project development stages

Project Development stages

The project development stages are simply steps taken in running a project from start to completion.

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 to business needs. Any deficiency should be reported and a recommendation be made to fix them. The initiation stage should include a plan that covers the following areas:

  • Analyzing the business needs/requirements is measurable goals;
  • Review of current operation
  • Conceptual design of the operation of the final product;
  • Equipment and contracting requirements including an assessment of long lead time items.
  • Financial analysis of the costs and benefits including a budget
  • Stakeholders analysis, including users and support personnel for the project
  • Project charter 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 it may occur concurrently. Controls should be in place to ensure that the final product will meet the specifications of the project. The result of the design stage should include product design that:

  • Satisfies the project sponsor, end-user, and business requirements
  • Functions as it was invented
  • Can be produced within acceptable quality standards
  • Can be produced within time and budget constraints.

Executing

Executing consists of the process used to complete the work defined in the project management plan to accomplish the projects requirements. Executing 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 products are created as outputs from the processes performed as defined in the project management plan.

Monitoring and Controlling:

Monitoring and controlling consists of the process performed to observe project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action taken, when necessary, to control the execution of the project. The key benefit is the project performed is observed and measured regularly to identify variances (discrepancies) from the project management plan, Monitoring and controlling includes:

  • Measuring the ongoing project activities (Where we are)
  • Monitoring the project variables (cost, effort, scope etc.) against the project management plan and the project performance baseline (where we should be)
  • Identify corrective actions to address issues and risk properly;
  • Influence the factors that could construct integrated change control so only approved changes are implemented

In multi-phase projects, the monitoring and controlling process also provides feedback between project phase, 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 that includes: continuous support of end-users, correction of errors, and updates of the software.

Closing:

Closing includes the formal acceptance of the project and the ending at that point. Administrative activities include the archiving of the files and documenting lessons learned. This phase consists of:

  • Project close: finalize all activities across all the process groups to formally close the process or a project phase;
  • Contract closure: complete and settle each contract (including the resolution of any open items) and close each contract applicable to the project or project phase.

Project control systems:

Project control is that element of a project that keeps it on-track and within budget. Project control begins early in the project with planning and ends late in the project with post-implementation review, having a through involvement of each step in the process. Each project should be assessed for the appropriate level of control needed: too much control is too time consuming; too little control is very risky.

Project Management Factors

The following are some terms used in project management

Project managers:

A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers are responsible for the planning, execution, and closing of any project, typically relating to construction industry, architecture, computer networking, telecommunications or software development. Many other projects in the productions field, design and industries have project managers. A project managers responsibility includes

  • Creating clear and attainable project objectives
  • Building the project requirements
  • Management of triple constraint for projects (cost, scope and time)
  • Represents the client in the project to ensure the needs are taken well into consideration based on knowledge of the firm they are representing.

Project management Triangle

Like any human undertaking, projects need to be performed and delivered under certain constrains. Traditionally, these constraints have been listed as scope, time and cost. These are also referred to as the Project Management Triangle, where each side represents a constraint. One side of the triangle cannot be changed without affecting the others. A further refinement of the constraints separates product quality or performance from scope, and turns into four constraints.

  • Time constraint: this refers to the amount of time available to complete a project.
  • Cost Constrain: this refers to the budget amount available for the project
  • Scope constraint: the scope refers to what must be done to product the projects end result.

These constrains are very important in the life of a project for instance increasing the scope means increase the time and the Cost as well.

Milestone

Milestones are tools used in project management to mark specific points along a project timeline. This can be the start date of a project end date or other important external event that can come up while the project is carried out.

Lead time:

Lead time is the amount of time whereby a successor activity can be advanced with respect to a predecessor activity. For example, if a task can start when its predecessor is half finished, you can specify a finish-to-start dependency with a lead time for the successor task.

Lag time:

Lag time is a delay between tasks that have a dependency. Example building a house, those building a house needs to wait for blocks from the molders to dry up before the actual building or construction can begin.

Program Evolution and Review Technique (PERT)

This is a useful management tool for planning coordinating and controlling large, complex projects such as formulating of a master budget, installation of computers and scheduling of the closing of books. PERT involves the diagrammatical representation of the sequence of activities of activities comprising a project by means of network consisting of arrows and circles(nodes). Arrows represent task “task” or “activities” which are distinct segments of the projects representing the completion of one or more activities and/or the initiation of one or more subsequent activities.

An event is a point in time and does not consume any time in itself as does an activity. An important aspect of PERT is Critical Path Method (CPM). A path is a sequence of connected activities thus a Critical Path is the path that takes the longest period of time. In other to know the critical path we need to calculate the earliest time and the latest time for each event.

The earliest time is the time an event will occur if all preceding activities are started as early as possible while latest time is the time an event can occur without delaying the project beyond the deadline.

Gantt chart

A Gantt chart is a type of bar chat that illustrates a project schedule. This project tool illustrates the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summery elements of a project. Terminals elements and summary elements comprise the work break down structure of a project.

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