A successful project always starts with a thorough project plan, which would mean it is never too early to start planning a project! When you start to plan a project, it is important that you consider the following factors to aid in the success of your project.
- Choose the right project management methodology.
Look at the requirements for your project, what are your goals? What are your constraints in scope and cost? What type of project is it? Once you have identified this information it will make it easier for the correct management method to be selected and utilized to maximize your project. Management methods will differ between a construction project and an IT project, so it is important to make sure the correct method is used.
- Understand project lifecycle.
The project lifecycle includes the steps required to successfully manage a project from start to finish. There are 5 phases to most project lifecycles and several factors impact all of them.
- Initiation – During this stage, a systematic and objective assessment of the project will be complete. The aim is to determine the relevance and level of achievement of project objectives, development effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability. During this stage, the project charter will be created, this is a formal, typically short document that describes your project in its entirety.
- Planning – Planning of projects is completed by the project team with input from internal staff to aid in budget development as well as external contractors to aid in timeline generation and to help provide expert opinion on works to be completed. This stage is where a project’s scope is developed, the program is generated, and the budget is finalized.
- Execution – This is where the work of the project takes place, often this stage is split into smaller work packages depending on the project. This stage requires input from the project team, and internal and external staff to complete the work.
- Control – The control phase of the program runs consecutively with other phases, this serves as a quality assurance phase for the “health” of the project and helps aid in resource, cost, and risk management throughout the project lifecycle.
- Closing – This is the last stage in the project lifecycle, it is when a quality audit will be completed, are there defects in the final product? This is where they will be rectified. At the final acceptance and handover of the project a review, evaluation and handover pack will be completed to close out the project.
- Scope development
Accurate scope development in a project plays a vital role in successful execution, it is important that the scope answers the questions: What is included in this project? What is not included? What is the overall budget? What is the budget allocated to each milestone? Who is working on the project? What is the timeframe?
This is time to pinpoint exactly what your project is required to complete, how long and what cost.
- The Project Management Triangle
The project management triangle or triple constraint triangle is a model of the constraints that all projects must endure. The use of this triangle determines the quality of the project. Every project is bound by 3 things, the scope of work, the timeframe to complete, and the budget allowed. Ideally, you want to be positioned in the centre of the triangle to allow for a balance of scope, time, and cost. When one of the constraints is changed you move towards that corner, thus changing the quality of work completed. For example, a project will be completed faster by either reducing scope or increasing the budget, but if the budget gets cut without adjusting the scope or schedule the quality decreases as adequate time to finish quality work is not allowed.
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