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What are the Five Stages of Project Management?

by Melanie Peterson

Project management is one of the most essential practises of a business, ideally as a skillset possessed by business owners and other important employees. It is concerned with the ability for employees to achieve business objectives (usually for clients) within a certain time frame. 

Due to the complexity of organising multiple employees and their tasks at once, businesses usually invest in a project manager to help smooth out the entire process. In order for a project manager to practise effective project management, they must be experienced in the five stages of project management.

1. Initiation

The initiation stage of project management is concerned with the start of a business case, whereby extensive market research must be completed in order to judge the feasibility and success rate if the project was to be undertaken in the first place. This stage usually involves important stakeholders, who based on the research done by the business, will decide whether or not to go ahead with the project.

In cases where a project is approved, project managers will need to make a project initiation document (or PID) which details the purpose and processes of the project. A PID will take into account the role of business owners, employees and stakeholders.

2. Planning

Building on from a PID is the finalised roadmap for a project – determining the appropriate time span of a project, who needs to be involved and the resources required amongst other factors. In order to create a successful plan, project managers begin with setting goals to work out how best to achieve them.

While planning a project, project managers may need to create scope statements (which clearly defines the goals of a project), work breakdown schedules, communication plans and risk management strategies. Such documents and plans will all work together to ensure team members stay on track and a project can be completed successfully.

3. Execution

As the name implies, this stage of the five in project management involves the development and completion of a project. During this stage, businesses will need to execute on their plan created previously.

To help the execution stage run smoothly, businesses may need to hold regular status meetings to keep team members on the same page, create task assignment and organisation systems, as well as assign resources. Project managers and team members also need to understand that while they may be directed to execute according to a plan, there also needs to be a degree of flexibility in case unexpected problems arise.

4. Performance monitoring

While executing project plans, it is also necessary for a project manager to be measuring project progressive and performance. Using key performance indicators (KPIs), project managers will monitor the work of team members during this stage. Common KPIs used during the performance monitoring stage include:

  • Project objectives (scheduling tasks)
  • Quality deliverables (if the results are of high standards)
  • Cost tracking (budgeting)
  • Project performance (the rate of changes made during a project).

5. Closure

Whether successful or not, a project must always be officially closed in order to evaluate performance levels and learn from any failures. Project losures often involve a ‘post mortem’ meeting, where team members and project managers involved in the project get together to discuss the success or failure of the project. 

A final project budget and report is created during this stage to bring the project to a close. All resources used or created for the project also need to be recorded and stored some place safe.

Want to learn more about project management? At Pacific Training Group, we offer professional educational courses in project management to help students learn the ins and outs of the five stages of project management, as well as many other important aspects to the industry!

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