What Is a Project Management Framework?

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Every company, large or small, completes projects throughout the normal course of business. Some projects are completed without any problems while some never get off the ground. The projects that are completed successfully were usually started using a project management framework to break the project into manageable pieces.

Project Management Framework Defined

  • Monash University, one of Australia's largest international universities, defines a project management framework as a set of process tools and templates designed to be used together to manage a project through its life cycle. In plainer terms, a project management framework is how a project is managed to completion. A project has a natural life cycle that begins before it is started and evolves until the project is completed. There are natural stages to a project: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing. The University of North Texas provides a detailed project management resource, the Project Management Handbook, that details the importance of each stage.

Initiating

  • This is the beginning of a project that provides the opportunity to give specific reasons regarding the value of the project to stakeholders. The stakeholders can be anyone directly or indirectly affected by the project. The initiating stage requires the project manger to define the scope and objectives of the project, indentify the project sponsor and total amount of project resources, and identify the project need.

Planning

  • This step experiences some overlap with initiating, but is generally defined as the key planning factors association with the project. Some key planning activities are: budget plans, time schedules, procurement plan, project team requirements and recruitment, and project risks.

Executing

  • The execution phase is the longest phase of a project life cycle and it involves measuring all of the completed tasks by assessing the tasks against the quality measure set by stakeholders. For this process to be successful, the quality measures need to fit the SMART definition. All measures should be specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Controlling

  • This phase ensures that all tasks assigned to the different phases of the project have been analyzed and have met the project quality standards. This stage is similar to the execution stage, but its purpose is actually to measure project performance, compare the actual performance to the expected performance, and fix any discrepancies in project performance or quality.

Closing

  • The final step of the project life cycle may be the most important one; for a project to be considered completed, all of the project tasks must be successfully finished. The final stage of a project requires the project manager to complete a project audit, hold final project meetings and file and submit all project-related documents. Once the documents have been submitted, the project manager must present a project closure report and have the report endorsed by the steering committee or project sponsor.

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