The Project Execution Phase of Project Management
The Project Execution phase of project management, like the other steps, is incredibly important. This step has the ability to make or break the performance and execution of every project. We have already discussed the two other tenets, project initiation and project planning. Once the project enters the execution phase, time and resources have already been invested and it is time to ensure the success of the execution.
Mike CromwellWelcome back to Whiteboard Wednesday, Mike Cromwell.
Brian DeVaultBrian DeVault
Mike CromwellThree episodes ago, we talked about eight tenets of project management, how that sets a critical foundation for any technology project. We talked about the first two tenets and in the subsequent episodes. And today, if I recall in the first time we talked about it, if I recall, Brian, you said this is where the fun starts.
Brian DeVaultThat's right.
Mike CromwellSo I guess if you're in project management, this is fun. So walk us through what the components of successful execution are as it relates to project management.
Brian DeVaultSo at this point, we've been through the project initiation, we've been through the project planning where we really drove some detail into what we were doing. Right? And so now we're going to... It's time to execute. It's time to take action. Right? So once the project starts, you know, we're managing people largely. Right? So you're managing their day to day tasks and what they're responsible for, what they're getting done, getting information back from them so that you can update your tasks within the project plan and you just kind of managing the, you know, the moving ball of wax.
Brian DeVaultAnd so we're doing things like schedule performance. So we're looking at it on a daily basis to say here's what we plan to have done by this point in time and here's what we've actually gotten done. And sometimes you have to rearrange tasks as you're going through the process, you know, because maybe a dependency is not completed on time.
Brian DeVaultSo this is kind of a dynamic process that the project manager is responsible for, just to make sure that we meet the overall goals and objectives. So you're conducting weekly meetings, maybe even biweekly, depending on how frequently you need to communicate with the project team. And this helps you kind of stay on task. Right? So we're saying here we are, team, here's what we've completed.
Brian DeVaultHere's our performance based on our schedule. Here's our performance based on our budget, you know, some of those reporting activities. And then we're providing status updates to project sponsors and to the project team. And so let's say, for instance, I have a project sponsor mike, that maybe you have implemented a project for your business and you're interested in a very summery level type report. So here I've got a bullet point for producing some summary reporting. You don't want to read all the detail and you don't you're not necessarily interested in it.
Brian DeVaultBut certain members of the team would be interested in project budget and scheduling and some of the other aspects help you keep the project on time, on schedule, on budget and meet everyone's expectations.
Mike CromwellAnd you'll customize that depend upon the project and the client needs.
Brian DeVaultFor sure. And we have default templates that drive the data. But the analysis that you provide is a little different based on who you're reporting than that information to.
Mike CromwellWell, the funny thing is I've always been a student of execution and there are key components execution I'm hearing here that are consistent with any type of execution in business. And it's, you got to have a cadence. You got to have clearly defined goals KPIs, and you get to make it highly visible
Brian DeVaultAnd you, you've got to communicate them.
Brian DeVaultAnd a lot a lot of what project management is about communication, much like we've talked about how communication is the key factor for most successful engagements.
Mike CromwellYou've been on both sides of project management. Where do you see other companies that can execute on this front?
Brian DeVaultThey cannot execute?
Mike CromwellWhere do they get it wrong? And what should clients be looking for to determine if somebody knows how to execute a project management plan?
Brian DeVaultYou remember in a previous episode you asked me what the attributes of a good project manager would be, and I said organization, organization, organization. It's all of those things, as well as the formalization of the plan. Right? It's writing it down, documenting it, memorializing that plan on paper and then sticking to it and being able to execute against that overall plan.
Brian DeVaultAnd it really takes you know, we mentioned how typically not successful if you don't have someone who's full time dedicated to that responsibility because it really requires them to touch it every day and understand where task progress is on a daily basis and how that affects the next day or the coming week and those types of things.
Mike CromwellWell, there you have it folks, the execution component. Next week on Whiteboard Wednesday, we're going to talk about resource leveling and look forward to having you tune in again if you have suggestions for us for forthcoming whiteboard Wednesday add it in the comments below.
Mike CromwellThanks for watching. Stay tuned for next week's whiteboard Wednesday.
What is Project Execution?
According to WorkFront, “The execution phase involves carrying out the details of your project planning in order to deliver your products or services to your clients or internal stakeholders. First comes project planning. Then comes project execution. No matter how well you plan, your project won’t be successful unless you can effectively implement your ideas.”
At this point in the project, we have been through the project initiation and the project planning step. These first two steps allowed the team to dive into deep detail on the project. Now, it is time to execute. Here are three tips NETRIO follows to ensure successful project execution.
Follow The Process
We have discussed at length how important tenets one and two are. They Are equally as important to tenet three – Project Execution. Without the process that was defined in tenets one and two, tenet three cannot be successful. During this step, it is vital to stick to the schedule, but be able to pivot and refine the scope if needed. Look to your scope as guidance on how to efficiently execute.
Manage People Well
Your project is only as strong as the team you have executed it. In this step, you are not only managing your team’s day-to-day but making sure they feel supported and encouraged. Communication is key here. Your team is going to need to relay information to you that will then be communicated to the client.
Communication With Stakeholders
This directly correlates with tip two. The communication between the people you are managing will be a direct reflection of the communication with stakeholders in the project. The reporting that is sent will be customized based on the clients’ project, but the importance of clear and cohesive reporting remains the same.
The project execution phase always comes back to the organization and team management. In order to be successful, it is important to have someone touching the project daily. We have touched on qualities we look for in a project manager, read our blog post on 3 Steps To Highly Project Management In IT.
This blog post is part of NETRIO’s weekly White Board Wednesday series. Follow along on Linkedin and YouTube each week as Brian and Mike discuss use cases, new technology, and trends. The goal is to provide insights for enterprise customers and channel partners, trying to solve complex problems using technology.