End to End Project Management : All You Need to Know

12 Oct · 15 min read

End to End Project Management : All You Need to Know

Management, an easy and probably the most used word around all of us, but we always lack in management be it time management, work-life balance management or project management.

You have a list of tasks, but have no idea how to divide them among people. Obviously it takes time to realize the individual’s capabilities and assign the tasks accordingly and let’s admit you can’t engage in all the activities at a time. Moreover Project Management is something where you unquestionably need a project manager or a team of project managers at different stages of a project. 

So if you are new to project management or wondering of the literal project management definition and learn everything about it, you have landed in the right place.

What is project management?

As the term refers, Project Management is the strategy or method to deliver certain requirements in a specific, measurable and managed way. Measurables can be, cost, scope or quality of the requirements defined by the client or by stakeholders. 

Then, what is E2E project management? Nothing to worry, it's just a process to manage the project from Scratch till the Delivery and sometimes until providing user acceptance and support as well. 

Now that you have an idea on E2E project management, let’s dive into the depth of Project Management and learn through it.

E2E Project Management Lifecycle

E2E project management has different phases based on different industries. We will be talking about IT project management. The different process and phases to follow in E2E IT Project Management:

Initiation:

When a project idea comes to the chiefs of the team, the project initiates there. A rough headcount of the team is taken and the project managers are assigned to initiate the project. Which in simple words includes taking the requirements from the client, deciding the stakeholders, choosing the right team to work on and dividing the tasks. But it’s way too difficult than it might sound. 

Project initiation is the most critical part of it, as the end result and the scope of the project depends completely on this step. 

So let’s see what important steps does Initiation phase includes:

  • Identifying Stakeholders: Stakeholder is a person/party which will impact the project directly or indirectly. They can be primarily Investors, Customers as well as Employees, Suppliers etc. whoever is having a stake in the project.
  • Creating the Project Charter: Once the resources and stakeholders are identified, the project manager prepares a Project Charter, which includes the basic project plan, scope, required resources and time and deliverables. Once the project charter is done, the project manager starts a kick-off meeting to give a brief about it to the allocated team to the project, and a clear boundary is set regarding the plan, and deliverables of the project in a given timeline.

Planning:

When the project managers are finished with the initial phase of the project, they move to make an extended plan of the project, which is a very tedious and important task. A project plan includes some major challenges:

  • Identifying the problem statement: Understanding the problem is a crucial step to manage a project. Unless the problem is defined in simple terms, the solution is hard to find. Hence this is a very important step to manage a e2e project.
  • Extensive Research: Before starting or planning the research on the problem statement and solution is a must. To ensure your potential competitors and make sure your USPs from the marketing and product perspective.
  • Define major objectives: We don’t know which target to hit unless the aim is clear. It works the same with IT projects as well. Hence a clear objective is required to proceed further.
  • Define the project scope: When the project objectives are defined, the team leaders and stakeholders should define the product scope which defines what are the boundaries of the project. For example: an intranet application for particular organization’s employees

           Also, what is the technology used for the software or application used will be decided under the               scope of the project. On which platform it can run, is covered under scope as well.

  • A set timeline: After deciding the project objectives a timeline to deliver the deliverable is very important. As Project scope and quality are not enough to deliver a project, you need a deadline in order to calculate your deliverables. But it's very crucial that the deadline should be realistic.
  • Budget planning: Budget planning or cost planning is another crucial step towards your project. There are different techniques of budget planning. The very commonly used budget planning is Earned Value Analysis or Fibonacci cost planning, which defines the project budget with continuous integration.

While you are planning the deliverables of a project, the golden triangle of project management might help your teammates to understand the workflow of the project and how the cost, scope and time of the project correlates to each other entity and affects the project quality and deliverables directly.

It has three sequences to be mindful of:

1. If there is a compromise in the Schedule(timeline) of the project then Scope and Cost effects for the project.

2. If there is a compromise in the project’s scope of the project then the timelines and and Cost effects.

3. If there is a compromise in the project’s cost of the project then the scope might differ and timeline effects, and eventually affects the quality.

To manage these three mesurables, it’s important that we decide the scope, cost and the schedule of the budget. If in case, due to some unavoidable circumstances, project affects then the team and stakeholders should be ready for a compromise in terms of other two constraints.

Development:

After extensive planning, the project gradually moves to the development phase, depending upon the project methodology used. If the project is using Agile methodology then mostly they’re working in the sprints and continuously developing and deploying the project pieces. If the project approach is waterfall then they develop the project in one stretch and then hand it over to the testing team for moving towards the delivery. We will be discussing the project management methodologies in detail, further in the article.

When the project is in development phase the project manager assigns the tasks to the development team according to their skills and capabilities. Project Managers also keep a check on resources such as Tools or Technology required for Backend, Frontend developers in order to develop the required application/software.

