Regardless of its size or scope, a project is a collection of actions that must be completed in order to accomplish a certain goal or effect. A project is described as "a temporary endeavour completed to create a unique product, service, or result" by the Project Management Institute. Regardless of the complexity of the projects, all tasks may be broken down into goals to help us better understand how to carry them out.
The most crucial stage of a project's life cycle is project execution. The competence and capability of an organisation to plan, organize, and carry out a project from beginning to end while achieving the project's objectives is a necessary component of a successful project execution. Collaboration, planning, and effective time management are typically part of this project execution.
Project execution is the stage in the project life cycle where the project plan is actually implemented, and the team’s efforts are put toward moving forward with the plan. This stage comes after project scheduling and project planning. Enroll in Project Manager course crafted by the best professionals and gain practical as well as theoretical knowledge about this field.
What is Project Execution?
Project execution is the stage in the project life cycle where the work is performed, and the project plan is put into action. Project execution is the third stage of the project life cycle, succeeding the stages ‘Initiation’ and ‘Planning’ and preceding the stage- ‘Closure.’
However, to execute a project without chaos, a project execution plan is necessary. A project execution plan guides your team toward completing the objectives of the project while following the specifications provided. Following the execution of projects plan helps teams deal with project expectations, requirements of the client, the key presentation markers, what deterrents are to be avoided, and dealt with. To receive some efficient guidance, and learn more about project execution, check out PMP online classes.
Actions Required for Project Execution
The project execution phase involves performing a series of activities or what is known as the project execution steps to achieve the project execution plan. These may be subjective based on the organization's governance model but, at the minimum, would involve:
1. Initiating Workflows and Processes
The execution phase of project management commences with setting up the workflows and processes to kick-start the project by putting the plan into action. This step involves closely working with the project stakeholders, setting up workflows, optimizing them, complying with milestones and deadlines, and avoiding impediments or bottlenecks as the project progresses forward.
2. Creating and Developing Project Deliverables
Project execution plan steps are undertaken to develop project deliverables that aid in meeting the established objectives and delivering value to the project stakeholders. The workflows established in the earlier step are optimized to focus on strengthening the delivery framework of the organization.
3. Conducting Regular Meetings and Project-related Communication
No activity can be completed in silos or without taking the team together. Hence a collaborative and coordinated effort is required to achieve project objectives and create the required deliverables. This is achieved through establishing a communication matrix, setting up required meetings, and keeping stakeholders informed on the project's progress.
4. Tracking Progress of Project Tasks
The success of project execution depends on tracking the progress of an individual or work package level tasks and activities to ensure that the overall project is progressing as per the plan and no challenges are foreseen in achieving the desired goals. Learn the actions required for project execution along with gaining the all-round knowledge of project management with accredited PMP certification programs.
Project Execution Steps?
To ensure that the project is executed flawlessly, and fulfills all its preset objectives and requirements, there are a few project execution steps that a project manager can follow. These steps are spread out throughout the project plan, and are implemented according to the nature of the project or task at hand.
Following are the steps that you can implement during a project execution:
1. Create Tasks
Creating tasks according to the project plan is the initial step in project execution. Begin by making a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) that breaks down the project into small tasks- that can be easily handled and executed within set timelines. To ensure that a streamlined approach is adopted by the team towards task completion; the project manager can also define the specifications for each subtask and add the needful within the execution of projects plan.
2. Setup the Timeline
Setting up realistic deadlines can ensure better utilization of resources, productivity and overall efficiency during project execution. Without a timeline, completion of tasks and fulfillment of objectives might end up being chaotic and probably difficult to achieve; therefore, assigning start and finish dates to the tasks is advised. Regardless of the size and volume of the project, a manager must set a sensible cutoff time for each errand. That said, the timeline for individual task completion can also be considered based on priority, significance, difficulty level, and other factors.
