Beginners Guide to Project Management

Guide to Project Management

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A skill to learn that will take your career to the next level is project management. Every industry has upcoming projects however the principles of project management are the same. In this post I am sharing a Beginner Guide to Project Management, attempting to explain it to you in a very simplified way.

I have been working as a manager for 7 years and have been in various roles of projects throughout my career journey. Project management is a huge topic and everything cannot be covered in a single post. Hence I am planning to write a series of posts on project management to make project organization, project planning, and project management easier for you.

What is Project Management?

Project management is essentially ensuring that the projects are delivered on time, within scope, and to the satisfaction of stakeholders and the intended purpose. It involves effectively planning, organizing, and overseeing tasks and resources to achieve specific goals within a defined timeframe and budget. This is mostly done by breaking down complex projects into manageable tasks, allocating resources, and coordinating efforts to ensure successful project completion.

Beginners guide for project management

Key Roles in Project Management?

Project management is a huge topic but to give you a glimpse of it it is better if you know what a typical project team looks like. I will include:

  • Project Manager: Oversees and directs the entire project, ensuring it meets its objectives and stays on track.
  • Project Team Members: Execute assigned tasks and collaborate to achieve project goals effectively.
  • Stakeholders: Provide input, feedback, and support throughout the project lifecycle to ensure its success.
  • Project Sponsor: Provides strategic guidance, secure resources, and champions the project within the organization.

Project Management Process

Here are the details of the various stages of the project management process.

Step 1: Project Initiation

Project initiation also known as the kickstart of the project is all about by clearly defining the objectives and scope of the project. It’s like finalizing the destination of the vacation and the expectations from the visit.

This step is crucial because it lays the foundation for everything that follows. Without a clear understanding of what we’re trying to achieve and what’s included (and excluded) from the project, there is a risk of going off track or delivering something that doesn’t meet the expectation.

The task is to gather all relevant information about the project’s goals and boundaries. This may involve meeting with stakeholders, reviewing project charters or briefs, and asking questions to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Let’s say you’re tasked with organizing a company event. During project initiation, you’ll define the event’s purpose (e.g., celebrating a milestone, team building), its key objectives (e.g., boosting employee morale, fostering networking), and what’s within scope (e.g., venue selection, catering) and what’s not (e.g., individual travel arrangements for attendees). This clarity will guide all future decisions and actions throughout the project.

I have been part of many projects in my career and most often the failures or delays are due to a lack of understanding or misunderstanding of the project. Especially with long-term projects as months pass and people get caught up in other routine activities they tend to forget what the project was all about.

Step 2: Discussion Phase

The discussion phase is where all the members and people concerned with the project gather information and do preliminary research. This also involves conducting discussions and meetings with people to exchange ideas, share insights, and clarify expectations regarding the project. This is essential for effective collaboration and understanding.

Depending on the extent of the project, this phase can be a single meeting or multiple sessions to get the groundwork of the project ready. This phase is about open communication and ensuring that everyone involved in the project has a chance to voice their thoughts, concerns, and share suggestions. This will prevent misunderstandings and conflicts later.

A project manager must ensure during this phase to facilitate meaningful discussions among project members and departments associated with the project. This may involve organizing meetings, workshops, or brainstorming sessions where participants can freely express their ideas and concerns.

Let’s say you’re leading a project to develop a new mobile app. During the discussion phase, you might bring together key stakeholders, such as the client, end-users, developers, and designers, to discuss their vision for the app, desired features, target audience, and any technical or budget constraints. By having these discussions upfront, you can ensure that everyone is aligned on the project’s objectives, expectations, and hurdles before moving forward with planning and execution.

Step 3:Planning Phase

The Planning Phase as the name suggests is about planning the project. The primary step is to start mapping out the project journey. It’s about creating a detailed roadmap that outlines what needs to be done, how it will be done, who will do it, and when it will be done.

This phase sets the stage for the entire project. By carefully planning out each step, you can make the project execution more effective, avoid hurdles, and make it manageable for the project team to execute it well.

During this phase, the team develops a comprehensive project plan. This plan should include key deliverables, milestones, timelines, budget allocations, resource requirements, etc.

For example, if the project is about organizing a company-wide training program. During the planning phase, you’ll work with subject matter experts, trainers, and stakeholders to define the training objectives, develop a curriculum, schedule training sessions, and allocate resources such as venues, materials, and trainers. The goal is to create a detailed plan that outlines how the training program will be executed from start to finish.

