In the early stages of a project, there is often a certain task, assignment, or end goal the company, team, or business is looking to achieve. Whether it’s to increase the sales of a certain product or service, enhance the efficiency within the company’s operations, or analyze a company’s corporate finances, there are lots of tasks and projects that a company looks to complete.
Depending on the timing, the current dynamic within the marketplace, and the type of future outlook a company envisions, the business projects or tasks a company may assign to their employees, teams, and divisions vary in nature. During the development or progression of a business project, there are common phases or stages that each project goes through, and experiences, detailed below:
The Task or Objective
There’s often a certain reason or an underlying motivation behind the projects a company decides to pursue and where they allocate their resources or employees to. These tasks or assignments are often of high importance to a company and can provide value for the company, or be a lucrative investment. It may be the creation of more effective marketing through a new brand message, brainstorming new product ideas to enter into new markets or areas, or upgrading the customer experience — but there’s is always a certain task or objective that kicks off a project.
Learning and Research
Part of exploring a new business project, or beginning a new task, is the new information or knowledge you need to learn or discover in order to complete it. The topic might be familiar to you, or even something you’ve worked on before, but this time it’s a different situation, with different details and requirements. It means that you have to learn more about the nuances of the situation, dissect the space or area you’re exploring, or uncover more of the important information or factors at hand. The amount of research or information you may need depends on the project itself, the type of skill level or experience you have, and the type of deliverable needed.
The more research or information a team has, the better equipped, and the higher chances their final project or the end result will be. Discovering pertinent information has the potential to help save a company millions of dollars, prevent major mistakes or errors, or even help a company make millions of dollars. Digging for information may seem tedious and annoying at times, but it is often one of the most essential elements of completing a project or task.
Developing the Strategy
After you’ve been able to learn and absorb the information needed to move forward, the next phase is creating or constructing the strategy to move forward with. Each path forward comes with a particular angle or a particular perspective to which it’s formed upon. The strategy a company decides to utilize is often based on where it sees an opportunity, or where they believe they can perform well. Putting the plan or strategy into action, allows a company to see whether their hypothesis was correct, and learn valuable information into what’s necessary, and what is unnecessary.
Implementation or Action
Putting the plan into action is where you’re able to see how your plan or strategy plays out. You’re able to see what you missed, the ways it went as expected, and the types of results you’re able to achieve. By putting the plan into action, you’re able to find out the level of its effectiveness or productivity. During the implementation, you gain valuable information or intelligence about the decisions you’ve made, or the ideas you’ve created. You’re able to see where you can improve, where you can upgrade your process or strategy, and see what can be eliminated or removed. It’s also important to note, that during this part of the process, there’s a level of uncertainty or ambiguity in how it plays out or the types of results you achieve. It’s the beauty of putting something out there and seeing how it comes back.
Editing and Iterating
Part of a project’s process is often the editing or iterating that comes with it. Over time, as more people are able to view it, critique it, and give feedback, the project is often tweaked and edited. After seeing the result of the initial draft for a project, you’re then able to get some level of feedback or criticisms of the business project. Incorporating the changes or edits into the project often takes time and a bit of thinking prior to completing. As a project evolves or develops, it begins to get closer and closer to the finished project the company was looking for.
Final Project or Finished Result
After a project has gone through its progression and development, the final project appears. After the time that was invested into learning more or researching the project, creating a rough draft or an initial draft, and incorporating the edits or iterations it went through, you’re able to arrive at a finished project.
Throughout the development or progression of a project, there is often various stages or phases that are experienced during its completion. As you go through the process of completing the project, you’re able to learn, edit, and iterate on the tasks you’re trying to complete, or the final product you’re looking to achieve. You may not complete it the way you envisioned, but you’re likely to gain information that makes you better equipped to move forward with a similar project the next time around.
Howie Bick is the founder of The Analyst Handbook is a collection of 16 guides created to help current and aspiring Analysts advance their careers. Prior to founding The Analyst Handbook, Howie was a financial analyst.