Principles of PM: Project Execute and Finish Phases


My summary of the module 4 of the course "Principles of Project Management".

The Execute – or doing – phase overview

Basically the Execute phase of the project’s life cycle is where the Project Management Plan is put into action.

18 of 42 PMBoK processes fall into the two process groups of executing and monitoring & controlling.

The monitoring & controlling processes happen in parallel to executing processes and are used to assess how accurately the baseline matches the project progress.

Conducting Procurements

Inputs: Project Management Plan, Procurement documents, Source selection criteria, Qualified seller list, Seller proposals, Project documents, Make or buy decisions, Teaming agreements, Organisational process assets.

Tools & Techniques: Bidder conferences, Proposal evaluation techniques, Independent estimates, Expert judgement, Advertising, Internet search, Procurement negotiations.

Outputs: Selected sellers, Procurement contract award, Resource calendars, Change requests, Project management plan updates, Project document updates.

Make sure you thoroughly evaluate seller proposals using the T&T described for this process.

HR management processes

Acquiring the Project Team

Inputs: project management plan, enterprise environmental factors and organisational process assets.

Tools & Techniques: Pre-assignment, Negotiation, Acquisition and Virtual teams

Outputs are: Project staff assignments, resource calendars, project management plan updates.

Resource calendar documents availability of each team member, including any pre-booked leave or commitments. This info may have an impact on other processes such as task durations and activity sequencing; thus, these should be adjusted accordingly.

Developing the Project Team

Inputs: project staff assignments, project management plan, resource calendars.

Tools & Techniques: Interpersonal skills, Training, Team-building activities, Ground rules, Co-location and Recognition and rewards

Outputs are: Team performance assessments and updates to enterprise environmental factors.

Once the project team is assembled and the project management plan is ready to execute, a kick-off meeting should be held for the execution phase.

The benefits of running a kick-off:

  • Everyone to be on the same page in regards to understanding the project goals
  • Roles and responsibilities will be clearer
  • Opportunity for people to ask questions and get answers
  • Process and procedures the team should follow to be outlined
  • Communication plan
  • Everyone to know where important documents can be found
  • Building team ethos

Another way of building a team is to involve them in planning processes.

Manage the Project team

Inputs: Inputs: project staff assignments, project management plan, Team performance assessments, Performance reports and organisational process assets

Tools & Techniques: Interpersonal skills, observation & conversation, project performance appraisals, conflict management and an issue log

Outputs are: Change requests, organisational process assets updates, project management plan updates and enterprise environmental factor updates.

Communications management processes

Distributing information

Inputs: Project management plan, Performance reports and Organisational process assets.

Tools & Techniques: Communication methods, Information distribution tools

Outputs are: Organisational process assets updates.

Avoid overloading people with information as there is a risk they start ignoring all communications which can be dangerous as they may then miss information critical to their work tasks.

Managing stakeholder expectations

Inputs: Stakeholder register, stakeholder management strategy, Project management plan, Issue log, Change Log and Organisational process assets

Tools & Techniques: Communication methods, Interpersonal skills and Management skills

Outputs are: : Change requests, organisational process assets updates, project management plan updates and project document updates.

Managing stakeholders, including the team members, means keeping the right people supporting your project.

Monitoring and controlling execution

Verify Scope

Inputs: Project Management Plan, Requirements documentation, Requirements traceability matrix, Validated deliverables

Tools & techniques: Inspection (product review, audit)

Outputs: Accepted deliverables, Change requests, Project management documents

Inspection is after checking that the work and deliverables meet the requirements documented at the project start.

The sooner you can actually verify scope is being met during execution, the more confident you can be that you will be meeting the customers’ requirements at handover.

Scope Control process

Inputs: Project Management Plan, Work performance info, Requirements documentation, Requirements traceability matrix, Organisational process assets

Tools & techniques: Variance Analysis

Outputs: Work performance measurements, Organisational process asset updates, Change requests, Project management plan updates, Project document updates

If there is a difference between planned and actual work, then either corrective or preventative action may be required.

Control schedule

Inputs: Project Management Plan, Project Schedule, Work performance info, Organisational process assets

Tools & techniques: Performance reviews, Variance Analysis, Project management software, resource levelling, what-if scenario analysis, adjusting leads and lags, schedule compression and scheduling tool

Outputs: Work performance measurements, Organisational process asset updates , Change requests, Project management plan updates, Project document updates

Variance Analysis, like when controlling scope, is used to look for difference between the baseline and actual execution.

Schedule compression is conducted by either fast tracking (activities were to be performed sequentially are changed to happen in parallel == risk of rework) or crashing (shortening timeline by overtimes or involving additional resources).

Control of costs

Inputs: Project Management Plan, Project funding requirements, Work performance info, Organisational process assets

Tools & techniques: Earned value management, forecasting, to-complete performance index, Performance reviews, Variance Analysis, Project management software

Outputs: Work performance measurements, Budget forecasts, Organisational process asset updates,Change requests, Project management plan updates, Project document updates

EVM helps PMs to track and forecast project performance by combining measurements of scope, schedule and costs in a single system.

