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Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Benefits of a Project Management Methodology

A project management methodology is defined as a system of methods, principles, and rules for managing a project. It can help organizations by standardizing processes, building a common language and understanding how to manage a project. It helps project managers reduce risks, avoid duplication of efforts and to ultimately increase the impact of the project.

A methodology provides project teams with a set of standards to initiate and manage individual projects. A methodology contains definitions, guidelines, and templates for the various project management activities needed to deliver successful projects. The methodology establishes common ground for all projects within an organization.

By adopting a project management methodology development organizations will be able to:

  1. Quickly adapt to new challenges and invest limited resources in the best way possible in order to achieve recurring successes.
  2. Build a successful project management culture that will enable the effective utilization of the project management methodology.
  3. Expand the skills of project managers, and give them a holistic understanding and a solid foundation to manage their projects efficiently.
  4. Reduce risks and increase the chances of project success.
  5. Increase the motivation of the project team, and increase their productivity.
  6. Deliver more projects on time, and within budget that meet or exceed the expectations of donors, beneficiaries and project stakeholders.

Organizations that use a standard method, have more confidence that the project is conducted in a disciplined, well-managed and consistent manner, which promotes the delivery of quality results within the constraints of time and cost.

 

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The Project Management Cycle

A project management methodology follows a cyclical approach throughout the life of the project. The cycle represents a continuous process in which each phase provides the foundation for the next. For example, during implementation the monitoring phase provides inputs and changes to the original design which then the project managers uses to modify the implementation plans. The cyclic nature among the design, implement and monitor phases is repeated throughout the life of the project.

The project management cycle consists of six phases:

  1. Initiate
  2. Plan
  3. Implement
  4. Monitor
  5. Adapt
  6. Close

The cycle allows for a constant, iterative process by which the project is constantly adapted, this repetitive cycle continues until all project activities and objectives have been delivered. The cycle approach allows opportunities to review the original project assumptions and plans, as the project makes progress the initial conditions could have changed making necessary for the project to change course or readjust the original plans.

Managing a project is not a linear process, it is cyclical; with each phase receiving feedback from the preceding phase. For example, during the monitoring phase the project may encounter that the original assumptions about an  activity have changed which leads to propose a readjustment of the plans, either in schedule or in scope. No situation in which a project intervenes is static, project management is a cycle that is continually repeated to adapt to a changing context.

The project management cycle continues in a spiral fashion until the project is completed and closed. For larger projects the phases may be broken down in smaller manageable phase, each with its own project management cycle, were the closure on the first phase of a project leads to the initiation of the second phase.

The application of project management is an iterative process. For example, within the planning phase, several iterations of planning may occur as the team develops the best approach and methodologies to implement the project. This process requires additional improvements and refinements to the schedule, budget estimates, quality requirements and risk plans.

As improvements start to occur, the impact to other project management areas must be determined. Over time, the iterations should become smaller in magnitude and more defined as more detailed information about the project is developed. Each project’s management cycle is a knowledge cycle in itself that shapes the initial design and is fed by experience from each implementation and evaluation cycle.


Learn how to initiate, plan, implement, adapt and close a project that meets the needs of the beneficiaries and expectations of key stakeholders. The online course will introduce the elements of the project management lifecycle.  You will learn the methods for the efficient management of a project using a phased approach and the concepts and practices necessary for the success of your management efforts. This course is open for all those who work or plan to get a job in the development cooperation and humanitarian field.

Register now and earn your certificate in Adaptive Project Management with a 20% early registration discount.

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