Phases of an IT project

Phases of an IT project

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Software design is a complex process involving many key steps. Successfully delivering a working system according to the agreed deadline requires a careful plan that guides the team step by step. With this approach, the IT service provider is able to minimize the risk of problems arising during system development. It is worth considering what exactly are the stages of an IT project, what methodologies are popular and how to make the right choice for your company's needs. The answers to these questions can be found in the following article.

IT project - definition

An IT project is a comprehensive process involving the planning, design and implementation of an information system, or software. The main goal of this process is to create a working system that meets the customer's specific requirements. A key element to ensure the proper development of the system is the presence of a well-organized IT project that includes individual phases. These phases usually begin with the definition of the project's goal, the client's expectations, and end with implementation, during which the application is tested so that it can eventually be handed over to the client.

Phases of an IT project - methodologies

Project planning is one of the first steps necessary during the execution of a task. A well-organized IT project schedule contributes to the team's full focus on the assigned tasks, eliminating the need to waste valuable time. One of the key elements of an IT project is a set of rules. These must be presented to the entire team so that they can understand them, accept them and start following them while working on the project - these rules are referred to as methodologies. There are many methodologies to support the implementation of the project. Which ones are worth highlighting?

Phases of an IT project according to the PMBOK methodology

The PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) methodology enables the team to maximize the efficiency of project execution, allowing the project to be completed on time and on budget. It is an internationally recognized project management standard that can be adapted to different situations that arise when working on an assignment. Its advantage is its flexibility, allowing it to be adapted to different departments within a company, regardless of the project's affiliation. PMBOK provides important guidance to minimize project risks. What stages of conducting an IT project can be distinguished in this methodology?

  • Initiating the project - launching the project also requires appropriate processes. At this stage, a vision for the project and its main goal are created. Project initiation also raises questions about what the project needs to achieve to be successful, and whether there are potential risks and threats. Initiation is also about establishing the project framework, project milestones, the implementation team and initial costs. The above information helps get final approval to start a new project.
  • Project planning - the time to create a suitable project plan. The second stage is the period in which you assign tasks within the team, determine the activities necessary to complete the assignment, and agree on deadlines and budget. During planning, solutions may emerge that will reduce costs or increase the efficiency of the team. It is important to identify milestones that the team must achieve. Remember, too, that the planning stage offers an opportunity to mitigate risks that arose during project initiation.
  • Execution of the project - this is the key stage, during which the previously planned steps and goals move to concrete implementation. During the execution stage, the entire team is actively involved in carrying out the various tasks necessary to complete the project. It is important to maintain smooth communication between team members, allowing them to exchange information and resolve any problems that arise during the execution of tasks.
  • Project monitoring - in order to track the progress of the project, constant monitoring by the coordinator is necessary. In this way, the entire team is fully aware of the project's progress and any risks that may affect the final outcome. Constant coordination of the project also contributes to a faster response when problems arise. Don't forget your plan and compare it with the current state of the process. The need for corrective action may arise at any time.
  • Project Closure - Every project has a beginning and an end. Despite the obviousness of this stage, project closing processes are also crucial to the final outcome of the product. The finalization must take place according to the predetermined deadlines, and the finished product must pass approval from the client. This allows the contract to be successfully completed. Finally, an analysis of project activities is also recommended. Each project is another experience that may prove useful in the execution of future orders.

IT project life cycle according to PRINCE2

PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) is a project management methodology based on a process approach. The main tenets of this methodology are a focus on continuous order observation and priority risk management. The PRINCE2 method divides a project into several smaller phases, each with clearly defined tasks and responsibilities. It is particularly popular in the UK, where it is a standard in the British government. Before embarking on a project, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with PRINCE2's seven key principles, or principals.

  • Continuous business case - for a product to be developed, it must have a defined customer, address a clearly defined need, show real benefits and have an outlined budget. The information obtained will help assess whether the project has a chance to succeed.
  • Defined roles and responsibilities - clearly defined tasks and responsibilities are the foundation of a smoothly functioning team. These need to be defined early on so that each participant can enter the project with full awareness of their future roles.
  • Focus on deliver ables - a clear, properly prepared product description in advance is an essential part of any project. Ignoring it can result in misunderstanding with stakeholders, who will misinterpret the scope of the project. As a result, there is a risk of delays, new requirements or the need for additional meetings on, for example, quality or cost.
  • Benefit from experience - every experience in a project is valuable. There are many lessons to be learned from each stage of the project that will help solve future tasks. It is a good idea to record the knowledge gained, for example, by keeping a journal describing each day and stage of the project.
  • Management using tolerance - means setting acceptable deviations for various parameters, such as risk, benefit, time, cost and quality. With this practice, it is possible to set boundaries for those responsible for specific tasks, eliminating the need to constantly involve higher positions. In this way, management can manage the lower layers without having to get involved in the finer aspects of the project.
  • Phased management - a large project must be divided into phases. It is between them that there is time for reflection and lessons learned. During this time, you can also analyze whether the work is going according to the plan.
  • Adaptation to the project in a given environment - PRINCE2 is not a ready-made A to Z roadmap. It needs to be tailored to the type and specifics of the project. The methodology is flexible, allowing adaptation to different aspects of the project.

The above seven points help you understand the method and decide whether it is the right solution for your project. These principles will also be helpful for those who decide to implement PRINCE2 into their daily commissioning activities. How are the stages of creating an IT project according to the PRINCE2 methodology?

  • Project preparation - the business case described earlier helps validate the project at this stage and allows for a more detailed outline. With the assumptions of the plan, the team will be able to determine what will be needed to complete the assignment.
  • Initiating the project - at this point it is crucial to identify the characteristics of the project, such as risks, deadlines, benefits, quality, cost and scope. A person is also selected who will create a comprehensive plan and be responsible for coordinating the team's work according to the established recommendations. The project is divided into smaller parts and assigned to the appropriate project team members.
  • Implementation of the project - the implementation stage is not based solely on mechanical fulfillment of individual tasks from the plan. Very important in this phase is the coordination of the project. The person in charge of the team makes sure that the project is carried out according to plan and streamlines it if possible. The manager supervises and manages the progress of each phase. At the end of each phase, a summary is drawn up to help decide whether to continue the work. Lessons learned from this stage support the next steps of the project.
  • Closing the project - in the last stage, it is checked whether the project has achieved the goal set at the beginning. The manager collects all relevant documentation to produce a report. The final phase also includes the handover of the finished product and its evaluation. If everything went well, the project can be recommended for closure.

How to choose the right methodology?

Project coordinators are increasingly choosing to use a single, proven methodology. Nevertheless, it is the nature of the project that should determine the final choice of methodology. Choosing the right methodology depends on a number of project-specific factors. First of all, it is necessary to thoroughly understand and familiarize yourself with the assumptions of a particular methodology. What steps can help in selecting the most appropriate methodology for a project?

  • Gather all relevant information about the project and determine which are the most important,
  • Evaluate the complexity, potential risks, benefits, main objectives, budget and implementation costs of the project,
  • Analyze the team and available resources,
  • Determining the skill level of the team and comparing it with the client's expectations,

This information will be relevant even during the life of the project. The final step is to compare them with the various methodologies and see which one fits best into a particular project.


IT project phases and methodologies are not a one-time exercise that helps manage the project. The course of the project should be monitored and the usefulness of the method should be analyzed on an ongoing basis. In the case of diminishing effectiveness, it is advisable to reanalyze the project and change to a different management method. There are many ways to run projects, but each of them has one rule in common: analyzing and drawing conclusions is the key to effective project management in an organization.

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