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4 Phases of Project Planning

Any project, large or small, will require proper planning for success. Whether you are building a table or designing network infrastructure it’s critical to identify what your goals are and how they will be carried out. Defining key variables and defining a clear strategy are considered good planning practices. This is why it’s important to understand the 4 phases of planning a project.

The 4 phase model is an organization tool that ensures that all the major aspects of any project are thoroughly analyzed and planned out. It is not a hard set of rules, but rather a set of theoretical guidelines such as the OPP(object oriented programming) model or the Western Music Scale. Keep in mind that planning is an iterative process. This means that after you implement any part of your plan, it should be analyzed and refined to meet real world demands. Often plans are honed during when a project is being carried out.

4 Phases of Project Planning

4 Phases of Project Planning

Develop Concept

The first step is to find a general approach to achieving your goals. This phase involves a lot of evaluation and broad terms that must addressed. You need to figure who is going to be affected by this project, come up with a general project statement to pitch ideas and identify deliverables. Output for this stage may include approval from stakeholders to move forward, documentation needed as well as rough estimates of the time and resources needed to complete the project. This is where you plan the work so you can work you plan.

Project Planning and Define Objectives

This step is where things start to take shape. Now is the time to set clear boundaries, list the objectives and develop a clear plan of action. All the objectives need to have clear standards and measures to ensure that they are carried out properly. This can mean standard protocol for those working on the project such as company privacy policies and data management.

All the required resources identified when you are developing the objective. Human resources such as managers, workers and any third party associates will need to be identified.  A detailed list of budgets and due dates for deliverables should be drawn out. This can be refined during implementation as needed. Following is a list of some of the tasks done during this phase:

  • Define abstract and concrete resources needed to implement the plan (human resources, software, marketing support, brand recognition)
  • Develop objectives
  • Define clear due dates for deliverables
  • Define who, what, when and why. List all the tasks and break down the work structure. Create a schedule to implement processes.
  • Risk assessment and prevention plans

Project Execution

This is where you work the plan. If you have thoroughly complete the previous step, than this part will go smoothly. This involves management of all the process involved in completing project tasks. The work is carried out during this phase and progress is measured. Careful monitoring must be set in place to ensure that productivity is going strong. Deliverables for this phase may be reports, further plans of action, physical products etc.


During the closing stage you will assess the results of the project and see what you learned. Two tasks involved in most closing phases of a project include conducting evaluations and analyzing customer feedback. Outputs for this step can include final reports and future plans from insight gained.

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