A project can be defined as a series of steps needed to accomplish a specific goal. There are some deliverables for each project. The deliverables refer to the outcomes that are achieved when a project is completed. They can be a product, a service, or just a feature. Each one has a specified timeline, and it has to be completed within that time. It can either be small or large, and can be divided into multiple subprojects. It is always temporary and must end at some time.
A project can be defined as a way to accomplish or achieve defined outcomes. It defines a series of small steps that lead to a particular product or service. There can not be completed in a single step and must be broken down into smaller tasks. It can be either large or small based on its size and scope. Furthermore, it can be completed by a single person or hundreds of people according to its size.
The cost, time, and scope of the project are depended upon each other. There is a trade-off between three of these. If it has a large scope, it will take more time to complete and cost more. If it is small, it will take less time to complete and will cost less. The time and cost are increased with scope.
A project has the following characteristics:
A Pre-Defined Timeline
Before a project team starts working, all the timelines must be specified. These timelines include when it starts, what tasks will be completed, how much time is needed, and when the project is expected to end. In a nutshell, there should be a task plan that specifies the starting and ending dates and timeline for a project. If a company fails to deliver it within the specified time, it can lose it to another company.
A Unique Deliverable
Every project must deliver something unique, no matter what it delivers. It should offer something new to its users or customers.
A Defined Scope, Time, and Cost
Each project has a defined scope. The scope refers to the range within which the deliverables will be applicable. Similarly, it has a defined period within which it should be completed and a defined budget. If the budget is low, the scope will become smaller.
A project has a life cycle. There are five stages in a project’s lifecycle, which are as follows:
- Monitoring and Controlling
Let’s have a look at each phase briefly:
Project Initiation is the initial stage. In this phase, the project manager launches it while proving its importance and value. He also ensures that the project is feasible, i.e., it is possible to achieve the desired outcomes within the given time and cost.
The deliverable of this phase is a Project Charter. It is a document that explains what a project is going to deliver. When it is in this phase, a kick-off meeting is held where the project team and all the stakeholders are called out to specify the goals, timelines, processes, and the chain of communication.
In this stage, a Project Plan is created that defines how the work will be executed, the deliverable, how much effort would be needed, how much time is required, etc. Simply put, this stage defines the scope, cost, and timeline.
When the plan is ready, the team starts working on the project according to it. The milestones and deliverables are achieved. During it, the manager keeps reallocating the resources to keep the team working.
Monitoring and Controlling
The project manager monitors the team’s activities and makes sure that the team is working correctly. It includes monitoring the schedule and progress to ensure that the work is completed within the given time and budget. During this phase, some quality assurance procedures are also applied to create a quality product or service.
The last stage is Closure, in which the final deliverables are handed over to the clients or the stakeholders. If they accept the delivery, the project is signed off, the documentation is completed, and resources are released. Now, the team can move to another one.