March 29, 2024

Know the 5 Phases of Project Management in 2024

A project manager is often a misunderstood hero only recognized for managing deadlines within a project. But in reality, project management is so much more than that.  

Alignment with time, resources, schedule, and business goals are some of the many factors a project manager needs to keep in mind when handling a project.  

Can that be overwhelming? Yes, if you don’t know how to divide projects into logical chunks i.e. project management phases. Breaking up a project into phases provides clarity, control, and high-quality results. Following a specific sequence offers project managers an execution that is as smooth as room temp butter. 

Let’s look at the 5 phases of project management and how following this lifecycle can help you execute projects for maximum success. 

What is a Project Lifecycle?

A project lifecycle is a process that deals with the entire set of phases, from beginning to end for effective project success. This lifecycle and its phases are developed by PMI in the PMBOK or Project Management Book of Knowledge. Lifecycles allow project managers to identify issues/gaps early on and address them promptly. A set sequence helps teams avoid high-risk blockers and ensures smooth workflow. Let’s take a look at what the sequence is. 

Understanding 5 Phases of Project Management

For every project to succeed, it goes through 5 phases: 

  • Project Initiation 
  • Project Planning 
  • Project Execution 
  • Project Monitoring and Controlling 
  • Project Closure 


Now we walk through each phase one by one to understand what they signify in a project. 

What is a Project Lifecycle?

1. Project Initiation

Project initiation is the stepping stone for any project. Your ideas take the form of a viable plan here, by conceptualizing them. This is a chance for you to define stakeholders, project sponsors and begin your initial research. The research must include fundamental questions like: 

  • What purpose does the project fulfill? 
  • Will the project help the company achieve bigger business goals? 
  • How will success look like for this project? 
  • Are there any obstacles the business might face with the project? 

Remember, this step is to check the viability of your plan, and whether it is beneficial to even plan it. So, project managers should not create an in-depth plan at this point.  

After answering the above-given questions, teams should focus on preparing a business case or a project charter. This should define things like timelines, deliverables, and success metrics. The business case should then be approved by the stakeholders so the team can move on to planning. 

2. Project Planning

Following project initiation, where you define the purpose of your project, it’s time to plan how you will navigate it.  

Project planning is all about nailing down minute details. From identifying the needs to successfully execute the project to setting actionable goals, this step is a detailed breakdown of all the steps needed to accomplish the project’s goals successfully.  

Planning a project typically takes up a third of the project timeline. Some important details a project manager addresses here are: 

  • What is the main goal of the project? 
  • How big is the scope of this project? 
  • What budget should be allocated to the project? 
  • Which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) should be measured for the project? 
  • What is the number of team members involved in the project? 
  • What are their responsibilities? 
  • Which milestones does the project need to meet in a specific period of time? 

Defining these metrics can be tricky if project managers do not have a clear goal in mind. For a clear and actionable plan, there are two frameworks you can use. 

a) S.M.A.R.T Goals

The acronym S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This is a framework that promotes: 

  • Specific: Set specific goals that answer questions like what, why, when, how, who, and where.  
  • Measurable: It is easy to get away from the goals in a project with a big scope and thus measure it for success. So, this step provides a pre-defined criteria that project managers can use to measure success. 
  • Achievable: In this step, project managers identify the key goals within the project and how to achieve them. 
  • Relevant: The action plans a project manager creates should be relevant to end goals. This step defines the relevance and whether those action points are realistic. 
  • Time-Bound: In this step, project managers develop a timeframe that helps their team stay on track and reach their goals. 


The S.M.A.R.T framework improves team collaboration, defines a clear project roadmap, and results in easily trackable metrics.  

b) C.L.E.A.R Goals

C.L.E.A.R. is an acronym that stands for collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable, and reliable. This strategy focuses on higher team collaboration to achieve project and business goals in a fast-paced work environment.  

Here the entire team is encouraged to maintain communication on updates via collaboration. This must be done within a limited amount of time and with limited resources to achieve accurate results. To achieve high-quality results, this framework ensures that the team is emotionally invested and interested in the work they do. The team’s passion plays an important role in the success of this method. 

Alongside these metrics, the goals set for this methodology should be broken into appreciable and achievable chunks. They should be easily refinable in case of new developments, so the project’s progress is not hindered. 

3. Project Execution

Project execution is the most happening stage in the 5 phases of project management. This is where all the actual, practical work gets done. In this phase, teams develop their plans and execute them for tangible results.  

A project manager’s duties at this stage are as follows: 

  • Make your team familiar with the project plan 
  • Create a clear work plan and provide resources to support it 
  • Ensure the project plan is executed 
  • Maintain track of time, resources, and goals 
  • Divide work into clear and achievable goals 
  • Form systems to track progress 
  • Update your project schedule as per the need 
  • Keep all the team members and stakeholders in the loop about the project’s progress 
  • Schedule status meetings 


Project execution is a step that has n number of details to juggle. An efficient way project managers can keep track of all the progress is by using a project management software that tracks all the metrics including task progress, budget, and time on one single platform. 

4. Project Monitoring and Controlling

Project monitoring and controlling generally work alongside stage three of the project management phases. This step ensures that the project is going as per the plan, if all the KPIs are being met, and if there needs to be course correction within any team. 

Some common KPIs that project managers reflect during this stage are: 

  • If the project objectives are being met 
  • If the quality of the tasks delivered is as per the standard 
  • If the resource effort and costs are accounted for 
  • If the changes in the project are being communicated and monitored 


During this stage, project managers maintain communication, adjust timelines, and keep the project on track by making necessary changes in the plan. 

5. Project Closure

Closure is the last step of the 5phases of project management. This is the stage where project managers need to hand over their deliverables to the stakeholders for final approval. During this stage, the team typically dissolves and third-party contractures, if any, are terminated. 

The process of closure involves the project manager conducting one final review of all the key documents. They also make a notation of all the key lessons from the project and collect important data that can be utilized in the future. 

Simplify Your Projects

A popular way to streamline your projects is by subscribing to a work management software like By breaking lengthy processes into smaller, actionable tasks, you can introduce familiarity in your projects. Instead of juggling between Excel, emails, and sticky notes, it is time to bring all your data to a single source of truth.