What is a Project Management Framework?

CAREER ADVICE, PROJECT MANAGEMENT   |   3 minutes  |   March 25, 2019

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“Project management is on the rise”. That’s according to the Project Management Institute who completed a study in 2017 on project management’s job growth and talent gap in 11 countries.1 According to their findings, by the year 2027, employers will require more than 87 million individuals to fill project management-oriented roles, and that includes the need for entry-level positions, as well as those within a large variety of industries.2

This industry has grown from being a specific career to a practice that forms a part of the large majority of sectors. The leading markets where project management positions are in high demand include:3

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A large reason for why project management is making its way into almost every industry is because the world economy has become project-focused. Essentially, anything considered to be not a routine operation, is a project.4 By adopting project management strategies and frameworks such as stipulating clear deliverables and outlining a working schedule, operations can be managed more effectively.5

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, considered as being a world leader in Project Management and Strategy Implementation and a past Chair of the Project Management Institute, said at the Speakers for the 2017 European Business Forum, “Ideas, without a project, is just wishful thinking”.6 There has been a paradigm shift in the world of business in that project management is no longer an addition, but a priority, and in some cases, an essential part of the organisation.

While the role of the Project Manager has changed dramatically over the past decade, due largely to the infiltration of emerging technologies, the basics remain the same. An example of one of the primary tools every project manager will utilise, is the project management framework. This framework combines a number of tools and processes to ensure a project runs smoothly from start to finish. This framework consists of six stages involving different types of methodology.

Ideas, without a project, is just wishful thinking.

Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

Depending on the company, this framework may have different names for the different stages, but the six examples below include all the basic elements. These are:

1. The initiation stage

This refers to the launch of a project. The stakeholders are identified, the scope and objectives are defined, and the project need is clarified.7 It’s during this stage that the feasibility of the project is measured, and the project partners begin collaborating with one another. The main deliverable at this stage is starting the project.

2. The planning stage

This is the period when all the decisions are finalised, and the project solution is developed. The team will develop a project schedule and corresponding timeline, and determine which materials will be needed. Potential threats that could extend the project timeline, or prevent tasks from being completed within budget, are identified.8 The main deliverable at this stage is creating a set of plans.

3. The execution stage

The project will move on to design and development. This is often the longest stage in the framework, and it involves developing the deliverables according to the project plan. At this point, the team will often use status reports and hold regular meetings with project sponsors and key stakeholders to evaluate project progress.9 The main deliverable at this stage is to get the intended product or service approved.

4. The control stage

This is the adjustment stage when project stakeholders will take corrective actions in response to deviations from budget, timelines, and scope.10 The Project Manager might re-evaluate resource levels, monitor the project goals, and set up meetings with stakeholders to have changes approved. The main deliverable at this stage is progress reporting.

5. The monitoring stage

It is at this point that the performance of the project as a whole is evaluated. The Project Manager will use key performance indicators (used to evaluate the success of an objective) to determine if the project is on track. Factors that will be monitored include: whether the project is within budget; if the project is following the stipulated schedule, and any changes to the project scope.11 The main deliverable at this stage is measuring project performance and progression.

6. The termination stage

A successful project comes to an end once it has met all of its deliverables. The lessons learned will be gathered from all stakeholders and documented.12 This ‘lessons learned’ document serves as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes, and implement successful practices for future projects. All administrative tasks such as closing of contracts will also need to be completed at this stage.

Traditional project management processes are continually evolving as new practices are adopted. Striking the right balance between embracing these modern tools, and the classic, tried-and-trusted methodologies, will be a great challenge for working professionals in this industry. The project management framework allows for a subset of tasks to be created to develop structure and organisation, and for best practises to be developed. At the end of this process, a Project Manager can be sure to deliver a project within budget and deadline.13

  • 1 (May, 2017). ‘Project management job growth and talent gap 2017–2027’. Retrieved from PMI.
  • 2 (May, 2017). ‘Project management job growth and talent gap 2017–2027’. Retrieved from PMI.
  • 3 (May, 2017). ‘Project management job growth and talent gap 2017–2027’. Retrieved from PMI.
  • 4 (Nd). ‘What is project management?’ Retrieved from PMI.
  • 5 Nieto-Rodriguez, A. (Sep, 2017). ‘Is everything becoming a project?’ Retrieved from CIO.
  • 6 Nieto-Rodriguez, A. (Jun, 2017). ‘Trending topic – the project economy’. Retrieved from Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez.
  • 7 (Nd). ‘Project initiation phase’. Retrieved from Method123.
  • 8 Payne, B & Watt, A. (Nd). ‘3. The project life cycle (phases)’. Retrieved from BC Campus.
  • 9 (Nd). ‘Chapter-9 Execution in project management’. Retrieved from Orange Scrum.
  • 10 (Nd). ‘Monitoring & controlling phase of project management’. Retrieved from Study.com.
  • 11 (Nd). ‘Demystifying the 5 phases of project management’. Retrieved from Smartsheet.
  • 12 (Mar, 2017). ‘Project closure phase: 8 steps of closing process group’. Retrieved from Master of Project.
  • 13 Payne, B & Watt, A. (Nd). ‘3. The project life cycle (phases)’. Retrieved from BC Campus.