The process of taking a project from an idea to successful completion is a thrilling yet daunting task. But, it all ultimately depends on project execution.
In fact, as per statistics:
- Around 70% of all projects fail.
- Budget overrun is the main reason for project failure for 50% of project managers.
- PMI further states that “37% of projects fail due to the lack of defined project objectives and milestones.”
The learning? Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or a beginner, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to executing a project.
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about project execution–from what it is to how to successfully execute it.
What is project execution?
Project execution refers to the process of carrying out the activities and tasks outlined in the project plan to achieve the project’s objectives.
It comprises four phases:
- Initiation: This phase involves defining the project’s scope, objectives, and stakeholders and identifying the resources required to initiate the project.
- Planning: In this phase, project managers develop a comprehensive project plan that outlines the project’s objectives, scope, schedule, budget, and resources needed to complete the project successfully.
- Execution: This phase involves carrying out the tasks and activities defined in the project plan, coordinating the resources, and monitoring the project’s progress to ensure that it is on track to meet its objectives.
- Closure: The final phase of project execution involves closing out the project by completing any outstanding tasks, conducting a project review, and documenting lessons learned to improve future projects.
What happens during the project execution phase?
During the execution of a project, the actual work of the project is carried out according to the project plan developed during the planning phase.
This is the phase where tasks are assigned, deadlines are met, and milestones are achieved. Some of the key activities that occur during this phase include:
Initiation phase: Initiate workflows + processes
This phase involves identifying the need for the project, defining the project scope, and creating a project charter.
During this phase, workflows and processes are initiated to ensure that the project is properly organized and that all stakeholders are on the same page. This phase sets the stage for the rest of the project and lays the groundwork for successful project management.
Planning phase: create + develop project deliverables
In this phase, the project team creates a detailed project plan that includes all project deliverables, timelines, budget, and resources needed.
The project manager assigns tasks to team members, establishes deadlines, and sets milestones to measure progress. It is essential to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the planning phase to ensure a shared understanding of project objectives and timelines.
Project management execution phase: Tasks + their executions
In this phase, the project team completes the tasks assigned to them according to the project plan.
Tasks are assigned based on the team member’s skills and expertise, and deadlines are met through effective time management and communication. The project manager must monitor progress closely to ensure that tasks are completed on time and within budget. Milestones are achieved throughout this phase as tasks are completed.
Closure phase: Track the progress of your project & tasks
The closure phase involves tracking the progress of the project and its tasks to ensure that everything is completed as planned.
This includes evaluating the project’s success against its original objectives and ensuring that all deliverables are delivered to the stakeholders.
The project manager documents the project’s successes and failures and conducts a final review with the project team to identify lessons learned and best practices for future projects.
Build a project execution plan in 6 steps: Nifty’s foolproof project execution strategies
1. Set goals and timelines
To build a project execution plan, the first step is to define project goals and timelines.
In Nifty, you can create a new project and set a deadline for it. Nifty’s Doc and Deliverables feature allows you to define project deliverables, create collaborative documents, store files in an organized manner, and streamline your creative feedback process:
Nifty also offers an interesting and helpful feature; you can add due dates to your task lists and turn them into milestones to automate their progress as tasks are completed:
This feature comes in handy as milestones are crucial for tracking the progress of the project and ensuring that the project stays on track.
2. Set dependencies
After defining the project’s goals and timelines, the next step is to identify the dependencies among the project tasks. In Nifty, you can create dependencies among tasks, which ensures that the project progresses smoothly and on time.
3. Assign the task to the team
Assigning tasks to the team is a crucial step in executing a project plan. In Nifty, you have to simply tap on the plus icon next to the task, and our platform will automatically show you all the team member’s lists that are added to the project. You can then select the right person for the task and assign it to them.
Here’s something more you can do with Nifty:
- Assign tasks to team members and automate your workflow
- Track team progress
- Collaborate with team members in real-time
- Set task priorities, deadlines, and dependencies
4. Check-in regularly
Checking in regularly on the progress of the project is important to ensure that it is moving forward as planned.
In Nifty, you can monitor the progress of tasks at the task level. You can also set task statuses, such as ‘In Progress,’ ‘Complete,’ or ‘On Hold,’ which helps to track the progress of the project.
Additionally, project managers can close the communication-action gap by creating a task directly from project discussions:
5. Monitor milestone progress
Think of Milestones as your visual project guide. More importantly, it helps automate progress based on task completion. The progress is updated automatically as tasks are completed, which gives you an accurate picture of the project’s status.
In Nifty, you can monitor the progress of milestones on the Milestones screen:
6. Deliver the project
Finally, when the project is complete, you can deliver it to the client or stakeholders. Nifty’s Doc and Deliverables feature empowers you to easily upload project deliverables and share them with the stakeholders. You can also archive the project for future reference.
Challenges you are likely to face
As a project manager or team member, there are several challenges you may face during project execution, such as:
- Resource Constraints: Limited availability of resources, such as people, time, and budget, can make it difficult to complete a project on time and within budget.
