How to Manage a Project

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Five Project Stages - Overview

Organisations that manage projects on a regular basis develop their own internal framework of Project Stages, based on the project life cycle but translated to suit their own projects and business. Such frameworks specify the stages that projects should progress through with "stocktake" points at the end of each stage.

The following are typical project stages.

Five Stages of Projects


Stage 1 - Project Proposal

This stage covers the work involved in identifying a need or a problem, generating ideas and options, and then developing a preferred agreed proposal or solution - "this is what we should do".

The proposal stage should close with a Project Proposal - a brief report covering what is to be delivered by the project (outcomes and outputs) and the best general approach to delivering them. After this is agreed, the project is formally started.


Stage 2 - Project Scoping & Planning

A brief analysis and study to establish what the project will involve, what the risks and possible difficulties are, and how the project should be organised and tackled. To be carried out quickly (a few days or weeks for larger projects) and summarised in a short Project Scoping Report or Project Plan.


Stage 3 - Start Up

Because of the political nature of many projects and the number of stakeholders involved, most projects will need a start up stage to communicate the project, build support, and generally prepare the ground. For some projects this is simply part of implementation. This should be described in the project scoping report.


Stage 4 - Implementation

Carrying out the implementation in terms of progressing the project activities, managing any people involved, and ensuring support for the project.


Stage 5 - Establish and Close

To ensure that the project is closed and that the responsibilities have been allocated for any future maintenance activities that need to be carried out.


Note. A  fuller description of each stage can be accessed by clicking the links to "Project Management Concepts" is the side panel to the left.