Report performance

Inputs: Project Management Plan, Work performance info, Work performance measurements, Budget forecasts, Organisational process assets

Tools & techniques: Variance Analysis, forecasting methods, communicating methods, Reporting systems

Outputs: Performance reports, Organisational process asset updates, Change requests

Performance reports (Status Reports) should show the following:

  1. Work completed for the last period
  2. Work scheduled for completion for the period ahead
  3. Notification / explanation of variance
  4. Summary of any changes requested
  5. Current status of any risks and issues
  6. Currently forecast project end date (and possibly cost)

Monitor and control risks

Inputs: Risk register, Project Management Plan, Work performance info, performance reports

Tools & techniques: Risk assessment, risk audits, Variance & trend Analysis, technical performance measurements, status meetings

Outputs: Risk register updates, Organisational process asset updates, Change requests, Project management plan updates, Project document updates

Quality auditing, control and continuous improvement

Perform Quality Assurance

This is execution process.

Inputs: Project management plan, quality metrics, work performance information, quality control measurements

Tools & Techniques: Plan quality & perform quality control tools and techniques, quality audits, process analysis

Outputs: Organisational process asset updates, change requests, PMP updates, project document updates.

Perform Quality Control

This is monitoring & controlling process.

Inputs: Project management plan, quality metrics, quality checklists, work performance measurements, approved change requests, deliverables, organisational process assets

Tools & Techniques: Cause & effect, control charts, flowcharts, histogram, Pareto charts, run chart, scatter diagram, statistical sampling, inspection, approved change requests

Outputs: quality control measurements, validated changes, validated deliverables, Organisational process asset updates, change requests, PMP updates, project document updates.

Integration processes for the PM

The following processes represent day-to-day PM work when managing a project.

Directing and Managing the Project Execution

This process, which belongs to integration knowledge area, is about executing all the work contained in the Project Management Plan to achieve the project’s outcomes.

Inputs: Project management plan, approved change requests, enterprise environmental factors, organisational process assets

Tools & Techniques: Expert judgement, project management information system

Outputs: Deliverables, Work performance information, change requests, Project Management Plan updates, project document updates

Deliverables include not only results but also project docs such as project charter, PM plan, etc.

Monitoring and controlling project work

This is about tracking, measuring, reviewing and regulating the actual progress of the project against the project management plan baselines.

Inputs: Project management plan, performance reports, enterprise environmental factors, organisational process assets

Tools & Techniques: Expert judgement

Outputs: Change requests, Project Management Plan updates, project document updates

Performing integrated change control

This process, which belongs to monitoring & controlling process group, is about reviewing, assessing, approving necessary changes that a project requires, and integrating them back into the project documentation.

Also, it's about rejecting change requests that are not going to add value to the project and will only delay or complicate this.

Inputs: Project management plan, work performance information, change requests, enterprise environmental factors, organisational process assets

Tools & Techniques: Expert judgement, change control meetings

Outputs: change requests status updates, PMP updates, project document updates

Change request assessment. It should be evaluated for cost, time, risk, work considerations, product and technical specifications.

A way of planning for change is to appoint a Change Control Board with key decision makers who should assist in making the right decisions. However, it makes sense to approve small changes on own and take only significant requests to the CCB.

Finishing phase & getting handover right

The Closure phase has only 2 processes:

  • Close procurements
  • Close project or phase.

Put simply, as long as your project scope was well defined in the Concept stage, stakeholder requirements correctly identified and meaningful, measurable success criteria and quality standards agreed to, finishing the project should run smoothly as the deliverables are verified and accepted as meeting the customer requirements and the needs of the project objectives.

Closing project or phase

This is integration management process.

Inputs: Project management plan, Accepted deliverables, Organisational Process Asset

Tools & Techniques: Expert judgement

Outputs: Final product, service or result transition, Organisational Process Asset (O.P.A.) updates

A proper finishing phase involves updating O.P.A., which are basically the archives of the past projects, that help any project running after this one.

Also note that carrying out this process does not necessarily mean that the project handover of its final product, service or result was carried out. If the project has been beset by problems and has drifted off course, or if the environment that the project was being carried out has changed so significantly that it can no longer meet other key stakeholders that need to be consulted – agree to close the project down.

Closing procurements

Inputs: Project management plan, Procurement documentation

Tools & Techniques: Procurement audits, Negotiated settlements, Records management system

Outputs: Closed procurements, Organisational Process Asset updates

By conducting this process, every contract used in procuring needs to be checked for terms & conditions, and made sure that everything has been delivered as per the contract.

Project Closure Report

It's important to write a Project Closure Report for every project, successful and terminated, with lessons learned and knowledge gained.

The purposes:

  • To review the successes and failures of the project
  • Assess how successful the project has been in meeting its outcomes
  • Outline any hand-over procedures that are needed for the transition of a project to becoming an on-going operation
  • Provide details for any outstanding issues that need dealing with after the formal closure of the project.
  • To document important lessons that have been learnt throughout the project
  • To make recommendations on how the project may have been better managed
  • Highlight best practise
  • Formalise the closure of the project (and get sign-off that it is closed)

The content:

  • The project title
  • The author(s) of the report
  • A Table of Contents
  • Background overview of the project
  • Reasons and methodology for closing the project
  • Highlights and best practise
  • Assessment of performance, compared against original objectives
  • Lessons learnt
  • Hand-over tasks for those that will be using/managing the project deliverable
  • Post-closure issues for anyone taking on the managing of the project deliverable
  • Recommendations for future projects