July 31, 2010

Stages in the Project Development- A Stepwise approach to Project Management

Planning Process Group Activities

Project development stages

Traditionally, project development includes a number of elements: four to five stages, and a control system. Regardless of the methodology used, the project development process will have the same major stages:
initiation,
planning or development,
production or execution,
monitoring and controlling, and
closing.
In project environments with a significant exploratory element e.g. in Research and development these stages may be supplemented with decision points (go/no go decisions) at which the project's continuation is debated and decided. An example is the Stage-Gate model

Initiation The initiation stage determines the nature and scope of the development. If this stage is not performed well, it is unlikely that the project will be successful in meeting the business’s needs. The key project controls needed here are an understanding of the business environment and making sure that all necessary controls are incorporated into the project. Any deficiencies should be reported and a recommendation should be made to fix them.

The initiation stage should include a cohesive plan that encompasses the following areas:
Study analyzing the business needs in measurable goals.
Review of the current operations.
Conceptual design of the operation of the final product.
Equipment and contracting requirements including an assessment of 'long-lead' items.
Financial analysis of the costs and benefits including a budget.
Stakeholder analysis, including users, and support personnel for the project.
Project charter including costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedule.
Planning and design
After the initiation stage, the system is designed. Occasionally, a small prototype of the final product is built and tested. Testing is generally performed by a combination of testers and end users, and can occur after the prototype is built or concurrently. Controls should be in place that ensure that the final product will meet the specifications of the project charter. The results of the design stage should include a product design that:
Satisfies the project sponsor, end user, and business requirements.
Functions as it was intended.
Can be produced within quality standards.
Can be produced within time and budget constraints.
Political and social suitability of the project should be considered first

Executing
Executing consists of the processes used to complete the work defined in the project management plan to accomplish the project's requirements. Execution process involves coordinating people and resources, as well as integrating and performing the activities of the project in accordance with the project management plan. The deliverables are produced as outputs from the processes performed as defined in the project management plan.


Monitoring and Controlling
Monitoring and Controlling consists of those processes performed to observe project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken, when necessary, to control the execution of the project. The key benefit is that project performance is observed and measured regularly to identify variances from the project management plan.

Monitoring and Controlling includes:
Measuring the ongoing project activities (where we are);
Monitoring the project variables (cost, effort, ...) against the project management plan and the project performance baseline (where we should be);
Identify corrective actions to properly address issues and risks (How can we get on track again);
Influencing the factors that could circumvent integrated change control so only approved changes are implemented
In multi-phase projects, the Monitoring and Controlling process also provides feedback between project phases, in order to implement corrective or preventive actions to bring the project into compliance with the project management plan.

Project Maintenance is an ongoing process, and it includes:
Continuing support of end users
Correction of errors
Updates of the software over time
In this stage, auditors should pay attention to how effectively and quickly user problems are resolved.

Over the course of any construction project, the work scope changes. Change is a normal and expected part of the construction process. Changes can be the result of necessary design modifications, differing site conditions, material availability, contractor-requested changes, value engineering and impacts from third parties, to name a few. Beyond executing the change in the field, the change normally needs to be documented to show what was actually constructed. This is referred to as Change Management. Hence, the owner usually requires a final record to show all changes or, more specifically, any change that modifies the tangible portions of the finished work. The record is made on the contract documents – usually, but not necessarily limited to, the design drawings. The end product of this effort is what the industry terms as-built drawings, or more simply, “asbuilts.” The requirement for providing them is a norm in construction contracts.

When changes are introduced to the project the viability of the project has to be assessed again. It is important not to lose sight of the initial goals and targets of the projects. When the changes accumulate, the forecasted end result may not justify the proposed investment.

Closing
Closing includes the formal acceptance of the project and the ending thereof. Administrative activities include the archiving of the files and documenting lessons learned. Closing phase consist of two parts:
Close project: to finalize all activities across all of the process groups to formally close the project or a project phase
Contract closure: necessary for completing and settling each contract, including the resolution of any open items, and closing each contract applicable to the project or a project phase.


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Tomboy

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