The first phase in any project management process is Project Initiation. The second phase is Project Planning. Together the first two phases represent the seven “Ps” of planning: Proper Prior Planning Prevents a Pretty Poor Program. But you are not preparing planning for planning’s sake, you need the deliverables. The final 3 phases of Project Management are Project Execution, Project Monitoring & Control, and Project Review & Close.
Final 3 Phases of Project Management
Phase III: Project Execution
Project Execution is the first of the final 3 phases of project management. It consists of developing, executing, and creating or building the project deliverables. The hard core planning elements prepared you for what you have to create; now you have to create it. Your output at this phase could be design documents, prototypes, examples, samples, or actual product, which should be accompanied by verification test results that substantiate that the deliverables meet the requirements.
Typically project execution is a construction phase. In the case of a process improvement project, Project Execution consists of constructing the solution or understanding the root cause and implementing the appropriate corrective action. After Project Execution, you move to Project Monitoring and Control.
Project Monitoring and Control is the second of the final 3 phases of project management and it consists of…well, monitoring and control. It is the last step of the six sigma DMAIC process and is critical for process improvement — ensuring that the problem is really solved.
Key variables are monitored to determine if they remain within tolerable ranges, so that your process improvements are maintained. In a custom home building project, monitoring might occur during the warranty period. The home owner would monitor their new home and report issues that come up. Once the monitoring period is complete, you are ready for the Project Review and Close phase.
Phase V: Project Review and Close
Project Review and Close is the last of the final 3 phases of project management and consists of closing out the project. “I’m done with the project”, you’re thinking. “What else is there to do?” There are three important elements of closing out a well-managed project: final project housekeeping, project review, and the project close-out report.
Project housekeeping consists of the project tasks that wind down your project:
- Complete final acceptance sign-offs;
- Complete the project review;
- Archive all documents and records;
- Recognize exceptional project achievements and discuss a project celebration event;
- Return project resources – people, facilities, and equipment;
- Write the final status report and create the project close-out report; and
- Communicate project successes and project management recommendations.
Project review is really what this phase is all about. You need to collect feedback from the project team (individually and as a group), management, the customer, and your suppliers. Project feedback is about knowledge management — capturing “lessons learned” for the sake of future projects. Make sure you identify project successes and problems for future project managers — one of them could be you!
People performing different functions on the project bring their own knowledge and experiences and they each have a unique, different view of the project’s successes, failures, and possible solutions. They see and hear things others don’t, and vice versa. Ensure that each project stakeholder group is represented — and participates — in your project review. Remember, it is the users’ view of the project and its deliverables, along with the view of the major stakeholders, that will live on long after your project is complete.
Important Project Review Questions To Ask:
- Do we have a list of went wrong and why?
- What do the customer satisfaction data say about our project?
- Have all handoffs and project transitions to the customers been completed?
- Are there any outstanding issues, activities, or risks?
- Is technical support in place?
- Was the project organization, including staffing and skills, appropriate?
- Were the schedules effective?
- Did the processes for change control, quality, and configuration management work well?
- How effective was the project communication plan?
- Were our success factors met?
- How was our time/budget variance and performance?
- What are the recommendations for future project managers?
The project manager is responsible for preparing your final deliverable for the project, the Project Close-Out Report. In the project review, the project manager obtained input from the project team and other major stakeholders. Now it is time for the project manager to organize the project review data into concise, cogent project information, harvest the project wisdom, and communicate the project results.
The project close-out report represents your stakeholder’s final thoughts on the project. It starts with summary descriptions from your project charter, explanation of project performance, operations management issues, documentation archives, and concludes with your project recommendations for future projects. You may include a list of project close-out items that demonstrates the project housekeeping activities are complete.
Your project sponsor approves your report and you are done, right? Almost. You must distribute the report, too.
Your Project Close-Out Report
- Project title, date, and author;
- Project description, goals, and benefits (from the project charter);
- Performance baseline (target versus actual);
- Operations management handoffs and issues;
- Project documentation archives;
- Lessons learned and recommendations;
- Project close-out checklist; and
Documenting project review data is not enough — you must share the project successes and lessons learned with others in your organization. Consider adding this information to your project management procedure. Use your project close-out report — establish or continue your knowledge management process — so the lessons learned are there for the benefit of future projects.
At this point, you know the final 3 phases of project management and your project management event is complete but your project management process is ready for the next project.