Project execution is the implementation of tasks that leads to the achievement of the intended goal. Therefore, the domain of project execution includes more than just performing day-to-day tasks. It’s also creating processes, managing company resources, and working to build an open, inclusive environment that fosters collaboration and learning.
Project execution – table of contents:
- Project execution domain
- Process management in project execution
- Retrospective, learning and improvement
The execution domain is one of the eight main areas where project activities take place. It is not just a stage following task planning. Rather, the execution domain defines all the work going on during the project.
Project execution domain
Project execution is primarily a long list of tasks performed by each member of the project team. These are selected from a list of tasks prepared by the Project Manager, organized by priority, and usually posted on a Kanban board.
Among the tasks belonging to the project execution domain, we will find both recurring cyclical activities related to, for example, software updates, and one-time events, such as designing a logo for an application.
The project execution domain consists of activities related to:
- Performing daily tasks,
- Developing new tasks,
- Making changes to tasks already performed and planned for execution,
- Creating efficient processes,
- Stakeholder communication,
- Management of materials, equipment, data and other company resources,
- Preparation of documents necessary for the implementation of the project,
- Observing changes inside and outside the organization that may affect project implementation
- Ongoing learning and correcting actions.
We’ll take a little closer look at what role process management and learning play in project implementation, and where the domains of project monitoring and implementation meet closest.
Process management in project execution
For the management of project processes to serve their purpose and not become an unnecessary bureaucracy, they must come from practice. Therefore, their development is usually shared between the Project Manager and the project team. In this approach, each internal process, also called the technical or production process, is simultaneously determined by two axes:
- The stage of implementation of the task
- The workflow regarding a specific task
Stages of task execution
The stages of a task’s execution are determined by so-called gates, i.e. criteria that a task must meet to advance to the next stage. The status of a given task can change as follows:
- intended for execution – that is, placed by the Project Manager on the to-do list,
- in implementation – that is, selected for execution by one of the project team members,
- tested – the task has been completed and handed over to another person testing the correctness and quality of its performance, if the tests fail the task returns to the previous stage,
- pending publication – the task has passed testing and has been approved for publication, production or transfer to the client, depending on the type of project underway,
- finished – all work has been done and the result has been approved as finished.
The number of statuses is adjusted according to the needs of the project team and the specifics of the tasks in progress. In turn, the minimum version used often is the three taken from classic Kanban boards defining the task as “to be completed”, “in progress”, and “ready”.
Workflow concerns steps needed for a task and who is completing it at any given time. It, therefore, defines the responsibility for completing the task. The workflow also indicates what action needs to be taken for the task to move to the next stage of execution.
Let’s consider what the workflow of a task might look like: “publish a post on LinkedIn about project completion”. It is to change its status from “in progress” to “completed”. Its workflow might look as follows:
- Choosing the topic of the post and the content of the publication – the person responsible is a specialist in social media marketing, who delegates the task to the copywriter and graphic designer,
- Text preparation – the task is carried out by a freelancer who specializes in text writing,
- Development of graphics – a graphic designer prepares visuals following the company’s branding,
- Quality control – evaluation by a marketing specialist and possible corrections or approval for publication,
- Publication – the decision on the time of posting is made by the person who manages the posting schedule.
Another important part of process management in project execution is process optimization. It involves monitoring and reorganizing the process if it is not running smoothly. It focuses mainly on eliminating bottlenecks – that is, moments when one person is responsible for more tasks than he or she can complete, while other team members wait idly until he or she finishes. Bottlenecks can also be related to the performance of machines or the execution or delivery time of components by an external supplier.
Retrospective, learning and improvement
Valuing learning and creating an inclusive environment that supports communication and mutual assistance leads to great results in project management. Therefore, during meetings with the team, it is worth paying particular attention to:
- best completed tasks and celebrating successes,
- failure to complete tasks without blaming team members,
- reflecting on how to work and cooperate as a team.
Improving together and learning from one’s successes and failures is the best way to develop best practices in task completion. On the other hand, reflecting on the way of working, motivation, the tools used and even the division of roles in the team leads to an improvement in the overall effectiveness of the team. That’s why it’s so important to have regular meetings devoted not only to summaries of the work being done but also to retrospectives.
This is because some of the knowledge gained can be used immediately. In this way, the team speeds up task completion and deepens cooperation. The members of the project team learn from each other better and better methods of completing tasks and improve cooperation.
The project execution domain requires the Project Manager to design processes, supervise ongoing processes, observe them simultaneously and improve them gradually. The execution domain also includes all tasks performed by the project team that lead progressively to the realization of the project goal.
The most important questions
What tasks are not in the domain of project execution?
The domain of project implementation does not include project planning tasks, such as furnishing the site or purchasing specialized equipment on which the project will be implemented. Separate from the implementation domain are also activities related to monitoring project implementation, such as keeping statistics on team effectiveness or resource utilization.
Getting started with project management:
- What is a project?
- What is project management?
- How to manage projects?
- Project management methods
- Types of projects
- 4 examples of projects
- Prioritization of projects
- Areas of project activity
- Definition of success in project management
- Why use project management software?
- How to choose the best project management software?
- Overview of project management software
- Project life cycle
- What is the project vision for?
- Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
- Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
- The domain of planning in project management
- What is a project schedule and what is it for?
- How to use milestones in a project?
- Project execution
- How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
- Importance of project closure
- Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
- 4P of management: project, product, program and portfolio
- Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
- Most useful project manager skills
- How to become a project manager?
- 5 books every project manager should read
- How to set up a project team?
- Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?
- How to lead a team during hybrid work?
- Challenges project managers face when working with a team