3. Assign Tasks to the Team
Setting up timelines within the project plan is followed by assigning tasks to the team members. Task allocation is the third step of project execution. This step involves providing a detailed brief of the task, including client specifications, task expectations, execution guidelines, etc., along with assigning various assignments to everyone, which is to be executed within a fixed deadline.
4. Track the Progress of Your Project Tasks
Tracking the advancement of the tasks delegated to your team members is essential. It helps you foresee if the project can be executed within the decided deadline. Besides tracking progress also helps managers understand the capabilities of the team members better and identify bottlenecks. Checking the progress daily and generating weekly progress reports can also benefit the project execution.
5. Communicate Regularly
Communication assumes a vital part during project execution phase. Rather than picking various instruments for correspondence, utilize one work-the-board apparatus that empowers continuous discussions with talks, calls, and video meetings. Normal gatherings with your group to measure the advancement of individual tasks and the situation with the general venture are fundamental.
6. Engage with External Stakeholders
While executing the project, remember to remain in constant communication with the external stakeholders and clients and share the progress with them. This helps us to understand their requirements better, which in turn helps with better execution of the project. Constant feedback from the client during the execution is essential since it can provide useful insight into the project.
7. Schedule Changes Effectively
A discussion about the changes, i.e., why the changes are required, what was expected from the client’s end, and by when are they expecting the revisions, is vital prior to performing iterations in the project.
Additionally, appointing the right resources, as per the task, can help you make changes efficiently. You can identify individuals in your team who can handle challenges and can manage multiple tasks to communicate with during the project execution. They are the ones who can take on responsibilities and can handle the iterations competently.
Following are the top project execution tools that can assist you with making smooth, useful work processes, collaborating with your team, clients, and stakeholders, tracking project progress, assigning tasks, and more.
To maintain your team's task records, manage work processes, coordinate with team members, discuss ideas, etc., all under a single platform- ProofHub may simply be the tool you've been looking for. The tool offers dynamic features that provide organizations with means to effortlessly collaborate with each other, and share details, besides planning, organizing, and delivering projects.
With ProofHub, you can proactively plan and efficiently oversee all the assigned tasks within one or multiple projects and ensure easy coordination among teammates.
2. Kanban Tool
Suitably named, this kanban project management tool gives you smoothed-out project visuals to see your task status and progress throughout execution. Get a deeper insight into your work process, track project progress, oversee it from beginning to end, and give your colleagues and clients a detailed, easy-to-follow approach for remote collaboration.
Kintone is an application that is especially useful for projects requiring custom work processes. It offers various cutting-edge features that empower project administrators to structure applications from the ground up. On the other hand, you can save time by using its entirely supplied library of templates.
GanttPro is a project planning tool that is great for those who love using Gantt charts for project planning. Its central dashboard provides project managers and their teams with a single location to manage project progress, assign tasks, and collaborate. The result is a more agile work-management process where everyone focuses on the main tasks.
Kissflow is a no-code, low-code project application that offers customizable features suitable for on-location, remote, and other teams. Its features allow project managers to drive their own insight, making it easy for project teams to share information, stay informed about progress, and measure project analysis through various visually engaging options.
Teamwork is an ideal project management tool for quick-moving teams. This application puts your project management efforts in a good position and helps you save time while improving processes. It also allows you to build colleague and client arrangements all along, which creates a positive client experience.
Runn is a user-friendly application that helps project supervisors stay informed about the task's progress and their colleagues' commitments. Packed with helpful features, Runn boasts forecasting and time-tracking abilities, along with easy methods for booking and tracking tasks. Getting ahead of the gaps in your tasks early can assist you in knowing how to delegate work and set boundaries.
Project management and, in particular, project execution is no mean feat, and no one size fits all approach when it comes to successfully delivering projects. Project management software, also referred to as PM systems, usually take away the grin from managing projects by automating, scheduling, and tracking mundane tasks, setting up efficient workflows, and managing task-level updates to represent the bigger picture at any point in time.
