Project Management 101


Index | 1. Introduction / In general ... | 2. Logical Sequence and Work | 3. Why Use Project Management?
4. Planning and Organizing the Work | 5. Quality Management
6A. Sequencing the Work of the Project | 6B. Sequencing the Work of the Project
7. Project Manager's Responsibility | 8A. Creating a Team to Do the Work | 8B. Creating a Team to Do the Work
9. Corporate Management's Responsibilities | 10. Achieving Project Success
11. Transitioning the Product and Completing the Project

6A.  Sequencing the Work of the Project

four phases


When properly organized, a well-run project will pass through four major and distinct time periods known as "phases". The end of each phase represents a significant "Milestone" that should include a thorough management review before proceeding further. These four phases represent the basic Governance Process of project management.

Collectively, these four phases may be called the "Project Life Span", or more popularly the "Project Life Cycle" - but we really don't want the project to go around in circles, do we?

If it is a large project, such as a construction job, the phases will be further broken down into "stages".

If for example the project is in Information Technology, then some of the stages may go through several "iterations" as well.

An "Iteration" is a subset of project activities that produce a partial product for review and acceptance before continuing with further work.

But in any case, the first two major phases constitute planning while the second two constitute production.

We like to call these phases: Concept, Development, Execution and Finishing because C-D-E-F is easy to remember.


Phase I. In the first phase it is essential to establish with the project's sponsor (the "client") the project's concept, objectives and requirements.

This phase may be known as the "Concept" or Initiation Phase.

The result of this phase should be a document called a "Business Case" that justifies the project.

business case

That is, in a good Business Case, the project will be "justified" by writing down the answers to all seven questions listed under Reason 2 described earlier, and this document should be available for all to see.

Approval of this document provides the necessary authority for carrying out the work of the next phase.

plan of action


Phase II. In the second phase, this concept will be built into an effective plan of action.

As described earlier in Module 4, this is where the first draft of a "Work Breakdown Structure" (WBS) is typically developed.

In this way, the work involved in creating the deliverable will be carefully planned and defined in more detail.


It is particularly important that the project manager ensure that "everyone is on board and comfortable" (i.e. all the "stakeholders") are in agreement with the plan.

To this end a "feasibility study" or "prototype" model may be necessary to prove, or disprove, the project's concept.

This phase may be known as the "Planning", Development or Definition Phase.

The output of this phase is a document called "The Project Work Plan" also known as Project Charter or Project Brief.

The Project Charter or Project Brief is a very important document. The approval of this document by senior management represents a vital project "Milestone" because it signals the start of significant effort and expenditure.

Hence, it is typically shown as a "Go/No-go" milestone on the project's schedule bar chart.

;5. Quality Management  5.  Quality Management

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