Execution Phase

During the Execution Phase, the project team completes the tasks established in the Planning Phase and develops the project deliverable(s). Simultaneously, the Project Manager and owner/technical lead collaboratively monitor and control the project. The Project Manager focuses on ensuring the team has the resources they need, tracks task completion and project progress, and keeps stakeholders updated. This phase concludes with the project deliverable(s) achieved and accepted by the project stakeholders, which signals that the business need was successfully met.

 

Steps and Output

For a more detailed view of the Execution phase in the context of an entire project lifecycle, see the Project Management Process Overview swimlane (PDF).

Helpful Tips

Track All Decisions and Changes
  • ServiceNow offers a decision module in the Project Detail view that is helpful. In addition, the Project Charter and Project Proposal Summary (PPS) are benchmarks to compare requested changes against. Within ServiceNow, you can document and track changes to requirements.
     
  • For project changes that may impact systems, be sure to review and submit a change request via IT Change Management Policies and Procedures.
Capture and Monitor Action Items
  • In particular, keep an eye out for tasks and action items not currently in the project schedule.
     
  • It’s helpful to include past action items on meeting agendas. This enables the team to review outstanding actions and close out completed action items.
Update the Project Schedule Regularly
  • Discuss and communicate any changes to the project schedule with the team. 
     
  • If the changes result in delay or new risks to the project, notify the project sponsor and stakeholders as early as possible.
  • ServiceNow provides the functionality to baseline a project schedule at any time and compare versions over time to see how the project has evolved.

  • ServiceNow also supports Agile project management with dashboards for stories and sprint organization.
Monitor Risks and Issues
  • An initial list of risks and mitigation plans are identified in the Project Charter.
     
  • Use ServiceNow to monitor the risk register and work with the team to mitigate them.
     
  • Risks that cannot be mitigated are escalated to issues.
Use Performance Monitoring
  • A useful tool for monitoring project performance is RAG analysis, which stands for the colors of a traffic light: red, amber, green.
     
  • Work with the business owners/technical leads and project teams to color code project status for easy reporting to stakeholders and project sponsors.
     
  • Each team member should keep the PM and business owner/technical lead notified if they are encountering problems that will contribute to an amber or red project status.
     
  • It is normal for a project to flow between RAG statuses as the project goes through the project phases. ServiceNow provides project status ratings and roll-ups for DIT leadership.
     
    Status Guidelines Action
    Red

    There is a problem that must be addressed in the short-term and will be subject to close management attention until resolved. One or more aspects of project management (time, cost, schedule) exceed acceptable tolerances.

    Examples: Delays of a critical milestone(s) of a month or more, problems with quality that require significant amount of additional work, severe lack of resources that cannot be resolved by the PM and team, and dissatisfaction from stakeholders.

    Escalate
    Amber

    At least one problem is being addressed and should be completed before the next RAG rating cycle. A problem has a negative effect on project performance but can be handled by the project manager and team. One or more aspects of project management (time, cost, schedule) is at risk, but is within tolerances set by the project board.

    Examples: Delays of a critical milestone(s) of 2 weeks or more, quality concerns that are addressable, PM and team engaging in resource management, and dissatisfaction from stakeholders is being mitigated.

    Inform/Brief
    Green

    No problems or only minor issue. The project is performing according to plan. All aspects of project viability are within acceptable tolerances.

    Examples: No delays of 2 weeks or more anticipated, quality is as expected, no or minimal resource problems, and satisfied stakeholders.

    No Action Needed
Monitor Resources
  • Work closely with the team to review what resources are needed and acquired throughout the project.

  • Resolve any project resource issues as soon as possible.

Communicate to Stakeholders
  • Communicate status updates with stakeholders and create reports to aid in keeping everyone updated.
Conduct User Acceptance Testing
  • When appropriate, conduct user acceptance testing (UAT). Use ServiceNow to add test phases and upload plans and results.