Project Life Cycle Phase 3: Execution

The Project Life Cycle is broken down into 5 phases:

  1. Project Initiation
  2. Project Planning
  3. Project Execution
  4. Project Monitoring & Controlling
  5. Project Closeout

Let’s look at the 3rd phase, Project Execution, in detail.

Desired Outcome

The third phase in the Project Life Cycle is Project Execution. 

Project Execution is the coordination of people and resources to achieve the project objectives. The desired outcome of this phase is the creation and delivery of the project’s product, service, or business result.  

Inputs & Outputs

Each phase of the project life cycle transforms inputs from the previous phase into outputs for the next phase. The following inputs/output diagram showcases a high-level view of the inputs and outputs. Inside the ‘black box’ is where the transformation of inputs into outputs occurs.

Execution I:O

Project Execution: Systems (Input/Output) Diagram)

In this case, the ‘trigger’ that initiates the execution process is the project plan. Once the project plan has been developed and aligned with the customer, the project team must get to work to deliver on the project objectives. This usually involves: 

  • A rigorous process of building the product/service
  • Leading the project team
  • Measuring the quality of the work done
  • Managing and engaging stakeholders throughout the project

Key Activities

Now that we understand the required inputs and desired outputs of this phase, it’s time to look at the key activities that must be undertaken.

Execution Process Hierarchy

Project Execution (Process Hierarchy Diagram)

  1. Direct and Manage Project Work
    • Activities:
      • Breakdown the project specifications from the Scope into smaller units of work.
      • Assign/delegate them to the various members of the project team.
    • Tools:
      • Leverage techniques such as predictive (Waterfall), incremental (Scrum), risk-driven (Spiral), and evolutionary (adaptive) to coordinate the work.
    • Outputs: Project deliverables and/or working prototypes.
  2. Perform Quality Assurance
    • Activities:
      • Audit the quality of the project deliverables against the set of previously defined quality standards.
      • Assess the deliverables both in terms of compliance with industry quality standards and in terms of their desired functionality.
    • Tools:
    • Outputs:
      • If (Approved) –> Accepted project deliverables.
      • If (Rejected) –> Change requests to project specifications.
  3. Develop & Manage the Project Team
    • Activities:
      • Enhance the competencies of your team members through mentorship and functional/skill training.
      • Create an environment that facilitates collaboration and teamwork.
      • Lead and motivate your team members.
      • Provide timely feedback on individual and team performance.
      • Support your team, remove bottlenecks and resolve conflict.
    • Techniques:
    • Outputs: Increased productivity and quality of work.
  4. Manage Vendors & Suppliers
    • Activities:
      • Solicit bids & proposals from potential vendors.
      • Evaluate and select suitable sellers.
      • Negotiate and establish procurement and service contracts.
      • Manage the creation and delivery of purchase orders.
      • Procure materials and services from vendors.
      • Close contracts upon successful delivery.
    • Tools:
    • Outputs: Desired materials and services from vendors.
  5. Manage Stakeholders
    • Activities:
      • Align stakeholders on the project goals, objectives, benefits, and risks.
      • Collect and distribute project information such as progress, milestones, risks and requirements.
      • Engage stakeholders to obtain their approval, advice, and support as necessary.
      • Negotiate on stakeholder expectations to maximize the team’s ability to deliver on the project requirements.
      • Address stakeholder concerns, clarify expectations and resolve issues as necessary.
    • Tools:
      • Interpersonal Skills (Building Trust, Resolving Conflict, Active Listening,
        Overcoming Resistance to Change)
      • Management Skills (Facilitating Consensus, Influencing, Negotiation)
      • Meetings: Periodic (Weekly/BiWeekly/Monthly) Status Review Meetings
      • Reports: Periodic (Weekly) Progress Reports
    • Outputs:
      • Increased Support + Minimized Resistance + Maximized Acceptance

Main Takeaway

Project execution is about effectively managing people problems.

  • Your team needs the skills and guidance necessary to carry out the project work.
  • Your stakeholders need to be aligned on the project objectives and engaged throughout the project execution.

The goal of this post was to empower you to coordinate the work to be done, delegate and lead your project team, and build trust and supporting relationships with the project stakeholders.

In the next post, I’ll cover Phase 4,  Monitoring & Controlling, of the Project Life Cycle.

Cheers till next time!


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