This project plan will serve as a map for your project journey and will help you evaluate the progress of the project and most importantly the timeline of execution.

It is very important to document the project plan and use the right tools that will let you track the progress effectively. I use the below Project Management Template, which lets me track 10 projects and is based on a Google Sheet that allows me to share with concern for transparency, accountability and to provide selective rights to the user where required.

Project Management Template

Project Management Template Google Sheet

50$ 30$

  • Track 10 Projects Simultaneously
  • Project Dashboard
  • Visualize Project with interactive Gantt charts
  • Track up to 45 tasks in each project
  • Priority Allocation
  • Monthly, weekly, and daily view
  • Customize the department
  • Assign users
  • Check demo video Here

Step 4: Execution Phase

The execution phase is where the intangible project plan comes to reality. This phase is all about putting the plans into action and doing work to achieve the project goals.

This phase is mostly broken down into milestones and most often execution by a particular department or team member is dependent on the execution by others. Hence this phase must involve frequent follow-ups to ensure things are progressing as per the plan and necessary resources are available. In this phase, it is necessary to coordinate tasks, manage resources, and overcome obstacles to keep the project moving forward according to the plan.

The project manager leads the team in executing the tasks outlined in the project plan by assigning responsibilities, providing guidance and support, monitoring progress, and addressing any roadblocks.
Let’s say you have a project to launch a new product. During the execution phase, you will oversee activities such as product development, marketing campaigns, logistics, and work closely with the team to ensure that the tasks are completed on time and according to specifications. You may need to occasionally make adjustments to keep the project on track.

project management

Step 5: Monitoring and Controlling

This phase is about keeping a close eye on the actions that are executed to ensure things are working as expected. There may be deviations or breakdowns with the new implementation or the newly introduced changes may affect the operations of the regular process. The outcome varies with the project. It can also be about monitoring a beta test or making minor changes based on the feedback. This phase is more about taking corrective action to get things back on track.

This phase is essential because it ensures that the project stays on course and delivers the intended results. By continuously monitoring performance and controlling for any changes or issues that arise, you can minimize risks and maximize the chances of success.

During this phase, there must be regular assessment of the project’s progress against the plan, identify any variances or deviations, and take appropriate action to address them. This may involve holding regular status meetings, reviewing key performance indicators, and updating the project plan if needed.

Step 5: Closing Phase

The Closing Phase marks the end of the project. This involves wrapping up loose ends, finalizing deliverables, and officially closing out the project.

This phase formally acknowledges the completion of the project with the stakeholders. It is generally a formal meeting with the team members and the stakeholders where the key milestones and achievements of the project deliverables are shared. One can also share the lessons learned, and transition any remaining tasks or responsibilities.

During this phase, the project manager ensures that all project deliverables have been met, conducts a thorough review of the project’s performance, and facilitates the closure process. One of the most important things to do at the formal close of the project is updating documentation, archiving project files, and transitioning. There may be some parts of the project that are executed but may need extended monitoring these can be discussed and assigned with a timeline.

Key to Project Management

Apart from the major project management steps discussed above, 2 key things are needed to ensure effective functioning and smooth progress of the project. These are teamwork and resolving conflicts.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are the driving forces of successful project delivery. It allows you to maximize the strength and expertise of team members.

To bring this to your project efforts must be made to foster creativity and transparency. It can be done by simple actions like allowing all to share their opinions and valuing suggestions even if they are insignificant. Apart from this things like team lunch, appreciation, and encouraging open and transparent communication can be highly valuable.

These things will create a positive and nurturing environment that will allow team members to collaborate effectively and leverage each other’s skills.

Conflict Resolution

During the project, it is very common to experience situations of conflict. These can be as simple disagreements to rivalry among team members. For a successful project, it is necessary to ensure any conflicts.

Conflict resolution involves addressing and resolving disagreements or disputes that arise among team members or stakeholders during the project lifecycle. This needs to be done carefully without affecting the project and aims to gain back cooperation among the team members, otherwise, it may lead to decreased morale, productivity, and even project failure.

During conflict resolution facilitate open and constructive dialogue between conflicting parties, identify the causes of the conflict, and work towards finding a mutually satisfactory resolution.

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Project management 101


This is a simplified guide to project management. Although the topic of project management is huge and overwhelms many I have tried to keep it simple and give a jest of it with examples possible for even a beginner to understand and take level up to learn project management. You will get a complete understanding of project phases and project cycles.

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