal, which is a process of detailed examination of several aspects of a given project before taking it up for implementation.
Once basic feasibility of a project is established top management authorizes start of project. This authorization is based on specification of project objectives and what will be involved in achieving them. This involves creating a well-documented description of end user requirements and deriving a full project plan including timing, resources and costs.
The initiation step is the first package of project related work after the pre-project assessment has been made. It is directed towards agreeing what the project should attempt to achieve, decide what will be involved in doing the project, and reaching a decision on whether a project as worth pursuing. This step clarifies the project objectives and what will be involved in achieving them. This information is also needed to take a decision to continue with the project.
Project Execution step is the core of the project activity. The most important issue in this step is to ensure that project activities are properly executed and controlled. During this step, the planned solution is implemented to solve the problem specified in the project's requirements.
Execution phase involves the production of the project outputs. The sub-steps within the execution phase are dependent on the application area. For example, the nature of work involved in a software development project is very different from a construction project, and the work involved in both these type projects will have very little in common with a community development project. However most of the projects will have the following three sub-steps within the project execution step.
· Build and Test
Design step starts once the project is authorized. It primarily consists of design of the project product and processes. Typically the designing progressively elaborates the project output and processes.
Using the outputs of design step, the work on building or creating the project outputs can start. This is the start of build and test steps. To ensure that quality of the projects output meets the user requirement the intermediate as well as final project outputs need to be tested and approved before transferring them to owners for operational use. Building and testing usually takes the most time and resources of the project.
The implement step is directed toward ensuring that the projects outputs are passed on to the project owners, and is being used by the intended users effectively in their operational work.
Project closure involves gaining stakeholder and customer acceptance of the final products and services, and handing over these to the Project Business Owner(s) for utilization by the Project Customers, in order to realize the project outcomes/benefits. In this phase the project activities come to a conclusion resulting in start of operational activities using the project output.