Of late, Project Management has gained increasing traction in the industry, and rightly so. Thanks to the Project Management Framework, Project Managers can plan projects systematically and strategically, meet deadlines, and most importantly, not just meet but exceed client expectations.
In simple words, a Project Management Framework refers to a set of methods, procedures, and rules that relate to and cover the entire lifecycle of the project. Essentially, a Project Management Framework defines a project’s charter, scope, and purpose by specifying and delineating the processes, steps, and actions needed to execute the project from initiation to delivery. Thus, a Project Management Framework includes a host of interconnected processes and methods.
A Project Management Framework covers both micro and macro phases of the PM lifecycle. Since all the processes, tasks, roles, and checklists are integrated within a well-structured framework, PM framework gives greater control to Project Managers to administer, monitor, and execute projects successfully. Project Managers use a Project Management Framework to plan, schedule, implement, monitor, and terminate the five major phases of Project Management lifecycle, including:
- Initiation - The first phase of the PM framework is the initiation of the project. In this stage, Project Managers, along with the other relevant stakeholders involved in the project, evaluate and determine the value and feasibility of the project. The two key tools used by Project Managers in this stage are Business Case Document and Feasibility Study.
- Planning - The project planning stage begins as soon as the initiation phase is approved by all the stakeholders involved in a project. This is where the Project Manager plans the details of the project, including its scope, schedule, budget, resources, and risks.
- Execution - As the name suggests, the execution phase is where the plans are put to the test. In this stage, the entire PM team aims to ensure that all the required deliverables are created and completed in due time. This stage involves frequent team meetings to discuss project progress, development updates, and performance reports.
- Performance Control - The fourth phase revolves around monitoring and controlling the project execution performance results. In this phase, PM, along with the team, measures the project progression and performance while ensuring that everything progresses according to the plan. The KPIs used in this phase include project objectives, quality deliverables, cost monitoring, and overall project performance.
- Termination - The project comes to the closure phase once all the deliverables are handed over to the customer/client. After the customer/client has validated and signed off the project as complete, the PM holds a final closure meeting with the team and stakeholders to discuss the experience and close project accounts.
Benefits of Using a Project Management Framework
A Project Management Framework can bring five major benefits to the table, thereby completely redefining how projects are handled, executed, and delivered. The five major benefits of a Project Management Framework are:
- Consistency - One of the most significant benefits of the PM framework is imparting consistency to the project planning and execution. Since a Project Management Framework puts strict emphasis on detailed project planning, the overall approach is consistent and well-defined. Consistency further helps to bring precision and clarity to the project.
- Clarity - In the initial stages itself, a PM framework defines and explains the scope of the project to everyone involved in the project. This leaves no space for confusion and ambiguity as a result of which the project continues to progress according to the plan. Since the team members know what exactly they need to do at each stage, the end results are much more coherent and improved.
- Collaboration - A PM framework readily involves all the stakeholders in a project right at the beginning until the project reaches the final termination stage. Naturally, it encourages collaboration between the members of the PM team and the stakeholders. As a result, everyone involved in the project opts for a cohesive and collaborative approach. This not only helps to finish the project at the desired pace but also significantly improves the quality of the end product.
- Continuity - Since everything is well-defined and planned upfront, a Project Management Framework is all about continuity and efficiency. Thanks to the planning integration, projects can move smoothly from the initiation phase to the termination point. Furthermore, the PM framework facilitates a smooth transition among both new and experienced participants. While it improves the learning curve of new members in the PM team, it strengthens the knowledge of experienced members.
Thus, when a project is completed, and a new project is about to begin, the team members can seamlessly hop on board with the new project since the core framework remains the same.
- Communication - The Project Manager, the PM team, and the stakeholders are all involved closely in a project, and the line of communication always remains open among them. Each stage of the PM framework involves all of them working closely with one another to determine the scope and purpose of the project and also all the processes included in the same. The higher the communication quotient among all the stakeholders, the smoother is the project workflow.
How to Choose a Project Management Framework?
When it comes to choosing a Project Management Framework, it can get overwhelming as the choices are many. However, it doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking decision. Here’s how you can choose the right Project Management Framework for your project:
1. Evaluate the scope and size of the project at hand
The size and scope of a project are two of the major determinants of your choice of a PM framework. A project can be massive, requiring cross-functional teams to work on them and can last up to several years, or it can be a small one requiring around three to four people working on it for a short period.
While large and more complex projects require an extended timeline and elaborate approach to project planning, adaptive PM frameworks like Agile are best suited for such projects. On the other hand, smaller projects with less complicated requirements can do well with rigid methodologies such as waterfall methodology, since there will be no need to change the business requirements to a great extent.
2. Make a list of potential PM frameworks
Once you’ve identified the scope and size of your project, don’t dive in straight with a strict choice of a PM framework. Instead, make a shortlist of all the possible PM frameworks that can gel well with your project. Now, put them against one another and weigh their pros and cons. The aim is to find the PM framework that can best suit your project needs. Your goal is to accomplish the best possible results while minimizing the risks.
3. Acquire buy-in from your team
Although you may have found “the one” (still talking about PM framework) for your project, you cannot be sure that all your teammates will back your choice entirely. This is usually due to different individual perspectives and viewpoints. However, as an able leader, it is your job to listen to the viewpoints of your team members and then get buy-in on your choice. If you don’t acquire buy-in from your team, needless to say, there will be conflicts in the team, and hence, the project won’t progress smoothly.
4. Verify your choice.
After you and your teammates have agreed on the PM framework, you must verify the feasibility of your choice. To do so, you can start by comparing the success rate of the PM framework by assessing the performance and results of previous projects delivered through the same framework.
As the project progresses, ask feedback from your team to see if the PM framework is helping boost their efficiency and if it is improving the quality of the product. Finally, you must conduct a self-assessment test as a Project Manager to check if the PM framework allows you to manage the team and stakeholders efficiently.
If you follow these steps, the process of choosing a PM framework will become so much easier.
Q. What is a Project Delivery Framework?
Answer: A Project Delivery Framework refers to a structured system designed for fostering the best-practices for project management as well as for hosting the entire gamut of the associated documents, templates, and instructions. In this sense, it functions as a project information center that can be tailored to fit the specific requirements of a project.
Q. What is the PMI framework?
Answer: PMI or the Project Management Institute developed a framework containing guidelines for project management professionals. The PMI framework involves a well-defined set of techniques, tools, processes, rules, and methodologies that promote best practices in project management. The PMI framework is today globally acknowledged as the standard PM framework and is used widely all across the world.
Q. What is the difference between a framework and a methodology?
While a framework refers to a basic structure underlying a system or concept, a methodology pertains to a set of principles, practices, and even tools that are used to achieve a particular goal. So, a framework essentially provides a structure or frame to compile a set of ideas, concepts, and principles together. In contrast, a methodology is a more prescriptive way of putting those ideas into place.
Q. Is Scrum a framework or methodology?
Scrum is a tenet of the Agile methodology that is applied to complex projects with dynamic requirements. Although Scrum is widely viewed and known as a methodology, it is actually a framework for Agile development. What makes Scrum unique is the flexibility which allows the customers to change the project requirements at any stage of the project, something that is not possible in traditional approaches.
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