Project approval items, project life cycle, project reports and metrics

When a project is considered to be undertaken or not, the decision involves a business case, make or buy decision and analyzing the costs vs benefits. The things that need to get approved before a project is executed are:

The work scope, drawings and specifications, the contracts between the buyer and sellers, at a minimum but in almost all cases more items will be needed.

Project Life Cycle:

The main stages of a project from initiation to completion are as follows:

A) Initiation

B) Planning

C) Execution

D) Monitoring & Controlling

E) Closing

During initiation stage the biggest item for a construction project is to produce the plans and specifications, which is a relatively long process.

During the planning stage, a project schedule is produced and a baseline of scope and budget are prepared.

During the execution phase, the project deliverables are produced to achieve the project objectives. This is the actual stage that the work gets done. Whether the work is being done in-house or by the seller, the required resources that were planned before are utilized to perform the project activities. This is the stage that requires the most resources and costs.

Monitoring and controlling: This stage actually happens all the time as a cycle, as we continuously need to check the progress versus the planned work such as baseline.

Closing Stage: At this stage the project is formally closed. The scope is verified for completeness and the delivered project must formally accepted by the buyer. The resources that were performing the project activities and the project team are gradually released from project at this stage. The specified closeout items are prepared, which depends on the project. For example in construction projects, as built drawings, Owner’s manuals of equipment, required training to the owner are examples of these. The project accounts are also formally closed, and the claims on the project are settled between the buyer and the seller.

Project Reports and Metrics:

The monthly cost reports: This is used for communicating to management the performance of the project as far as cost and cost projections into the future. The overall and paid portion of costs as well as the outstanding change orders are taken into account.

Schedule and cost progress reports: These involve comparing the progress of activities with the baseline that was established at the start of the project. An Earned Value analysis should be done, by determining the amount of portion of work that has been completed vs. planned value so that we can determine the schedule and cost variances.

Other reports: There are many types of reports that can be produced in order to measure the progress and communicate it to the management. But the primary ones are the ones that compare the cost and schedule, as we just mentioned.

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