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Our team of certified consultants provides training and remote support to clients around the globe, improving their Project Management, Workflow and Process Management.

Smarter Business Processes is Cyber Certified

Emma Stevens

Office Manager

Emma has 27 years of financial and customer experience and brings processes and order to our office.

Emma's customer service knowledge ensures all of our clients office enquiries are dealt with professionally, efficiently and quickly. She will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of a query!

When not at her desk Emma enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter as well running Brownies and Rainbows for Girlguiding UK in her local area.

Etienne Mermillod

Software Development Manager

Etienne is a seasoned ASP.NET Core Full Stack Developer. He takes great pride in building world-class applications while carefully considering the needs of its users and ease of use.

Originally from France, Etienne now calls Canada Home, where he is part of SBP Canada as a member of the API Solutions Development Team.

Etienne is a well-seasoned traveler and has visited many countries where he usually takes the path less traveled in order to backpack around and soak in the local cultures.

When not coding away, you may expect Etienne to be playing with his huge and fluffy dog Indianna or gaming away on League of Legends

David Bower

Smartsheet and AppSheet Consultant

David is an experienced Smartsheet Consultant, Customer Care Specialist and Client Account Manager.

In his spare time, David plays guitar, is learning to ride a motorcycle and, when it’s not too cold, can often be found tinkering in the garage. He also intends to learn to play the piano too - one day

Debbie Sawyer

Chief Smartsheet Solutions Officer (CSSO)

BSc (Hons) Computing, ITIL Foundation, Smartsheet Certified User, Aligned Sales Certified and Professional Services Certified.

Seasoned Smartsheet consultant and Training professional, Debbie’s creativity, attention to detail, willingness to deliver solutions to fully meet customer requirements and her personable manner earn her excellent client feedback.

When not working, Debbie likes to relax by spending quality time with her family. Living in the New Forest sees her taking many walks through the woods and down to the sea fronts at Lepe and Calshot. Debbie is also a keen hula hooper and has been hooping now for more than 7 years! She owns at least 10 hoops and enjoys a great workout helping her friend to run a hula hoop fitness class.

Dr James Harris

Chief Technology Officer

An experienced IT professional, James has worked for software companies as a Programmer and Test Analyst. He also has extensive experience as a Finance Manager. James brings an attention to detail and flair for problem solving to every project.

Outside of work, James writes comedy, and has had many television credits over the past couple of decades on shows such as Horrible Histories and Russell Howard's Good News. He retains a burning ambition to be as funny as his wife and daughter.

Ph.D. Biochemical Physics, IT and Accounting professional.

Gwen Rymill

Communications Director

Co-founder of Smarter Business Processes, Gwen’s multi tasking roles include ensuring our clients receive the very best in customer care, while responsible for sales and marketing and partner liaison. Just don’t expect to get the cup of tea she promised you!

Away from work Gwen enjoys cycling, pilates, tap dancing and just loves baking.

Richard Rymill

CEO

Co-Founder and Lead Consultant, Richard set up SBP in response to worldwide demand from businesses wanting to implement their own Smarter Business Processes. His rapidly expanding team of experienced Smartsheet and AppSheet Consultants and Trainers share the company's values of achieving improved efficiencies and collaboration by putting people first and releasing them from unnecessary repetitive activities so they can enjoy their work again and focus on what matters to them.

When not at his desk, Richard can be found cycling, swimming and when the opportunity permits, sailing and flying.

Demystifying the 5 Phases of Project Management

By Emily Esposito

At the root of any successful project is a project manager (PM) worth his or her weight in gold. While some people think a project manager’s sole job is to remind everyone about deadlines and set up status meeting, that’s simply not the case.

There is a science to what they do – they have a deep understanding of and can perfectly execute the five phases of project management. In this article, we’ll cover what each of these phases entail and share tips for boosting success during each stage.

5 Phases of Project Management

According to PMI, “project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of a particular project.”

Phase 1: Project Initiation

This is the start of the project, and the goal of this phase is to define the project at a broad level. This phase usually begins with a business case. This is when you will research whether the project is feasible and if it should be undertaken. If feasibility testing needs to be done, this is the stage of the project in which that will be completed.

Important stakeholders will do their due diligence to help decide if the project is a “go.” If it is given the green light, you will need to create a project charter or a project initiation document (PID) that outlines the purpose and requirements of the project. It should include business needs, stakeholders, and the business case. Note: There are plenty of PID templates that adhere to PMBOK guidelines available online that you can download to help you get started.

Tip: When creating a PID, don’t get too bogged down in technical requirements. Those will be clarified and clearly defined in Phase 2.

Phase 2: Project Planning

This phase is key to successful project management and focuses on developing a roadmap that everyone will follow. This phase typically begins with setting goals. Two of the more popular methods for setting goals are S.M.A.R.T. and CLEAR:

smart goals resize

S.M.A.R.T. Goals – This method helps ensure that the goals have been thoroughly vetted. It also provides a way to clearly understand the implications of the goal-setting process.

