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The SharpCloud TeamApril 15 20195 min read

How to Build an Effective Project Management Framework

One of the most challenging elements of modern-day project management is controlling change.

Projects are subject to many internal and external risks, innumerous variables and interdependent factors, and frequently uncontrollable changes in scope. This combination of elements can create a challenging environment for project managers, who are faced with the task of ensuring projects are completed on-time and on-budget.

To overcome these hurdles, and ensure the project is completed successfully, many project managers will choose to utilize a project management framework (PMF).

What is a Project Management Framework?

A PMF combines processes, tasks, and tools to guide a project from start to finish. Unlike a methodology, which provides a stricter structure for project management strategies, a PMF offers a more flexible approach.

PMFs are designed to accommodate all projects, no matter their type, size, or complexity and are structured to reflect the major stages in a project life span, often expressed as: initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and termination. Crafting a robust and efficient PMF is vital for successful project management.

Throughout a project lifecycle, project managers are responsible for the overall initiation, execution, and monitoring of the project, and need to ensure all significant information is available to key decision makers and stakeholders.

PMFs can be utilized to support the project manager throughout the project lifecycle as well as assisting the ongoing management of the project. To create an effective framework, which enables project managers to complete a project smoothly, on-time, and with great results, it is imperative to utilize a powerful project management software

1. Initiation

The first phase of the project life cycle is initiation. This is where the project’s value and feasibility are measured and where the project is more broadly defined.

During the initiation phase, communication is paramount. Project managers, stakeholders, and key decision makers must all work together to discern whether the proposed project is viable. During this phase, the team will benefit hugely from a solution that enables all parties to view, share, and comment on progress.

Effective collaboration and communication will enable better decision making, encouraging innovation, and ensure that the correct decision is made about the future of the project.

2. Planning

Once the project has been given the green light, a project roadmap should be devised to provide direction and ensure that the project remains on-time and on-budget.

A roadmap is a plan of action that outlines how a project will develop over time. They are most often created in a timeline format to reflect how a linear project moves from start to finish. Roadmaps assist the decision-making process, helping managers clearly identify gaps in the product strategy and outline the steps necessary to meet the project’s objective.

Ensuring project managers are able to effectively visualize and then communicate their finished roadmap to stakeholders is key to project success, and will mitigate the risk of change in scope mid-project.

3. Execution

The execution phase is where all project deliverables are executed, and is the phase of the project lifecycle in which all the scheduled work in the planning phase takes place. During the execution phase, project managers must maintain control and communication with stakeholders to avoid the project deviating from its proposed course.

Understanding the context and big picture across the project is invaluable for project managers. Communicating complex issues to stakeholders can be challenging, and the confusion is confounded yet further when information is displayed as a combination of spreadsheets and static, linear slide-decks.

The best project management solution is non-linear, providing project managers with the flexibility to explore data through a variety of views. Stakeholders can then choose the view that provides the most insight for them, enhancing communication and providing a greater depth of detail.

4. Monitoring

Project managers must continuously monitor and evaluate progress to ensure that any adjustments made are recorded as variances from the original plan and that development is aligned with the project roadmap, and scope creep managed. 

This is where the value of data comes to the fore. Access to a data-driven and automated activities tool that can communicate trends, relationships, and insight into the project is invaluable to ensuring that the project remains on schedule.

5. Termination

The termination phase is only achieved when the project manager delivers the finished project to the customer. This is perhaps the most vital step in the project lifecycle for the project manager as it allows them to evaluate and document the project and discern whether or not it was a success, and why.

To perform this level of analysis, project managers must be able to drill down into the different individual project elements and evaluate each feature specifically. Only by performing an in-depth project post-mortem can project failures and successes be realized and lessons be learned for future projects.

Project Management Methodology examples

PMFs are designed for adaptability across all types of projects and organizations, allowing for easy integration with any project management methodology you choose to follow. Here are some examples of different project management methodologies:

  • Agile: This methodology divides projects into sprints, lasting 2 to 4 weeks. It is most effective for small teams capable of making quick decisions, emphasizing iterative development, customer collaboration, and adaptability to changing requirements.
  • Waterfall: A more traditional approach that plans a project from start to finish, with each planning phase starting only after the previous phase is complete. It's structured and less flexible but can be suitable for well-defined, stable projects.
  • Lean: Focusing on minimizing waste of effort and resources to maximize efficiency, Lean methodology emphasizes improving existing processes and tracking the effectiveness of those changes.

Regardless of the methodology you choose, it's essential to have the right tool or program to manage and house your framework. This tool should enable you to capture and display top-level insights, such as project priorities, relationships, progress, ownership, and more throughout the project's lifecycle.

Effective Project Management

To establish an efficient project management framework, you require software capable of supporting project managers at every stage of the project lifecycle.

SharpCloud software provides dynamic roadmapping capabilities that empowers users to create visually engaging project roadmaps and support decision making on selecting the right projects to be executed the right way. These roadmaps are particularly effective for conveying intricate  relationships and complex information.

Using SharpCloud can significantly improve communication and collaboration within a project while enhancing project managers' ability to interpret and convey data in a visually memorable way.

Project managers, stakeholders, and key decision-makers can all derive substantial value from implementing a SharpCloud solution. Ready to get started? Schedule a discovery call today.

 

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