The concept of project management originated when the pyramids were built in Cairo, Egypt. A project manager was commissioned to build a final resting place for the pharaoh, according to Reference for Business. In modern times, experts pinpoint five basic phases of project management. During these phases, small company managers assign and participate in various activities. The activities are contingent upon the company’s industry and what it sells, but the planning and execution processes are similar.
The first phase of the project-planning process is conception or initiation. During this phase, managers develop ideas for projects based on their organizational goals. For example, a small restaurant firm may want to increase sales by 20 percent in two years. Subsequently, top management usually meets and determines ways to accomplish that objective. They may decide to improve customer service, add some meals to their product mix and open five new restaurants in the company’s three-state region. Small-business managers usually have multiple objectives. These objectives often beget brainstorming, weighing various alternatives and decisions on initial courses of action.
PLANNING AND DESIGN
The planning and design phase is when small-company owners determine which tasks are needed for big projects. The owners then decide which department managers should implement certain project tasks. Budgeting is an important activity during the planning and design phase of project management. A small company establishes financial parameters for the project, which it cannot exceed. Companies also decide if they need any data or outside information to implement project procedures during the planning and design phase.
The project gets underway during the execution phase. There is usually a spillover effect to this phase. Executives or directors start assigning project tasks to managers. The managers, in turn, delegate portions of those tasks to analysts, specialists and other subordinates. Similar activities take place simultaneously in other departments. For example, small companies that introduce new projects need product managers to create the product concepts, engineers to develop them and finance to track unit and dollar sales. The finance department may also be in charge of obtaining additional funds through a bank. Similarly, a marketing research manager may start conducting phone surveys through an outside agency. And a construction manager may order materials for a new restaurant building after receiving the blueprint. Training is another activity that occurs during this phase and the development of project schedules.
Small companies need managers to control the implementation of project tasks. The manager’s primary responsibility during this stage is to stay on schedule. Companies usually have deadlines for their projects. Managers must frequently meet with department employees and vendors to ensure that everyone’s on track to complete their tasks on time. Moreover, department managers must ensure they are keeping their costs within the limits of their budgets.
The project is completed during the closing phase of project management. Constructions workers put the finishing touches on buildings, and new products may be launched regionally or nationally, depending on small-company objectives. Also, managers or agencies finish their analyses, complete reports and schedule final presentations. Some projects may be ongoing, but certain deliverables are still due at various intervals: every month, quarter or year.