Managing Growth with Project Management Essentials

Being a Growth Leader isn’t just about setting a vision and working towards operational excellence. A crucial part of leadership is being able to manage projects and unforseen challenges - which are growth opportunities - successfully. 

Let’s start with defining a project. We’ll adopt the classic definition that a project is a mission to deliver a specific outcome within a predefined budget (estimation), and this mission is time-bound. 

So, when dealing with these types of missions, you’ll benefit from having some critical notions about project management.

Project management turns chaos into order, translating ambitious ideas into tangible results. That requires leaders to understand what needs to be done in what order and how tasks get done. That is, they need to understand both the logistical and human sides of project management. 

While there are many frameworks for approaching projects, they generally have a handful of underlying core principles we can pull from to improve how we manage projects. Let’s look at some of these principles and how to apply them and master project management. 

The Five Common Phases of Project Management

Before understanding how to execute project management, it’s essential to understand that overall view; all projects go through the same general phases. These phases should guide your project’s journey from start to finish.

  1. Initiation: This is the start of the project, where you define its scope, goals and objectives and assess its feasibility. You should also have a ‘go’ from your sponsor or main stakeholder(s).

  2. Planning Phase: A meticulous evaluation of needs and resources, including refining project deliverables and creating a detailed plan with timelines and milestones. 

  3. Execution: Here is where the rubber meets the road; the project plan and tasks are executed. 

  4. Monitoring: Vigilant oversight ensures that the project stays on course. This phase involves tracking progress, identifying challenges, and making real-time adjustments.
  5. Closing: The project crosses the finish line when all objectives are met, and when all stakeholders agree that the project is officially 'done.' Time for retrospection.

The Critical Path

While the above structure defines how a project unfolds over time, it’s also essential to focus on a handful of different aspects of project management that will impact a project’s success. 

First, any project needs to have a clearly defined scope and objectives. People working on the project need to know what they’re aiming for and what’s not included. For example, if the project is to build a website for a business and the scope is not clearly defined, you might end up adding features with no set limits. The objectives and scope should serve as a guiding light throughout the project. 

Next, planning and scheduling are essential components of any project plan. The project needs to be broken down into manageable tasks with established timelines for completing them and milestones for marking progress. But planning isn’t only about tasks. It’s also about allocating resources, both financial and human. That means coming up with a detailed budget and aligning workers’ skills with the tasks needed to complete the project, considering constraints such as the impact of holidays on the project timeline. Project plans should also include contingencies when (not if) something doesn't go according to plan. 

Similarly, it’s essential to conduct at least some risk management, including identifying potential risks, assessing their probability and severity, and having a mitigation plan. This will help you navigate the uncertainties that projects inevitably face.

Finally, while managing growth, you must actively monitor progress and be prepared to address obstacles to ensure that the project stays on track and remains aligned with its goals.

The Human Element of Project Management

Objectives, timelines, tasks, etc. Are all important, but the most essential aspect of project management is people. That is, successful growth leaders recognise the vital role people play in getting projects done. Successful growth managers will: 

  • Conduct Stakeholder Identification and Analysis: Identifying those contributing to the project and any external stakeholders affected.  

  • Define Responsibilities: Regardless of the tasks involved, it’s essential to define responsibilities for the different parts of the project clearly. Here, I recommend taking the RACI approach (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) to ensure everyone knows their role; this results in accountability and collaboration.

  • Deliver Structured and Consistent Communication: This includes weekly status meetings and periodic reports and/or engagement with stakeholders, both formally and informally, throughout the project.


While many factors can impact a project’s success or failure (or whatever comes in between), adopting a structured approach to growth management is the linchpin of success for any Growth Leader. Embracing the fundamental principles ensures not just meeting project objectives but potentially surpassing them. 


Need help managing growth? We can help! Schedule a free clarity call and plan for growth at your organisation.

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