Managing large complex projects from beginning to end can be a challenge for even the most seasoned project manager. However, the widely accepted Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide can assist a project leader in effectively managing complex projects one step at a time. The information is arranged sequentially in “process groups” which cover all details needed to carry out a project from initiation to closing. For project managers in the process of setting new projects into motion, the Executing Process Group can work as a checklist to help make sure the project is off to a strong start.
The overall goal of the Executing Process Group is to set the teams in place to get the work done efficiently and effectively so that the project stays on target with regard to scope and previously agreed upon goals. Teams are set in place to complete work according to stakeholder specifications. At this stage in the work cycle, any areas of risk or concern are mitigated and change requests are addressed.
Across industry, the Executing Process Group entails the following core tasks:
Because the majority of the budget for a project will be spent attending to the details of the execution processes, it is important that project managers have a clear set of goals and a realistic time line from the very beginning. Before the project gets into full swing it is important to check the scheduling and phasing details to be sure that related tasks, such as obtaining permits, can be obtained on time.
Conducting routine quality assurance checks helps a project manager make necessary adjustments when needed. In addition, the quality assurance process also provides data to share with stakeholders to ensure them the project is moving along on time and within budget.
Setting up the best teams possible and taking the time to clearly communicate expectations and timelines is an important part of building project success. Team leaders should understand how their part of the project fits into the larger benchmark goals.
Supporting teams with the tools and knowledge needed to do the job most effectively will contribute to enhanced performance. Building team cohesion and supplying additional training when necessary can also help bolster project success.
Being in tune with teams as they complete their work creates productive synergy between divisions within a project. Team leaders who listen to employee concerns and respond appropriately can directly impact the success of the entire project. Making mid-course adjustments when necessary and mitigating challenges along the way can result in a strong end product.
Routine communication is a detail many less-seasoned project managers can easily overlook. Knowing when to pick up the phone in person to discuss a timeline set back, or when to send an upcoming schedule change by email to another team leader is part of the professional finesse learned over time. Creating efficient flow of communication from the routine to the red flag issues is essential for creating a positive workflow experience for all constituents.
Seasoned project managers understand that managing stakeholder communication is just as important as communicating with teams. Regular communication detailing benchmark goals and responding quickly to any emergent stakeholder concern goes a long way toward a more smooth work flow situation.
Along the way, decisions regarding resource allocation and distribution are necessary in almost every project. Creating the reports and documents necessary to respond to procurement processes helps to ensure the best budgetary decisions throughout the project timeline.
While many professionals new to larger and more complex projects may feel overwhelmed by the many overlapping details and recurring processes, over time a rhythm emerges once a more detailed understanding of general process patterns is mastered. Through professional mentoring and additional career development in best practice project management processes, project managers who desire the opportunity to experience the thrill of handling much larger projects can grow into those roles. With increasing knowledge and skills come additional professional opportunities.