Here are some key benefits PM software/systems bring in to support the execution phase in project management:
- Improved structuring of project activities to minimize rework/wastage
- Tracking of activities and progress to sort out dependencies/blockers
- Support effective breakdown of tasks and establishment of links to review tasks
- Enable efficiency in reporting project status with readily available supporting information
- Effective risk management, mitigation of risks, and change management
- More collaboration among team members and stakeholders
- Better visibility and management of project baselines
- Improvement in overall project governance to better manage entry/exit criteria across project phases and ensure smooth transitions
No matter how best recognized or supporting the tool is, getting the foundational understanding of project management is the key to operate in today's competitive and complex environment. Master tools, processes and practices of project management by upgrading your career with the PRINCE2 certificate in Project Management. Getting a foundational understanding of setting up project management tools and processes goes a long way in helping project execution flow smooth without any slippages or hiccups.
Using Project Managers for Project Execution
The project execution stage is the longest stage in the project life cycle. It consumes most resources, energy, and assets. Deploying experienced project managers are advised for profitable project execution, understanding client requirements, and managing changes and feedback throughout the project life cycle.
Appointing project managers who can screen and control the project during all stages is important. They should also have ample understanding and experience in dealing with various stages of project execution. Knowledge of these stages assists them with managing timelines, resource costs, delivered quality of the project, changes, and issues. It also helps them with assigning tasks as per the capabilities of each individual, client acknowledgment, and internal, external correspondence.
Additionally, project managers should be equipped to plan, understand, define, and execute the scope of tasks for their teams. Besides, they should also have the knowledge to communicate with their clients regarding any doubts, issues, or bottlenecks that the team encounters throughout the execution. To learn about project management and become a certified project manager, you can go for accredited PRINCE2 certification and land the best opportunities.
Project Execution Challenges
Despite a plethora of project management tools, multiple resources, and flexible management methodologies and training provided to employees, companies still face countless challenges during project execution and often struggle to close a project with zero or fewer casualties. Following are a few common challenges that are often faced during project execution:
Challenge 1: Execution Gaps and Unrealistic Expectations
Simply put, an execution or strategy gap is a significant lag or ‘disconnect’ between the project plan, “the vision,” and its execution, “the reality.” It can be caused due to numerous reasons, such as inadequate resources, unforeseen problems, and other priorities. As per the 2018 survey by the Project Management Institute, over 20% of projects fail due to a scarcity of reliable resources.
Overcoming execution gaps can be a huge challenge, but not impossible. Project managers can try to anticipate future bottlenecks and new/urgent projects and manage their resources accordingly. They can also set their delivery timelines with the client as per the team’s bandwidth and probably maintain a buffer for any unforeseen issues.
Challenge 2: Lack of Leadership and Accountability
When tasks are delayed, deadlines are missed, or there's no time left, blame-shifting often occurs. This leads to unnecessary conflicts, stress, and ultimately, a lower quality end product. To address this, project managers and higher-ups should take control and be accountable. Additionally, project management software that tracks project progress can be a huge help in keeping everyone on the same page and ensuring accountability.
Challenge 3: Inflexibility
Unexpected events are a part of life, but what happens if a team member unexpectedly leaves the project or a go-to colleague is unavailable? What if a deliverable falls short of quality standards? The project should not be doomed to fail, right? To address this challenge, it's important to include a built-in buffer time into your project plan to help you deal with unexpected events and changes.
Challenge 4: Communication Breakdowns
Too many meetings and unnecessary check-ins can drain your project resources. Meetings that could have been handled through email can waste valuable time and reduce productivity. To address this, project communication plans should focus on effective communication strategies that improve collaboration and quality of work, without draining the team's time and resources.
