Project Management

Project Management PlanAlmost every organization faces problems that require some kind of project management to resolve.  Sometimes the problem-solving effort is formalized into a well defined project, while at other times problem-solving is more flexible and informal.   Projects typically address one or more of these four basic objectives:

  • Create change
  • Implement strategic plans
  • Fulfill contractual agreements
  • Solve a specific problem

Some projects are highly complex and require a great deal of effort to initiate, plan and track results.  Less complex projects still require a certain level of communication and planning.

Project Planning Steps

plan cycle

Regardless of the complexity, project planning and implementation must go through some very defined steps.

Initiate or Concept

At this step, the project is conceived and the goals are determined by the management team.  The team selects the project manager and defines the scope of the project.  Formal authority is given to proceed with the project.  A Project Charter is developed by Management Team and the Project Manager to formalize the basic understanding of the project.


In this step, the project is planned and a Work Breakdown Structure is developed to guide the project.  Schedules, budgets and team roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and approved.  Decision are made at this stage whether to make or buy components of the project and determine outside resource requirements.

Implement or Execute

A plan that sits on the shelf does no one any good.  The plan must be executed which includes arranging and managing contracts, identifying problems as their occur as the work breakdown structure is implemented, and identifying and managing risk.  Schedules are often adjusted and resources realigned to meet the demands of the project.

Analyze Results and Implement Controls

No project plan is executed flawlessly.  In this step, issues with the implementation and design of the project are identified and corrected.  Monitoring of the schedule, risk, resources and budget all occur.  Once the project  is completed successfully, controls are put into place to ensure the results of the project are maintained.


This step is often ignored, however, a formal closing of the project helps to ensure that future projects are more successful and that the team members and stakeholders are rewarded and communicated with.

Project Manager

Too much workOrganizations employ Project Managers to work through a formal process to achieve the project’s goals and objectives. Project Managers can be professionals with experience and training. For example, the Project Management Institute provides a professional certification, the PMP® for those who pass their exhaustive requirements.

Or Project Managers can be drawn from the people available within the organization. Companies often just ask a subject matter expert (SME) to be in charge of a project. SME’s often have the knowledge and background about the project requirements or business needs. However, they may not have the right skills to lead the project team in completing the project successfully.

Organizations often obtain outside help and support for projects from consultants or consulting firms.  If you are a small or medium-sized business, you probably can’t afford to hire a consulting firm.  You can afford to hire a part-time coach and consultant to guide your internal resources through the challenges and pitfalls of a project.  A Project Management Consultant can provide services like:

  • Project document reviews for completeness and to provide expert opinion and suggestions to improve your project.
  • Fresh eyes to look at your challenges with a different lens and provide you with creative ideas for resolving those challenges based upon the experience of the project manager.
  • Help to avoid wasting time and energy on activities that are not important, or will cost you money unnecessarily.
  • Help the team to communicate more effectively and work together to achieve your organization’s goals.
  • Coach your project managers so they learn by doing and receive constructive feedback for long-term growth.

Project Lifecycle Coaching

Lifecycle CoachProjects have a life cycle. They move from Initiation to Planning to Executing to Monitoring/Control through Closing. At each step of this Life Cycle, challenges can occur. Project Life Cycle Coaching is the process where, together, we talk through your challenges, review relevant data, and arrive at a solution you can live with.

For example, in the Initiation Phase, project managers must ensure they have stakeholder commitment, a clear business case, and defined goals and objectives. If any of these items are incomplete or missing, you will have difficulty completing the project successfully. Sometimes these documents are many pages long, other times a one or two page document is sufficient. As your Project Life Cycle Coach, we review your documents and ensure you have developed a strong business case and objectives so that you can obtain stakeholder commitment before your project begins.

“Coaching” is the practice of helping people to identify and describe their professional challenges, goals and desires and providing support through conversations and examples. A coach usually helps individuals or teams to work through their problems and challenges to arrive at the best solutions possible. Occasionally, a coach will need to step in and lead the team or individual through the process – providing learning by example.

Who Can Benefit From Coaching?

Project Managers, whether they are new to project management, have some project management experience, or are a subject matter expert can benefit from coaching. The important thing to consider is whether they view coaching as a positive or negative. Organizations that provide regular coaching to their employees have a culture whereby coaching is considered positive and will be effective. If your organization views coaching as punishment or a negative, then coaching will not be as effective as it could be.

Contact Us

At Miller Productivity, we provide Project Lifecycle Coaching and Consulting services.  We are happy to speak with you about your project needs and how we can be of assistance.  Schedule a free consultation using the contact form in the sidebar, or send us an email from our Contact page and we will get back to you as soon as we can.