Specific – To set specific goals, answer the following questions: who, what, where, when, which, and why.
Measurable – Create criteria that you can use to measure the success of a goal.
Attainable – Identify the most important goals and what it will take to achieve them.
Realistic – You should be willing and able to work toward a particular goal.
Timely – Create a timeframe to achieve the goal.

For more information about S.M.A.R.T. goals and to download free S.M.A.R.T. goal templates, read “The Essential Guide to Writing S.M.A.R.T. Goals.”

C.L.E.A.R. Goals – A newer method for setting goals that takes into consideration the environment of today’s fast-paced businesses.

Collaborative – The goal should encourage employees to work together.
Limited – They should be limited in scope and time to keep it manageable.
Emotional – Goals should tap into the passion of employees and be something they can form an emotional connection to. This can optimize the quality of work.
Appreciable – Break larger goals into smaller tasks that can be quickly achieved.
Refinable – As new situations arise, be flexible and refine goals as needed.

During this phase, the scope of the project is defined and a project management plan is developed. It involves identifying the cost, quality, available resources, and a realistic timetable. The project plans also includes establishing baselines or performance measures. These are generated using the scope, schedule and cost of a project. A baseline is essential to determine if a project is on track.

At this time, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, so everyone involved knows what they are accountable for. Here are some of the documents a PM will create during this phase to ensure the project will stay on track:

  • Scope Statement – A document that clearly defines the business need, benefits of the project, objectives, deliverables, and key milestones. A scope statement may change during the project, but it shouldn’t be done without the approval of the project manager and the sponsor.
  • Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS) –This is a visual representation that breaks down the scope of the project into manageable sections for the team.
  • Milestones – Identify high-level goals that need to be met throughout the project and include them in the Gantt chart.
  • Gantt Chart – A visual timeline that you can use to plan out tasks and visualize your project timeline.
  • Communication Plan – This is of particular importance if your project involves outside stakeholders. Develop the proper messaging around the project and create a schedule of when to communicate with team members based on deliverables and milestones.
  • Risk Management Plan – Identify all foreseeable risks. Common risks include unrealistic time and cost estimates, customer review cycle, budget cuts, changing requirements, and lack of committed resources.

Tip: When creating a WBS, work packages shouldn’t be longer than 10 days. Be sure to solicit the input and perspective from team members about their specific tasks.

Phase 3: Project Execution

This is the phase where deliverables are developed and completed. This often feels like the meat of the project since a lot is happening during this time, like status reports and meetings, development updates, and performance reports. A “kick-off” meeting usually marks the start of the Project Execution phase where the teams involved are informed of their responsibilities.

Tasks completed during the Execution Phase include:

  • Develop team
  • Assign resources
  • Execute project management plans
  • Procurement management if needed
  • PM directs and manages project execution
  • Set up tracking systems
  • Task assignments are executed
  • Status meetings
  • Update project schedule
  • Modify project plans as needed

While the project monitoring phase has a different set of requirements, these two phases often occur simultaneously.

Tip: Consider using cloud-based project management software so team members can update task status in real time.  

Phase 4: Project Performance/Monitoring

This is all about measuring project progression and performance and ensuring that everything happening aligns with the project management plan. Project managers will use key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if the project is on track. A PM will typically pick two to five of these KPIs to measure project performance:

kpi resize

  • Project Objectives: Measuring if a project is on schedule and budget is an indication if the project will meet stakeholder objectives.
  • Quality Deliverables: This determines if specific task deliverables are being met.
  • Effort and Cost Tracking: PMs will account for the effort and cost of resources to see if the budget is on track. This type of tracking informs if a project will meet its completion date based on current performance.
  • Project Performance: This monitors changes in the project. It takes into consideration the amount and types of issues that arise and how quickly they are addressed. These can occur from unforeseen hurdles and scope changes.

During this time,

Tip: Review the business case at the end of each phase and make adjustments to the project plan as needed.

Phase 5: Project Closure

This phase represents the completed project. Contractors hired to work specifically on the project are terminated at this time. Valuable team members are recognized. Some PMs even organize small work events for people who participated in the project to thank them for their efforts. Once a project is complete, a PM will often hold a meeting – sometimes referred to as a “post mortem” – to evaluate what went well in a project and identify project failures. This is especially helpful to understand lessons learned so that improvements can be made for future projects.

Once the project is complete, PMs still have a few tasks to complete. They will need to create a project punchlist of things that didn’t get accomplished during the project and work with team members to complete them. Perform a final project budget and prepare a final project report. Finally, they will need to collect all project documents and deliverables and store them in a single place.

Tip: Using a cloud-based software solution is an easy way to collect and save all project documents in one location throughout the life of the project.

We hope this article gives you a new appreciation of the project managers in your workplace.