Strategic Tips to Improve Project Execution
Even the most experienced project managers need to keep their mind open to new approaches and techniques to improve their project management and execution skills. Let us have a look at a few techniques that have proven to be beneficial and effective for project execution:
1. Start with the End in Mind
It is crucial to adjust your approach to the expected results. A lack of clearly defined objectives is a major obstacle to going from idea to execution. Project managers cannot be expected to adopt a project execution methodology and lead their ventures with any level of meaningful commitment if the chiefs cannot define what they want to accomplish.
2. Get buy-in from your Core Team
A clear project garners the upfront investment from your team and stakeholders. Understanding the vision behind critical decisions gives the core team a deeper understanding of how their input and work will contribute to the larger whole. Utilizing collaborative project management software is an ideal way to keep everyone working together while keeping sight of essential goals.
3. Project Leaders Bring their Projects Across the Finish Line
To ensure that the methodologies get off the ground, it is essential to have the resources with the right skills to handle the task. The ability to empathize with people and mindfulness continue to be essential skills for project leaders.
4. Build a high-performing Team
Aim to build a highly qualified team that can help define the right techniques and solutions for your projects and methodologies. Project leaders who can align their vision and work to their teams will successfully deliver key projects and ventures. Thus, the alignment of vision and strategy execution will help you close those gaps.
5. Monitor Progress and Execution Through Accountability
Executing any process involves meetings to discuss the various projects and ventures that are required. Communicate information to all key stakeholders, sponsors, and team members. Meetings are an excellent way to solidify agreements, report significant items, identify issues, and hold your team accountable to deliver a quality product.
Project Execution Plan Template
The project execution model fills in as the principal correspondence element to guarantee that all team members are work like a well-oiled machine, in full coordination and aware of what is needed from them, as per each task, and have significant knowledge of its execution, specifications, timelines, etc.
Project Execution Plan Example
We have gathered the most efficient templates for project execution plans to simplify the process of carrying out projects.
Elements of a Project Execution Plan
Project execution plans (PEPs) offer a structure for successful project planning and implementation. Similar to project status reports, PEPs indicate which elements are progressing as planned or facing potential issues, allowing you to address them before beginning the execution phase.
You can modify the PEP template to suit your needs. Although Project execution plan templates may differ, they generally consist of the following sections:
- Project Overview
- Project Scope
- Project Goals
- Quality Specifications
- Technical Specifications
- Resource Allocation
- Project Schedule
- Communication Plan
Additionally, PEPs often include the following project-execution components:
- Task Name
- Task Description
- Task Owner
Benefits of Having Strong Project Execution Plan
Successful project execution in project management is the result of a comprehensive, strong project execution plan along with reliable and capable resources, and efficient completion of tasks and iterations.
A project execution plan (PEP) is a document that defines each stage of the project life cycle in detail and includes each delegation of the tasks, along with timelines, contractual requirements, project guidelines, budget allocation, resources, collaboration strategy, and more. With a clear, thorough project execution plan in place, you can ensure that your project is executed within all the preset parameters.
Five benefits of having a strong project execution plan are:
- Clear, coordinated plans further enhance team collaboration and reduce unnecessary confusion or changes from the client’s side.
- Individually allocating every task eases the process of completion and helps in utilizing resources efficiently.
- Defined objectives and criteria help increase team efficiency and reduce the chances of delays.
- Creating an extensive project execution plan keeps your group well-coordinated and focused.
- A PEP also allows managers to easily track the progress of the project and update their clients accordingly.
Project execution is the most crucial and lengthy stage in the project life cycle. It not only involves troubleshooting, allocating the right resources, overseeing costs, and handling client expectations, but it also requires a steady command over the team, an extensive understanding of its combined skillset and capabilities, along with communication skills and knowledge of management.
While the primary objective of project management is to deliver results as per the client’s specifications, there are other underlying purposes, including proper utilization of resources, providing guidance to the team, being organized throughout the execution, and more.
With a competent project execution plan and an experienced project manager, teams can achieve perfect outcomes within a budget. Enroll yourself in KnowledgeHut's courses for Project Managers and lead the project teams to success.