Execution:

The execution phase is the stage when the team deploys their work done to the assigned plan. In this phase, the project manager keeps track of the final budget of the project and tries to mitigate the potential risk. If a potential risk to the delivery is found then they slow down the process and try to manage the risks. If the risk is supposed to hamper the deadline of the project then they find a solution to fix it as soon as possible, with a few changes in cost or scope, to deliver without much delay. 

During project execution, the project manager collaborates with the team as well to maintain a good relationship and understand if there is anything affecting the project deadlines in any means.

And then the project is moved towards the production environment, after the functional, regression and UAT testing. Which is a very crucial step in the process of E2E project management to avoid the production bugs and the loopholes of the developed project. 

Monitoring:

Monitoring phase isn’t necessarily to be completed at the end of the project. It is a continuous process which is monitored by the project manager with each step. Project managers conducts a few task which gives them the visibility of project improvement or any problem occurred:

  • Assessing the Team’s work: it's very important for the project managers to examine the continuous development of the team. And make sure they are not stuck somewhere or they don’t require extra resources such as training or tools. If yes, their responsibility is to provide them with full guidance.
  • Clear Visibility to the client: When the team is making progress or if there are any downfalls, it's very important for the project manager to keep the client informed about it and make them a part of the process through weekly catch ups or communication channels.
  • Project Documentation: While the team is delivering and deploying the deliverables, the project manager’s responsibility is to maintain the important documents such as scope, budget plan, stakeholder’s stake etc., and analyze if the project was up to the expectations and pass it on to the client.

Closing and Delivering:

When the project is finally finished, the team and project manager delivers the project to production and hands it over to the client and makes sure their expectations are fulfilled with the project delivery. If there are any concerns or defects raised after the delivery then those changes are considered as Production Bug, on which the team reworks and makes sure it doesn’t occur again.

The Official Closure of Project: Project is officially closed when the client accepts the delivery with no questions or concerns raised. When it is closed the manager closes the documents and hands over their stakes to the stakeholders. During the closure of the project, the project manager ought to make sure that they count the achievements and celebrate the team’s success to promote their skills for the future as well.

Performance Evaluation: After the project is closed, the company conducts an event in order to evaluate the project’s performance. While evaluating, the project manager determines how many goals have been achieved, if the project was ever delayed then it didn’t hamper the scope and quality. 

If there were any events which could be a risk or were a risk to the project, how to deal or avoid them prior to its occurrence in the future.

The E2E project management doesn’t end here, it has more in the bucket while these important phases are in the process, which mainly lies into the basket of the project manager:

Stakeholder Management:

Stakeholder management is the process of maintaining good relationships with the people who are going to affect the project directly or indirectly. Communicating them in the right way, without any technical glitches involved. Stakeholder management includes more than maintaining the good terms. The project management has to understand what is the role of each stakeholder and how they are going to impact the process. A few key points to keep in mind while managing stakeholders:

  1. Describe every stakeholders status in your project charter
  2. Get the gist of what a project stakeholder is looking for, and seek their support throughout the process
  3. Highlight what you are bringing up to their streamline, in order to stay connected through the process
  4. Identify their communication approach
  5. Implement your plan with stakeholders

Risk Management:

When you are starting a project, you need to think about the negative scenarios as well. That potentially can be wrong for the project and that is what is known as Risk in the project. Risk management has basic two components:

  1. Risk Management
  2. Risk Acceptance

Risk management is the process of managing the risks, which can be anything related to cost, scope or the schedule of the project.

Wherein the Risk acceptance is the process where you are aware about the particular risks involved in the project but you have to accept those risks, finding the scope more relatable to their targeted audience. 

For example: there is a technical solution or application which requires high end support or with latest settings, the risk acceptance here would be the audience who doesn’t have the required latest mobile phone.

There is a step by step process to identify and manage the potential risks:

  • Identify the Risks: In this step, your team and stakeholders have to brainstorm the potential risk available with the project, product or services provided.
  • Analyze the Risks: Once the identification of the risk is complete, you need to analyze the risk with quantitative and qualitative analysis to discover how much the scope, cost and the schedule of the project is affected.
  • Prioritize the Risks: Risks are not supposed to be handled at one stretch, as they are associated with the multiple phases of the project management. Hence prioritizing the risks is very important.
  • Assign the Risks: The risk handling is very important and has to be done by your team members minimizing the risk.
  • Response to the Risks: Once you prioritize the risks, you need a risk mitigation plan to minimize or remove the risks from your project.
  • Monitor the Risks: Once managed, the team and project management needs to ensure that there are no upcoming risks involved or recurred during the development and execution phase of the project.

These are the important steps taken while ensuing End to End project management. But there are other things as well, to be mindful of, while project management. Let’s have a look at the project methodologies used globally.

RAID in Project Management:

RAID - Risk, Assumption, Issue, Dependency

Risk: As we discussed above Risk is a factor that might affect the project functionality causing the impact on project scope, deadline or the cost, which ultimately leads to the change of quality of the project.

Assumption: Assumption can be true or hypothetical. But when we are talking in terms of project management. Assumptions are important to create a project plan.

