University of Phoenix
According to Harold Kerzner (2009), “Project management is the planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of company resources for a relatively short-term objective that has been established to complete specific goals and objectives” (Ch.1, para.7). A project is a work assignment that contains multiple parts, or tasks, with each task having clearly defined goals. Projects may be completed by individuals or by a group of individuals making up a team. Project planning has a clear goal, budget, and performance expectations, which make up a detailed plan of action. Though there are more detailed requirements for every project, this basic outline of a clear goal, budget, and performance can be used to determine whether a project is successful or not. Project management is an important element to every organization because it provides a detailed plan of action for employees to follow in order to achieve organizational goals.
Phases of the Project Life Cycle There are four main phases to the project life cycle, each with its own underlying requirements. These phases include initiation, planning, execution, and closure. The first phase, initiation, involves identifying the problem an organization is facing, as well as identifying possible solutions to the problem. It is in this phase that ideas are gathered and the foundation is laid for a project. Also determined during the initiation phase is whether the project is feasible. Several considerations are made to determine whether the project should actually be pursued. Some of these considerations include estimating the amount of time the project will need, the amount of staff necessary, and what equipment is needed to bring the project to completion. Costs are also estimated, as well as whether or not the organization will ultimately benefit from undertaking the project. By analyzing these potential requirements, organizational management can determine whether pursuing a given project will ultimately be to the benefit or detriment of the organization. The second phase of the project life cycle is the planning phase. It is in this phase that all requirements for the project are clearly defined. This phase is very detailed, and consists of creating up to ten plans or steps to assist in preparing the project for the execution phase. These plans or steps include a project plan, resource plan, financial plan, quality plan, risk plan, acceptance plan, communications plan, procurement plan, contracting suppliers, and a phase review. According to Elle Smith (2014), “This phase identifies and defines the project's costs, scope, risks, opportunities and constraints” (para. 4). Essentially, the planning phase is the most important phase of the project lifestyle because it provides all the details of the project and gives all involved a clear set of instructions and requirements for the project. The third phase of the project life cycle is the execution phase. In this phase, the project’s actual tasks are performed and produce deliverables. Deliverables are defined by Kerzner (2009) as “…outputs, or the end result of either the completion of the project or the end of a life-cycle phase of the project” (Ch.1, para.8). Deliverables come in the form of either hardware deliverables, software deliverables, or interim deliverables. Hardware deliverables can be any physical item, like a prototype or any tangible object that is produced during the execution phase. Software deliverables are usually reports, studies, or any other form of documentation regarding the project. Interim deliverables are either hardware or software and usually change as the project goes on. An example of an interim deliverable is a weekly status report, which is likely to evolve from week to week as the project moves forward. The execution phase is the actual act of putting the first two phases to