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Early Stages of Project Management

by Adam Smith
Project Management

Proper project management is important to ensure that your business operations proceed smoothly. With an established well-thought plan, you will be able to deliver your project on time exceeding your client’s expectations. A quality output cannot be achieved without a structured organization.

Developing project management strategies is not easy, and it is impractical to have them prepared in a few days. Without hands-on team building activities and training, it is reasonably infeasible to reach the level of organization as major companies. 

Suppose your company recognizes the urgent need for engineering project management. The best way to accomplish this goal is with the help of project management toolkits. Coupled with joining professional workshops that mold every unit in your organizational structure to fulfill their roles, your business’ action plans will be more concise for future operations. 

If you aren’t convinced yet, here are the accentuated stages of project management so that you will understand how each process can effectively bring you one step closer to success.

Initiation: Outlining tasks, setting milestones, listing limitations

Usually, when a client approaches a company for a commission or a project, they will only tell you the rough description of the outcome that they wish to receive. For instance, as a software engineering firm, you will have to create software requirement specifications for you to thoroughly understand what are the technical requirements needed by your client. In this case, your company has to regularly discuss with your patron every little detail that they want to be included or excluded from the overall design.

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In the initial stages of engineering project management, the following processes are conducted:

  • Defining the scope and project cost. As professionals, you are hired individuals who provide services for a price. You set high-quality standards and produce results that increase your value; thus, you have to negotiate the cost of the project, including labor and other business-related fees. Once you’ve discussed the extent of work that you are supposed to handle, you may proceed to the next step.
  • Separating tasks into project deliverables. To provide a quality project on time, your organization should be able to work separately in teams, working on different sets of tasks that can be centralized at the end of the project life cycle. Each team is given an allotted time to work on their deliverable, and all these deliverables are listed down alongside their estimated work period, also known as the Gantt chart. The Gantt chart is usually done after the initiation stage of the project management process.
  • Creating a work breakdown structure. A work breakdown structure defines the hierarchy of deliverables that were generated in the previous step. This diagram usually resembles a pyramid or tree, wherein larger deliverable branches into smaller tasks. Each of these small nodes is worked on by different teams, has separate budgets, and specific time frames.

Proposition: Risk and Communication Management, and Gantt Charts

If the first phase to proper project management is to initiate the outlines of the project, the second step is to propose to the client your company’s approach or solution to their presented case. Thus, all the rough deliverables and draft work breakdown structure will be further developed in as much detail as possible. Further steps to meet the project’s objectives will be laid out for the organization members and the patron to observe and understand.

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Your project scope might be adjusted at this stage because you will be proposing your solution to the client. If they think that you are taking too much time, they can opt to pay you more to have the project delivered at an earlier date. Suppose they also think that the project is too costly. At this juncture, they can also consider removing a few features or downscaling the project objectives to meet the budget constraints. Thus, this is usually the stage wherein necessary negotiations will occur.

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