Phase Reviews in Project Management

Phase Reviews in Project Management
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  • 0:01 What Is a Phase Review?
  • 0:33 Purpose
  • 1:41 Importance
  • 2:36 Time Frame
  • 3:06 Risks
  • 3:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lilah Pressley

Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and soon to be PSM certified. Versed in both waterfall and SCRUM methodologies

In this lesson, you'll learn what a project phase review is used for, why it's important, and when it's created. Additionally, you'll learn how the project phase review is used to keep the sponsor current on the status of deliverables and whether the project is meeting its objectives.

What Is a Phase Review?

What happens when you start a big project with many tasks and parts? Generally, you don't try to tackle everything at once. Instead, you should break the project up into multiple phases. That can help you to better manage every part of the project and make sure it's done properly. Part of managing the project is to conduct phase reviews near the end of the phase. At each stage, it's important to relay the status of the project to your sponsor. Your main objective is to make sure each phase has been properly vetted to allow you to take the project to the next phase.


So what exactly is the purpose of a phase review? It's meant to act as a sort of checkpoint, so you can see if the project is on track. For instance, is the project on schedule? Compare the estimated date for each deliverable. A deliverable is a term that is used in project management to describe something that is to be delivered. The deliverable will be specific to a particular environment. For instance, if the environment is a restaurant, the deliverable might be chairs for the dining room. Or if the environment is an IT shop, the deliverable might be custom reports.

Another checkpoint is to determine whether the budget has been sufficiently allocated. Compare how much you expected to spend at this point against the amount actually spent. If you've spent less, then your project is under budget and you are in good shape. If you've spent more, then your project is over budget. If it looks like there isn't enough money in the budget to finish the project, this is the time to talk with the sponsor about the need for more funding.

Is the sponsor willing to sign off so that you can move to the next phase? All of these questions should be answered and any issues resolved in order to move to the next phase.


As you review each phase of your project, you will also be able to document your results. Then, you can better communicate the project's progress to your sponsor. During the project review, you will want to list any risks that might impact your project and the contingencies that you have created. A contingency is a plan that is to be followed in case of an accident or if the regular plan does not go as expected. Let's say, for instance, that your plan was to install software on a client's system, but you find out that the system isn't ready for the installation. You and/or the project manager should have a contingency plan of when the software installation can occur without negative impact to the customer.

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