Issues: An issue is the problem occurring during plan or during the project. 

Dependency: A dependency is deliverable or a task due to which other tasks in the pipeline are getting affected. 

Change Management:

Change management refers to the changes required in tools and processes in project management. It’s not a common approach yet it’s very crucial when there are sudden or additional changes in project requirements. 

There are 4 types of Change Management:

  1. Anticipatory: This type of change is project management is already predicted before it happens. The plan of this change begins when there is a slight idea of change in the project, then the change manager starts working on the changes.
  2. Reactive: This type of change occurs when no one notices the event coming and there is very less time to plan out the tasks. In that case, a very quick solution is required.
  3. Incremental: This type of a change is a gradual change which happens with time. Incremental changes can be the plan to add an additional feature in the project for an extended project scope and quality. For example: addition of a new feature in Instagram.
  4. Strategic: Strategic change has much impact compared to other changes, being strategized. For example, this change can be adding a whole new technology to the software or application to make a significant impact on the customer base.

Project Management Methodologies:

There is no rule of thumb to use any one methodology for managing a project. It varies depending upon the type of the project in your queue. But when you are entering a project, it is a big question, which project methodology is the best? Well, there is no specific answer for that, but there are a few methodologies used worldwide:

1. Agile Methodology: Agile is one of the most used methods in IT project management. Agile focuses on MVP(Minimum Viable Product) and works towards it in a progressive nature by continuously developing and deploying the projects in pieces. That is how it becomes different from the conventional waterfall method.   

Agile methodology works in sprints which consist of 8-12 days per sprint. During which Scrum Framework and Scrum Rituals are being followed to keep a track of the project scope.

The workflow of the agile is:

Ideation > Sprints > Iteration > Release > Production > Retirement 

The nature of Agile is:

  • Collaborative
  • Quick
  • Progressive or Iterative Approach
  • Open to change
  • Less Documentation

2. Waterfall Methodology : The Waterfall Methodology is the conventional approach of project management. The tasks are being completed in a sequential and linear manner in this method. In which, the last stage has to be completed before the next stage starts, which is a major drawback if you are handling a bigger size project for which you need a progressive approach.

The workflow of Waterfall Method:

  • Requirement Gathering
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Deployment, Maintenance and Feedback

The nature of this project methodology is:

  • Defined End Goal
  • Consistent and Predictable
  • Extensive Documentation
  • Difficult to revamp the project structure in need

3. Lean Methodology: Lean is yet another Project Management which focuses on maximizing value and minimizing the waste.

The nature of Lean Methodology is:

  • More optimized solution
  • Improved value for customer
  • Lesser cost

These are the three main project methodology used all around the IT industry. There are some other methodologies available in the market as well. Depending on your project requirements you know how to choose the best.

Now that you know about the project management methodologies, let’s talk about some of the best project management tools to satisfy your next curiosity.

Project Management Tools:

With the continuous rise and competition in IT, there are many intelligent tools available for your project management. Let’s select the best project management tool for your project:

1. Jira: Atlassian Jira is one of the best tools for project management available in the market due to its collaborative nature. It’s easy and quick for anyone to handle. With numerous features inbuilt for a project management makes it one of the best tools, specifically if you are following Agile Methodology.

It helps for:

  • Backlog Grooming
  • Sprint Planning
  • Version Management
  • Scrum Board
  • Kanban Board
  • Story points and assignment
  • Reports and so much

2. Trello: Trello is an online project management software which provides built-in collaboration tools to work with your teams. It is very simple to use. The user boards, Kanban boards are very straightforward to keep your project tasks organized. The team can collaborate through cards, shared files etc.

It is an excellent and a very cost effective tool to use for your project management tasks.

3. Notion: Notion is yet another brilliant collaborative and project management tool. It has inbuilt templates to manage each and every bit of your project, all you have to do is just enter the relevant information and there you go. It's all ready to keep a good track of your project team’s task lists.

4. Zoho Projects: Zoho projects is one of the popular project management software to keep track of your project’s task, collaborate wisely and run intuitive reports. This tool also provides features of Gantt charts for the project and the capacity to work on multiple projects simultaneously. It has a very impressive communication suite including real time chat forums.

5. Wrike: Wrike is a cloud based project management tool, which provides ease to project planning and helps you to keep a track of your project tasks. It also offers features like Gantt Chart, task management, newsfeed and more. It has numerous integrations to make it a powerful collaborative tool.

Takeaways

End to end project management is a very crucial process. And it ensures that project objectives are met from start to end. The approach is definitely different from project to project but there is a framework followed which is almost the same for all the projects, from collecting requirements to executing. 

Regardless of the outcomes, E2E project management is the key for a project. It helps to innovate, plan, develop and control the project as per your plans. It's an opportunity to maintain the lifecycle of your client’s requirements rather than criticizing later. Also, this event may be used to overcome the mistakes you made in your first projects to serve better in the long run. 

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