In a recent post, 5 Top Reasons Your Startup Needs A Project Management Tool, we gleaned detailed insights on how incorporating project management tools could be an essential element to propel your startup into scalable height.
Entrepreneurs have to adapt to several perks to take their organization to a new level. Unfortunately, some business owners, especially those at the outset of setting their business off the ground, overlook the essence of understanding the project management lifecycle.
The project management lifecycle is fundamental for driving your startup to optimal success. Disregarding the size of any project, its complexity, and the team working on it, an understanding of the project management lifecycle is paramount to ensure you achieve goals.
This post defines a project management life cycle and how you can conceptualize it in your startup’s operation. Consequently, it will be more elementary to control your projects and the quality of the output.
Understanding Project Management Lifecycle For Your Startup
The project management lifecycle describes everything that entails a successful project delivery. That is, from the birth of an idea to its completion. Unfortunately, successfully planning and running projects can be an overwhelming endeavor to any startup’s operation.
Therefore, It’s reasonable for project managers and entrepreneurs to create a robust and systematic approach to manage the entire scope of any project. Put it in another way; it’s easier to handle any project by breaking it down into phases that ultimately make up the project management lifecycle. In turn, it will be more viable to execute tasks, mitigate risks and predict change.
In sum, the project management lifecycle of a project consists of five distinct phases, initiation, planning, execution, monitoring or control, and closure. Let’s take a comprehensive look at each stage.
As the name gives it away, project initiation is the first phase of the project management lifecycle where you have to turn an idea into a relevant goal. Next, project managers provide a solid background to the project idea, an overview of the project, and the strategies required to achieve the necessary results. All these play a crucial part in determining the project’s value and viability.
Project managers have to create a business case to prove the essence of the project and a feasibility study highlighting how to execute the project with the available resources. Still, a business case and feasibility study aren’t the only things to consider in this phase, but once you define them, the rest will conform straightforwardly.
So what does this mean for your startup? First, this is the phase to understand your customers’ and stakeholders’ requirements and objectives. Then, with the business case document, you can figure out the need of the project and the potential benefits your startup will garner.
Next, evaluate the project’s goals, how long it will take, and in general, the resources required to execute the project. Is pursuing the project coherent with the available resources? You are not required to present the exact figures to your stakeholders, but an overview and predicted costs. If the proposed project seems unprofitable or unfeasible, it would be best to abandon it. On the other hand, you can assign a project team and initiate the planning phase if the project appears lucrative.
Upon approval to move forward with the project, it’s vital to lay out the project’s roadmap. First, project managers have to draft plans to guide their team through the subsequent phases. In a nutshell, project managers have to figure out the technical requirements, create a detailed project schedule, list of activities, dependencies, communication plans, possible risks, and all the components involved in the execution of the project.
As you can imagine, project planning is the most complex phase of the project management lifecycle. There are several documents you have to draft when creating a project plan. Also, project managers have to develop a work breakdown structure (WBS ).
The essence of project planning is to offer direction for producing quality outputs, create schedules, assign tasks to your startup’s employees, devise a communication plan with all parties involved (team members, customers, investors ), and handle risks. Most importantly, you have to be ready to make some changes as the project is underway,
Project execution is the stage where your startup employees or team gets the work done. Your priority as a startup owner is to ensure efficient workflow, keep the team focused, and monitor your employees’ progress. Therefore, this phase is associated chiefly with project management.
Team members have to execute the tasks and milestones highlighted in the planning phase to produce deliverables that satisfy customers. Additionally, project managers must ensure consistent and effective collaboration between all parties involved.
Project execution is a critical phase since it determines whether a project will succeed or not. Effective practices such as adequately reallocating resources, identifying and mitigating risks, incorporating appropriate changes, and constant communication will go a long way in ensuring the project runs smoothly.
Project Monitoring and Control
In some instances, project monitoring and control can be covered under the execution phase. Nevertheless, this phase involves monitoring the project’s progress to ensure no delays and exceeding the allocated budget. Needless to say, for a project to do well, it needs constant supervision.
Project managers and entrepreneurs can ensure they monitor the progress of their project or company and that everything is on track. While at it, consider measuring the appropriate key performance indicators to achieve objectives effectively within the allotted time, cost, and scope, and don’t go off track as planned.
Project closure or the follow-up phase is the final phase of the project management lifecycle. It shows the end of the project after the final delivery. First, your startup has to release and deliver the finished product/service to its customer. Then, upon approval, you can wrap all the activities related to the project, conduct analyses, finalize documentation and sign off on everything.
Also, this would be the best opportunity for project managers and their team members to hold a reflection meeting and evaluate lessons learned while handling the project. Consequently, use the mistakes and successes to prepare for future tasks. This is essential in enhancing your startup’s productivity.
Understanding the project management lifecycle for your startup will go a long way in ensuring you can seamlessly tackle the most complex tasks better, faster, and more efficiently with the available resources. But, more importantly, it would be best to have the right project management tools to simplify the above phases for each project.