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Project management is an increasingly important aspect of business. In any large project, it is vital to have some sort of plan and structure to guide its progress and ensure that it reaches successful completion. The tasks involving such organization and management of the project's time and resources are what comprise project management, and often involve finishing the project on time, remaining within the budget, and completing the work that needs to be done.
Traditionally, project management involves specific stages in the development life cycle. These include initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing. Each is an important step in the process.
Initiation is where the project becomes fully understood. Project managers must take care not to hurry through this step but to spend time carefully analyzing since oversights during this stage can lead to project failure later. Some of the things to consider are the needs and goals of the business, the current operation of the business, how the final product will fit into these operations, projected financial costs, and the final users and support available. A schedule with tasks and deliverables is often drawn up as well.
Actual system design takes place during the planning stage. Usually, the team will create a model of the system and test it on potential users. If it functions well and can be feasibly done within the time and budget constraints, project execution can begin, the stage where the actual product is developed.
After there is a product, it must be monitored to see if it functions as it should. This way, any glaring problems can be fixed. While the largest issues are often corrected up front, this is an ongoing process as end users make use of the product and note any errors or bugs they find. The team will often issue periodic updates for the product to keep it functional.
The final step is the closing of the project. This is where the final acceptance of the project takes place, and the contract officially ends. At this point, the project is complete. Project managers will often make sure the project is properly documented and may discuss with the team some of the key things they have learned during the development process.
A successful project manager will oversee all steps of this development life cycle, ensuring that the final product meets the needs and goals of the business. This results in a satisfied client with a new tool to facilitate their business operations.