Achieving Results with Project Management – Part 4
Is it a program?
This term can describe to different situations. First, or program can be a set of goals that gives rise to specific projects, but, unlike a project, you can never accomplish disorder programme completely.
For example, a health awareness program can never completely achieve its goal, since the general public will never be totally aware of the health issues emanating from the result of the project.
In most cases however, a program can be seen as a controlled set of projects that need to be coordinated in some way. Perhaps it is a strategic programme to change the highway the organisation works, or perhaps is a group of projects with significant interdependencies that will need to be managed to finish at the same time.
Be aware also that a process is not a project.
A process is a series of routine steps to perform a particular function, such as a procurement process or a budget process.
A process is not a one-time activity that achieves a specific result, instead, it defines how you do a particular function every time. Processes such as the activities that go into buying materials are often parts of projects.
The four stages of a project
The names of the four stages can vary, but the ones I’m using here are fairly understood within the project management community. Be aware that these four stages are: one after the other:
Starting the project
This stage involves generating, a value eight in and framing the business need for the project and the general approach to performing it, and agreeing to prepare in the next stage, a detailed project plan.
Outputs or deliverables from this stage may include approval to proceed to the next stage, documentation of the need for the project, and rough estimates of Time &Resources to perform it, and an initial list of people who may be interested in, involved with, or are fitted by the project
Initiating the project
This is where you organize and prepare. This stage involves developing a plan that specifies the desired results, that is:
- The work to do
- The time
- The cost
- What are the resources required
- A plan for how to address key project risks
Outputs from this stage include a project plan documenting the intended project results and the time, resources and supporting processes to help create them, along with all the other controls that the project needs, such as for risk management
This is carrying out the work. This stage involves performing the planned work, monitoring and controlling performance to ensure adherence to the current plan, and doing the more detailed planning of successive stages as the project continues.
Outputs from this stage may include project progress reports, financial reports and other detailed plans (such as a plan for the next stage)
Closing the project
This stage involves assessing the project results, obtaining customer approvals, assigning project team members to a new work, and closing financial accounts and conducting a post project evaluation.
Outputs and the stage may include final, accepted and approved project results and recommendations and suggestions for applying lessons learned from this project to similar future project efforts
For small simple projects, this entire for stage lifecycle may only take a few days. For larger projects however, they may take the several years.