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What is the Project Management Process?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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The project management process involves planning, executing and controlling projects through their beginning, middle and end. The process of project management starts with defining and finishes with closing. During the execution stage, adjustments to the original plan may be necessary. Progress should always be tracked throughout the duration of the project. The project management process can be summed up in five main steps:

1. Defining the project’s purpose, objective and the desired end result are important considerations when beginning the project management process. For example, if the project is a direct mail fundraising package to be mailed nationwide, its purpose may be to get new business leads and donors. Its objective may be to include new product promotional information for the target audience. The desired result may be to beat the previous results rates of similar packages.

2. Considering the project’s limitations in terms of budget and resources should be resolved early in the process to avoid wasting time planning and executing something that can’t be finalized. For instance, using the direct mail project described above, the copywriter should be given guidelines in his or her creative brief. Otherwise, he or she may include ideas that can’t be completed within the budget's restraints.

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3. Assembling a team and assigning project tasks with completion dates is a crucial part of a process management system. While one person may be in charge and have responsibility for the project, it usually takes many employees to work on different parts of it. In companies, a work project may involve many different departments. Project managers must often work with many different department heads to complete projects.

4. Completion dates for tasks need to be checked and followed up on by the project manager. During this part of the project management process, the manager must make any necessary adjustments to his or her original plan. The project manager must make sure everything will be completed on time. The project must definitely be in his or her control. Controlling the outcome of the project usually takes excellent organizational and communication skills.

5. Closing the project management process is the final stage. All loose ends must be tied; paperwork must be filed and the appropriate payments made to contractors. The success or failure of the project should be analyzed. Notes should be made on any changes that would help similar future projects run more smoothly.

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