Understand the phases of a project according to PMBOK

What is PMBOK and what is it for?

in 08/09/2021

On a daily basis, project managers have to deal with a multitude of tasks to be accomplished, projects to be completed, deadlines and goals to be achieved, teams to be coordinated… amidst an ever-accelerating pace and ever-increasing demands.

Having a good method of organization and evaluation is essential for all these points to be achieved and the expected efficiency to be achieved.

Therefore, we are going to present the PMBOK, which, for sure, will help in your productivity and improvement of processes and in the evaluation of your company's results.

What is PMBOK?

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) – is regarded as a guide to best practices in project management. Its main objective is to present a standardization and dissemination of the best methods for project managers – that is why it is constantly reviewed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), an international association of project management professionals.

It is important to highlight that the PMBOK is not intended to be a method to be followed, nor should it be interpreted as a recipe in which every minimum step must be followed. It is actually a guide, like a collection of knowledge that must be adapted according to the format, time, size and resources available for the objective. It will be up to the project manager to analyze and apply the steps indicated according to the particularity of each job to be performed, analyzing whether all are necessary to meet the concrete demand.

When we talk about project management and organization, we are not referring only to the idea plan or just the practical plan, the way we will make it happen, but initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing - the five steps presented by the PMBOK. Each of them must be carefully analyzed as it will reflect on the next step.

What are the benefits of following the PMBOK?

There are several benefits that the application of the PMBOK will bring to the planned and executed processes in project management, but we highlight a few:

  • Definition: by objectively defining the project phases, you will be able to put it into practice more efficiently;
  • Standardization: following the PMBOK, you will be able to standardize processes within your company, making them safer, faster and more reliable, offering greater quality to the customer;
  • Greater potential for project success;
  • Establishment of more effective information flows and actions;
  • Risk mitigation, due to prior planning and constant evaluation of each step, especially execution;
  • Greater productivity;
  • Cost reduction;
  • Better communication between those involved – from the smallest team to the recipient;
  • Control of each step and identification of possible problems;
  • Greater customer confidence, who will know their method in a more concrete way and will know that their projects are carried out in an organized and very well-planned way;
  • Use of financial and human resources in the most efficient way.

Where can I apply PMBOK?

As a guide to good practices, the PMBOK can be applied to the most diverse types of projects - regardless of the niche it targets, the size of the demand, the importance, the number of people involved, the deadline to be met

In short, you will be able to apply your knowledge and practices from advertising campaigns for big brands to family parties!

PMBOK Steps

1. Initiation

This can be the most complicated phase. It is here that the manager must seek an overview, macro of what will be developed, request authorizations or sponsorship, if necessary, analyze the risks, restrictions, outline the final objective to be achieved, identify what problems he intends to solve, what are the needs of your target audience and what is the concrete feasibility of your plan.

Initiation is an essential step so that all expectations – whether from the client, the manager, the sponsor or the team – are well defined and aligned, avoiding major problems during the execution or completion of the project.

At that moment, the managements are defined and the Project Opening Term is drawn up.

2. Planning

Once the initiation issues have been resolved, it is time to move on to the action plan, analyzing the micro.

It is considered the most important phase of your project: the time where the scope, schedule, activities, costs and budget, and risks must be defined.

It is also the time when you must establish what the human resources will be, how the quality management, communications will be carried out… basically, you will outline the entire plan to be followed from now on.

According to the PMBOK, there are 10 items that must be present at this stage:

  1. integration;
  2. scope;
  3. schedule;
  4. costs;
  5. quality;
  6. resources;
  7. communications;
  8. scratchs;
  9. acquisitions;
  10. interested parts.

To facilitate this process, we list here some tasks that must be performed at this stage (but remember that each project has specificities that must be observed)

  • Define your scope;
  • Set up a schedule of activities;
  • Calculate costs and risks;
  • Plan communications;
  • Set quality standards;
  • Define human resources and manage them;
  • Decide on acquisitions;
  • Assemble the management plan.

3. Execution

Time to get your hands dirty and put your planning into practice.

You may face difficulties and unforeseen events at this stage, even if you have a perfect plan of action. Therefore, you need to be in constant contact with your team and establish a good dialogue, both to avoid problems and to be open to possible improvements, but without leaving aside the constant management to make sure that everything is going as indicated in the second stage. Therefore:

  • Actively act to develop your team;
  • Keep interested parties informed, focusing on communication so that everyone is aligned;
  • Administer execution and manage quality to meet the established standard;
  • Manage acquisitions, ensuring the necessary resources at the time and in the planned quantity;

4. Monitoring and Control

Always monitor what is being executed – the manager must always be aware of the steps and tasks being developed by his team so that everything works and the project is completed successfully, and this will only be possible with constant monitoring and control.

It is through this stage that you will be able to assess whether the project's indicators correspond to expectations, whether the goals are consistent with the work flow, whether the risks are being mitigated as much as possible, and thus adapt the initial plan if necessary, avoiding greater inconvenience in the future.

5. Closing

As essential as the initiation, at this stage the project must be completed with a formal delivery to the client.

In addition to being the time to finalize the project, with the term of acceptance by the client, it is also when general information and a final report must be presented to the team that worked with you so far.

It is important to always be aware of feedback, as project management is constant and, just like the PMBOK, you must be constantly updating and looking for improvements in your methods. So, in closing, you can be guided by the following list:

  • Formalize project delivery;
  • Terminate contracts that have been entered into during the planning or execution process;
  • Make a meeting with your team to assess the result and the path taken - sometimes, the manager is not able to pay attention to all the details while the process takes place, but it is important to be aware of possible problems that have occurred, of new solutions that may have emerged, or even suggestions for improvement in the next works;
  • Carefully and carefully review the lessons that have been learned.
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