Project management

Managing a project in stages – why I like working this way

Psoda blog author avatar
27 March 2018

There are almost as many ways to manage a project as there are varieties of wines in the world. Ask a project manager what their preferred way to manage is, and you’ll likely get as many different methods as you can think of.
I recently had this discussion with a few project manager friends and we discovered we all manage our projects slightly differently.
I like to manage my projects in stages, as I feel it gives me the most control. That’s not to say I don’t encourage other methodologies. I do and am a big proponent of Agile for the day to day running at the task level.
When I talk about staging I tend to have three high level phases – planning, delivery and testing. Within those phases, I break the project down into stages. I then plan the current stage in detail, the next stage has milestones and maybe a few of the critical path tasks. Anything after that is a placeholder with very few details.

Why do I like to manage my projects in stages?

  1. It gives me the flexibility to move things around if needed
  2. I have a better handle on the current state
  3. I can adapt more easily to change

As mentioned above, this method works well with Agile. When I manage software development projects, I use the method above for the project management and encourage the teams to use Agile for the actual work.
There is no way one way to manage a project. We all need to find the method that works best for us, our teams and our organisations. An important factor in choosing a method for your project, is probably which one is least likely to drive you to reach for the wine! Although, I can recommend some excellent New Zealand wines if it comes to that…
If you’re looking for a flexible PPM tool that lets you manage projects your way, look no further than Psoda. Sign up for a free trial by clicking on the big red trial button at the top right hand side of the page

Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

1 Comment

  • Tony Adams says:

    This approach is often referred to as “rolling wave’ planning – we plan out the immediate next period in detail, while later periods have progressively higher level planning. As we roll through the stages, we plan the approaching stages in increasingly more detail. There’s a bunch of academic literature on this approach, and I think it’s also covered in the PMI PMBOK.

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