Understanding the Four Project Stages - dummies

By Nick Graham

Part of Project Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Every project, whether large or small, passes through four stages of project management. It’s important that you get a handle on these four key areas.

  • Starting the Project: This stage involves generating, evaluating and framing the business need for the project and the general approach to performing it, and agreeing to prepare a detailed Project Plan. Outputs from this stage may include approval to proceed to the next stage, documentation of the need for the project, and rough estimates of time and resources to perform it, and an initial list of people who may be interested in, involved with or affected by the project.

  • Organising and Preparing: This stage involves developing a plan that specifies the desired results: the work to do; the time, the cost and other resources required; and 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.

  • 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 phases as the project continues. Outputs from this stage may include project progress reports, financial reports and further detailed plans.

  • Closing the Project: This stage involves assessing the project results, obtaining customer approvals, assigning project team members to new work, closing financial accounts and conducting a post-project evaluation. Outputs from this stage may include final, accepted and approved project results and recommendations and suggestions for applying lessons learned from this project to similar efforts in the future.