The success of a project is determined by how its framework is designed, the key elements that are incorporated in it, and the effectiveness of team execution. A project framework serves as a structured guide for achieving the ideal outcome. It should suit the goals of the team and guide all factors to sail in the right direction.
What is a Project Management Framework?
A project management framework provides guidelines and a level of structure and direction on how projects should be managed within an organization. A framework also allows for a level of flexibility to adapt to evolving business needs**.**
What is the Difference Between a Project Framework and a Project Methodology?
A project management framework and methodology are often confused and used interchangeably (and incorrectly). Here are the differences between the two:
A project framework is a set of guidelines or roadmap to managing projects, but also allows for some freedom.
A project methodology is an approach with a clear set of rules, principles, methods, activities, and processes used to manage and execute a project or to solve a specific problem. Methodologies are well defined and repeatable.
When comparing the two, a framework is the roadmap, a methodology is what to do, when to do it, and how to get there.
3 Key Elements of a Project Management Framework
Now that you have a better understanding of what a project management framework actually is, here are the major elements that make one:
- Project lifecycle
- Project control cycle
- Tools, templates, and techniques
Let’s dive into each of these…
The project lifecycle is essentially how you’ll set up your project management framework, which includes several core phases that each project follows.
For example, if we were to follow the traditional project lifecycle, the phases would include the following:
- Monitoring and Controlling
Of course, this is just an example, but while establishing and implementing your project management framework, take the time to answer these questions:
- What life cycle approach is best used for our projects?
- What life cycle approach allows us to create the most accurate project schedule?
- Are shorter, iterative lifecycles best for us to constantly review and adapt?
All in all, a project lifecycle can be predictive or adaptive. It’s best to consider the types of projects you manage, whether or not project requirements are clearly defined and whether or not the client knows exactly what they want, and what the feedback cycles look like. All of these factors play a role in determining the best project management framework.
Project Control Cycle
Regardless of your project lifecycle, monitoring and controlling the project is crucial to keep things on track and respond to and manage risks. This is also where your project management tools come in. Project management software can be utilized to monitor tasks, activity, communication channels, record the progress of your team members, monitor risks, and handle and manage change.
This is also where you would want to integrate some key project management metrics to help you record and monitor the overall success and performance of your framework and project management efforts.
Determining what your project control cycle looks like ultimately depends on several factors, which include:
- The size of your team
- The number of cross-functional teams and departments are involved in various workstreams and processes
- The project lifecycle you choose to build
Tools, Templates, and Techniques
Once you’ve identified the best project lifecycle, management and control methods, now let’s talk about tools, templates, and techniques that can help you put all of this into practice.
Here are some common project management techniques to follow:
- Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)
Here are some tools to help:
- Gantt charts
- Kanban boards
- Sprint schedules
- Project roadmaps
- Work estimation techniques (i.e. measuring ideal days versus story points)
Because your project lifecycle and methodology are cyclical and repeatable, you can develop and use the same templates over and over for your projects. Some examples can include:
- Project management task templates
- Risk register
- Status reports
- Change requests
- QA checklists
- Communication plan and matrix
- RACI chart
- Summary of deliverables
All in all, developing your project lifecycle is the most important to start with as most projects involve many stakeholders, team members, and moving parts.
Project Management Framework Best Practices
Now that you are armed with the information you need to develop your own project management framework, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Document Your Framework
Once you have determined your project lifecycle, project control methods, and the tools and techniques you will use, take the time to document all the elements that make up your framework. Then, communicate this to the team and your stakeholders. This is the first step to bringing order to a project, a team, and the organization.
Build a Communication Plan
Communication is one of the most—if not the most important—element of a project. In larger and more complex projects that involve internal team members; external resources, contractors, and vendors; internal and external stakeholders; reviewers and approvers; and executives, communication and playing the “he said, she said” game can quickly get out of control, and the project can fail.
Do yourself a favor and before beginning any new project, be sure to establish clear guidelines for communication. This includes what channel(s) to use for which types of communication.
For example, you might use Zoom meetings or email to communicate with a customer or external stakeholder, such as a Board member rather than Slack, WhatsApp, or some other information method of communication.
In your communications plan, be sure to also dictate who is responsible for communicating what to which stakeholders. This will help keep everyone on the same page in terms of who is responsible for their lines of communication.
Implement a Project Management System
Now it’s time to implement a project management system to assign, manage, and monitor all tasks, work activities, milestones, and timelines. Be sure to also establish parameters for using project management systems, specifically regarding who will be responsible for overseeing the creation and completion of all tasks, how to communicate within the system, and how project boards are set up, and by whom.
It’s best to select a project management system that offers the level of functionality needed to support your lifecycle, rather than the other way around. The good news is that there are a number of project management tools available; the bad news is that few allow organizations and teams to scale.
Rindle is a highly robust project management and process management system that allows teams to not only build repeatable processes and methodologies but also streamline the project management monitoring and control processes for real-time updates on which work activities and tasks are being performed and completed.
Check out Rindle today for free and see how it can help complement your project management framework.