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The Project Management Process Explained

The way we manage our projects can make or break them. It’s not enough to simply have a good idea, you need to make sure that you can execute it too. One sure-fire way of helping you do this is by implementing a project management process. 

This guide takes a look at some of the most tried and tested ways you can manage your projects. Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at what a project management process actually is. Well, the clue’s in the name; it’s a way of controlling and overseeing a project, to secure the desired outcome. 

The five key phases of the project management process are:

  1. Initiation 
  2. Planning
  3. Execution 
  4. Monitoring / Controlling
  5. Completion

Using a project planning tool like Verto 365 will help you manage your project from start to finish, offering a range of tools to help you on your way. Learn more about it here – Why Verto 365?

What are the 5 Stages of Project Management?

Phase 1: Initiation

The first stage of the project management process transforms your idea into a meaningful goal. During this stage of the process you’ll need to justify your project from a business perspective and create a business case.

Consider the example of a chocolate manufacturer who would like to introduce a vegan range of products. During the initiation stage, they would need to prove there’s a demand for it. 

You’ll also need to make sure that the product is feasible. Though you should not get too caught up in the logistics and technicalities (as that will all come later), but you will need to make sure that you can finance it. 

Once you’ve made your business case, and proved its feasibility, you’ll need to create a project charter document. The project charter document should include details such as; potential barriers, goals, budget, stakeholders, and predicted timeline. You’ll also need to assign a project manager. 

Phase 2: Project Planning   

This phase is where you’ll get into details of the project. Planning is an integral part of the project management process, and is, arguably. is the most important step. As you know what they say – fail to plan, plan to fail. 

The primary tasks in the planning phase will include; identifying the technical and logistical requirements, producing a project schedule, setting up communication channels, and pinning down your project goals and deliverables.  Attention to detail is absolutely vital here. 

There are lots of ways you can establish the goals of the project. However, two of the most popular ways of doing so are by using S.M.A.R.T and C.L.E.A.R goals.

SMART stands for; 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely 

Smart goals are ideal for bringing a sense of direction and clarity to the project. Not only that, but they can fuel motivation, and clarify the importance of each task too. 

The second acronym; CLEAR, stands for;

  • Collaborative
  • Limited
  • Emotional
  • Appreciable
  • Redefinable

This approach often appeals to the dynamic and fast-paced nature of some workplaces, and allows for flexibility. Using either method is guaranteed to maximise your chances of success. 

This stage of the project management process will also require you to undertake some risk mitigation research. You’ll need to make sure you have assessed all the potential risks, and then plan for them accordingly.

Expect the unexpected. It’s definitely worth planning for unpredictable events too. As the project progresses, you may find that you need to adapt or change the plan slightly. To be best prepared for this, you should include an effective change management plan. 

Phase 3: Project Execution  

This phase of the project management process will see the idea and the planning come to life. You may want to have a meeting with everyone involved to kick-start the project and drum up some excitement. 

You will also want to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and knows exactly what their role is. You can set expectations and assign accountability. This will help the project run smoothly and efficiently. 

Once that’s been done, you can set up tracking systems, update project schedules, assign resources, and hold regular updates as you go along. The execution phase of the project management process often works in conjunction with the next phase… 

Phase 4: Project Monitoring & Controlling

This phase of the process is all about making sure that everything is going according to plan, and that the project goals are being met (or are at least on track to be). 

You can use a few different methods of ensuring this, but two of the most commonly used are Key Performance Indicators (KPI), or Critical Success Factors (CSF).  

These are a helpful way of measuring performance over time, and can help the project manager assess the effectiveness of both group and individual work. They can also help the project manager make better informed decisions, and re-assess areas of the project if needs be.  

During the project monitoring and controlling stage, it’s a good idea for the project manager to take a look at the finances too, to ensure that nothing is running over budget. 

Phase 5: Project Completion

The final stage of your project management process will be completion, signalling the wrapping up of the project.

During this phase it’s a good idea to hold a meeting with everyone who’s been involved. This will give you the opportunity to not only thank everyone, but evaluate what went well, and what could have gone better. Assessing your wins and losses will help you massively in future projects. 

This stage will also see any contractors that were brought on to help with the project let go, as well as any paperwork finalised. 

If the project was a significantly big one, you may even want to host a small work event to celebrate its completion. 

For our full take on project completion, check out our Complete Guide to Project Completion.

Enhance Your Project Management Process 

Verto 365 is ideal for making sure you’re in control, organised and informed throughout every stage of the project management process, with features such as; 

Our partnership with Microsoft Teams gives you all the power of two systems under one roof. The end result? Effortless integration and collaboration. 

With Verto 365, all your work is centralised – from project documents, to schedules, to task list. So you don’t need to worry about people not having the right access, out of date-documents, or using multiple services.

You can use Verto 365 for all your reporting and data tracking needs too. As the reports will be run in real-time, and all the information will be up-to-date and accurate. This is useful, particularly during the project execution and monitoring phases. 

So, as you can see, there’s no doubt about it that an effective, cloud-based system like Verto 365 is perfect for all of your project management needs. But hey – don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself with our unlimited free trial.

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About the author – Laura Watts

Laura is the Marketing Manager at TMI Systems Ltd., working predominantly on Verto 365 and closely on the Microsoft partnership enabling the platform to be used in its entirety from Microsoft Teams. Laura and her family moved from London in 2021 and now live and work in Gloucestershire.