- Scope Creep: Changes to the project scope can occur due to unclear requirements, stakeholder expectations, or shifting priorities. Scope creep can lead to delays, increased costs, and decreased quality.
- Communication Issues: Poor communication between team members, stakeholders, and customers can cause misunderstandings, delays, and mistakes.
- Risk Management: Unexpected events, such as project delays, supplier failures, or technical difficulties, can arise during project execution. Managing these risks is critical to project success.
- Stakeholder Management: Keeping all stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the project lifecycle is crucial. However, managing stakeholder expectations and conflicts can be challenging.
- Team Dynamics: Ensuring that team members work together effectively and collaborate to achieve project goals can be difficult, especially when team members have different personalities, work styles, and preferences.
- Technical Challenges: Technical challenges, such as software bugs, hardware failures, or integration issues, can arise during project execution, leading to delays and increased costs.
- Change Management: Changes to the project plan or requirements can be necessary, but managing these changes can be difficult, especially if they affect the project timeline, budget, or scope.
The takeaway: Managing these challenges requires effective project planning, communication, risk management, and stakeholder management skills. It is important to anticipate potential challenges and develop contingency plans to mitigate their impact on project success.
7 Project execution strategies to ace any project
Here are 7 tried & tested project execution strategies to try in 2023:
Strategy 1: Delegate tasks to get work done
Delegating tasks is an essential part of project management.
By delegating tasks to team members, you can:
- Free up your own time to focus on other critical aspects of the project.
- Distribute the workload evenly and utilize the strengths and skills of each team member.
However, make sure to delegate tasks effectively, taking into account the abilities and workload of each team member.
Strategy 2: Empower your team to make decisions
Empowering your team to make decisions can improve their motivation and engagement in the project.
Give your team members more autonomy and increase their sense of ownership and accountability for the project’s success. This also enables them to utilize their expertise and creativity to solve problems and make decisions.
Strategy 3: Use an agile project management tool
Project management tools such as Nifty can help streamline and simplify project management tasks.
This all-purpose tool can help with task management, team collaboration, communication, time tracking, project progress monitoring, budget tracking, and more. Using an agile project management tool like Nifty can save time, improve efficiency, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Strategy 4: Be open to new ideas
Being open to new ideas can improve the quality of the project and lead to innovative solutions.
Encourage team members to share their ideas and perspectives and be receptive to feedback and suggestions. This can create a collaborative environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to contribute their best work.
Strategy 5: Communicate often
Regular and effective communication helps to ensure that everyone is always in the know. It can also prevent misunderstandings and mistakes. Make sure to communicate with team members frequently and clearly, and encourage open communication among team members.
Strategy 6: Keep track of progress & milestones
Use free project management tools like Nifty to monitor progress, track tasks, and keep everyone informed about project status. This enables you to identify issues early and take corrective action before they become bigger problems.
Strategy 7: Don’t fall for scope creep
Scope creep refers to uncontrolled changes or additions to the project’s scope, leading to delays, increased costs, and reduced quality.
Avoid scope creep by clearly defining the project’s scope at the outset and communicating it to all stakeholders. You can use project management tools like Nifty to track changes and ensure that they align with the project’s goals and objectives.
In conclusion, successful project execution requires a combination of careful planning, effective communication, strong leadership, and adaptability.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Start by clearly defining the project goals, scope, timeline, and budget.
- Assemble a team of skilled and motivated individuals with diverse expertise.
- Establish clear lines of communication and regular check-ins to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Continuously monitor progress and adjust plans as needed.
- Foster a positive team culture that encourages collaboration, creativity, and innovation.
- Keep stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the project.
- Celebrate successes and learn from failures to continuously improve.
By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of success and ensure that your project is executed efficiently and effectively. Remember, every project is unique, so be prepared to adapt and iterate as needed to achieve your goals.
Using Nifty for your next project management can ease up a lot of your work! Sign up now, it’s free.
What is project execution?
Project execution refers to the process of carrying out the activities outlined in the project plan. The end goal is to achieve the project objectives within the defined timeline, budget, and scope. It involves coordinating and managing resources, activities, and tasks to ensure that the project deliverables are produced as per the plan.
What are the steps in project execution?
The various steps in project execution typically include the following:
- Launching the project by assembling the project team and communicating the project objectives, scope, and timelines.
- Implementing the project plan and executing the activities/tasks that are laid out in the project plan using the resources available.
- Managing project scope and monitoring the project activities to ensure that they are in line with the project scope (and pivoting as needed).
- Managing project quality to ensure that the project deliverables meet the specified quality standards and that they are fit for their intended purpose.
- Managing project risks that could impact the project objectives and taking appropriate actions to mitigate them.
- Managing project communication and keeping all stakeholders informed about the project status, progress, and any issues/risks that may arise.
- Managing project stakeholders and their expectations, needs, and concerns throughout the project.
- Closing the project formally by documenting the lessons learned and transitioning the deliverables to the client/end-user.
What are examples of project execution?
Examples of project execution can include building a new bridge, developing a new software application, or organizing a large event such as a music festival.
In each of these cases, project execution involves coordinating and managing the activities of a team of people, ensuring that the project deliverables are produced on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.