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A project starts with project initiation and ends with project closure. Between those two, there are monthly cycles where each starts with a monthly initiation and ends with a monthly closure. During each month, there are certain weekly management and daily management activities. Finally, after the project ends, there’s a post-project management cycle for evaluating the benefits of the project.

We start by initiating the project. That’s where we appoint the key team members and create a high-level plan. The information is then sent to the sponsor to decide whether or not to start executing the project.

The upfront plan is preferably high-level, and each monthly initiation revises the high-level plan and details it for the upcoming month. Toward the end of monthly initiation, the updated information will be sent to the sponsor again to decide whether or not to continue the project.

We work during the month, and each week we measure performance and respond to deviations. There are also daily activities for accepting completed deliverables and managing follow-up items (issues, risks, change requests, improvement plans, lessons learned).

At the end of the month, the monthly closure activities evaluate stakeholder satisfaction and create new improvement plans based on them.

When everything is done, or we decide to prematurely stop the project, the project closure activities will tie up the loose ends, evaluate stakeholder satisfaction for the last time, hand over the product, archive the documents, etc.

The post-project management cycles repeat every 3 to 6 months for 1 to 5 years, depending on the project, to evaluate its benefits and come up with extra actions that can increase benefits, or ideas for new projects.

Each of the seven management activity groups mentioned above (except for daily management) ends with a focused communication activity, where a short message with defined content is sent to relevant stakeholders to make sure everyone stays informed.

The project initiation and monthly initiations have a peer review activity that plays a key role in When you’re almost done with the work, you’ll ask another project manager in the company to come, check your work, and give you feedback. It’s preferable to get help from a different project manager each time, if possible. These peer reviews help both parties learn from each other, and they are also an effective way of finding and fixing problems before they pile up.

There are four artifacts in

  • Project Description: It contains basic information such as the reason for doing the project, its budget and time, stakeholders, etc.
  • Deliverables Map: It’s a breakdown of the product into its building elements (deliverables), preferably created as a mind map. Each deliverable needs to have a custodian to watch its status and report on it.
  • Follow-Up Register: It’s a list of all risks, issues, change requests, improvement plans, and lessons learned. Each item is assigned to a person as its custodian, who follows up on it until it’s closed.
  • Health Register: It’s a document that stores the results of peer reviews and stakeholder satisfaction evaluations.
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