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Aligning Bid and Project Management for Bid Managers

Bijoy Raj Guha

Project phases: An overview 

Project phase is a period that a project goes through during its life cycle (usually, it is a collection  of logically related activities culminating in the attainment of a major milestone). Generally, we  can work with five project phases: 

  1. Initiation and Definition 
  2. Planning and Design 
  3. Executing 
  4. Monitoring and Controlling 
  5. Closing 

The phases and their flow/dependency are depicted in the following picture.

Project phases: Descriptions 

 

Initiation and Definition 

In the Initiation and Definition phase, the objectives of the project are agreed upon, the  scope of the project is established, the initial organization is defined, responsibilities are  assigned, and the assessment of situational factors is documented.  

Purpose of the Phase: 

  1. Define project activities that will help to avoid project false starts. 
  2. Ensure that everyone is moving in the right direction when they start working on the  project.  
  3. Create the Project Charter to ensure that the project sponsor and key stakeholder’s  commitments and endorsements have been gained before significant effort and cost is  expended.  
  4. Conduct a Project Definition workshop that helps to formalize the understanding of the  project. 
  5. Understand and communicate the project organization and assign project  responsibilities. 

Key outputs from the phase: 

  1. Project Charter 
  2. Project Definition  
  3. Team Charter (initial) 
  4. Communication Plan (initial) 

The Defining phase is complete when: 

  1. Agreement is reached on the objectives of the project. 
  2. Scope of the project is established. 
  3. Initial organization is defined.
  4. Responsibilities are assigned.  
  5. The project is authorized.

Planning and Design 

In the Planning and Design phase, objectives are refined and actions to achieve them are  planned, detailed work and Risk Management Plans are developed, the organization is  confirmed, staff assignments are made, and the budget and time frame are agreed upon. No  significant amount of resources is expended on the project that is, execution does not begin  until clear plans are in place and authorization to proceed has been received at the end of  this phase.  

Purpose of the Phase: 

  1. Define, fix, and document final project specifications/requirements. 
  2. Decompose the project into manageable components that is, answering questions  regarding deliverables, work products like the Product Breakdown Structure (PBS),  activities like the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and resources/people in the form  of the Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS). 
  3. Estimate project schedules and costs. 
  4. Create project baselines like time, cost, and scope that serve as the foundation for  Executing and Controlling, and can be changed only through the change management  process.  
  5. Define and approve the Project Schedule/Plan including deliverables, milestones,  activities, tasks, assignment of resources, costs, and so on. 
  6. Minimize negative impact of risks on the project by their identification, analyzing, and  planning. 

Key outputs from the phase: 

  1. Breakdown structures like PBS, WBS, and OBS 
  2. Baselines like costs, scope, and time 
  3. Project Schedule/Plan 
  4. Risk Management Plan 

The Planning phase is complete when: 

  1. Objectives have been refined.  
  2. Actions to achieve these objectives have been planned.  
  3. Detailed work and Risk Plans have been created.  
  4. Organization has been confirmed. 
  5. Resource assignments have been made. 

Executing 

In the Executing phase, plans and controls are used to execute and manage the project as  project development and delivery work is performed. This phase is usually run in parallel  with the Controlling phase. As work proceeds, plans are expanded or refined as necessary. 

Purpose of the Phase: 

Ensure that project activities are performed. 

Create project deliverables. 

Set-up and enforce project procedures and processes. For example, change  management and issue management. 

  1. Coordinate people and resources. 
  2. Review and approve deliverables. 
  3. Manage meetings. 
  4. Coordinate business reviews and checkpoints. 
  5. Manage stakeholder expectations. 
  6. Ensure progress reporting. 

Key outputs from the phase:  

  1. Project Status Reports 
  2. Logs like Change logs, risk log, issue log, and fault log 
  3. Meeting minutes  

The Executing phase is complete when: 

  1. Plans and controls are used to execute and manage the project delivery. 
  2. Project development and delivery work is performed. 

Monitoring and controlling 

In the Monitoring and Controlling phase, project progress is measured and compared  against the Project Plan to identify variances so that corrective action can be taken when  necessary. As work proceeds, Project Plans are expanded or refined as necessary. 

Purpose of the Phase: 

  1. Track the project. 
  2. Perform exception management like change management, issue management, risk  management, and fault management. 
  3. Understand and identify areas where corrective action is needed. 
  4. Design, approve, and implement corrective action options. For example, adding  resources or time, reducing the deliverables or scope, reallocating resources, and  reprioritizing and re-sequencing work. 
  5. Discover that the project is in trouble as early as possible. 

Key outputs from the phase:  

  1. Project Control Book (PCB) 
  2. Project Management Reviews 

The Controlling phase is complete when:  

  1. Progress has been measured to identify variances. 
  2. Corrective action has been taken when necessary. 
  3. Plans are expanded or refined when necessary.

Closing 

In the Closing phase, agreement is gained from the sponsor to close the project, the project  is closed, and the Project Evaluation Report is produced. This report includes Lessons  Learned that can be applied to future projects to increase their probability of success. 

Purpose of the Phase: 

  1. Verify that all the project commitments have been met. 
  2. Complete and update all documentation. 
  3. Identify and document all intellectual capital.  
  4. Release the technical environment.  
  5. Complete the customer satisfaction survey. 
  6. Collect and document the lessons learned, as part of the Project Evaluation Report. g) Close the sponsor agreement. 

Key outputs from the phase:  

  1. Project Management Review (final) 
  2. Project Evaluation Report 

The Closing phase is complete when:  

  1. Formal acceptance of the final result has been gained. 
  2. Formal close of the project has happened. 

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