Project Phases

Successful projects follow a disciplined process and path to prevent them from leading to oblivion.


A Process Approach to Managing Projects

In racing car driving, activities follow a tried and tested sequence. Any attempt to shortcut the process will most likely lead to a crashed car and a lost race. The same is true for managing projects. There is a sequence that needs to be followed if the project is to be successful. This sequence and a short description of each phase in the project management process are described here.

Figure 1 – Project Management Phases

Project Management Phase Diagram


In this first project management phase, the preliminary work is done to clarify the problem or opportunity and how a solution would look. All interested parties (the project stakeholders) are consulted and the project scope – what is in and what is out – is clarified as well as initial costings and timelines.


Here, more work is done to determine whether the proposed project will be of real benefit to the organization. If it is, the project is approved and more detailed planning starts. Business benefits, project objectives, requirements, governance, scope and project management methodology are agreed. The Project Manager draws up the detailed project schedule and task and budget allocations.


This is where the nuts and bolts work actually gets done. Project stakeholders are interviewed to ascertain the detailed requirements, possible solutions are discussed and one decided upon. Next, the solution is designed, built and finally implemented. Project management activities in this phase also include managing the project budget and schedule, reporting project progress, communicating with stakeholders and responding to project risks, issues and proposed changes.


The purpose of this final phase is to determine whether the project was a success and what learnings can be gleaned and applied to future projects. Project evaluation is typically conducted in order to answer three questions. Firstly, did the project deliver on time, within budget and to scope and quality requirements? Secondly, were project stakeholders and project team members satisfied with the project? Thirdly, did the project achieve the envisaged business benefits?

Adhering to the project phases ensures that everything is done in the right order. This way, quality is checked and management approvals are gained before the next piece of work is started. Rework is minimized, saving frustration and costs all round.

Expert View Author: AIMM MAITD

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Learn more about project phases and how you can use them effectively in your project with our down to earth guide. Whether you are new to project management or have some experience, you will find plenty of valuable tips for making your next project a success.

A Guide to Project Management

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A Guide to Project Management

Check out our down to earth introductory guide to managing projects.

A Guide to Project Management

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