Success or Failure – Using the 5 Steps of Project Management to Plan Yours



Contributed by Kevin Bautz, Senior Project Manager


Success or Failure – Using the 5 Steps of Project Management to Plan Yours

5 steps of project management H+M Industrial EPC

I wanted to write about a topic that would allow me to discuss something personal yet applicable to work, important to me yet topical to others, and in-the-moment yet timeless.  I found no better way to write about success and failure than in the context of a recent workplace competition.

I entered the workplace competition to succeed, not fail.  Isn’t that why most people compete?  If so, why is it that many will fail?  Why will few succeed?  What is the difference between success and failure?  What is the same between success and failure?  It is this last question that helps me understand answers to the others.

This competition had many motivating factors; “want” alone was not enough to succeed.  Both success and failure take effort; you have to try. Both outcomes require initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closure. Coincidentally, those are also the 5 Steps in Project Management.

These steps can either support or thwart a positive outcome.  They can help you succeed, but they can also help you fail if not used correctly.  In the case of the workplace competition, many used these steps to execute a plan contradictory to their ultimate goal.  They subconsciously planned how to do everything BUT work toward the goal.

The same is true at work.  In my field, Project Management, the steps below are the ones that guide my work.  These steps, when used effectively, ensure the highest level of success.  They are specific, predictable, consistent, thoughtful, tested, uniform, familiar, and teachable to name a few.

5 Steps in Project Management

  • Initiating – consists of those processes performed to define a new project or a phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Planning – consists of those processes required to establish the scope of the project, refine the objectives and define the course of action required to attain the objectives that the project was undertaken to achieve. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Executing – consists of those processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Monitoring/Controlling – required to track, review and regulate the progress and performance of the project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate the corresponding changes. (PMBOK Guide)
  • Closure – consists of those processes performed to finalize all activities across all the Process Groups to formally close the project or phase. (PMBOK Guide)

Still wondering what workplace competition allowed me to use these steps toward success?  I lost…a lot.  I also won…a lot.  I succeeded at achieving better health, better self-image, a little bit of financial compensation, bragging rights, and everything else that comes with losing 35 pounds in 90-days.  Let’s just say that I don’t like to lose.

My success did not come by accident. I used the steps to accomplish my goal, not conflict with it.  The next time you are presented with achieving a goal, remember it is up to you to put your efforts toward either success or failure.


Project Management Institute. (2004). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide). Newtown Square, Pa: Project Management Institute.



Kevin Bautz – Senior Project Manager at H+M Industrial EPC

B.S. in Chemical Engineering

Kevin has more than 13 years of industrial engineering experience in operations and project settings. His past experience ranges from process and equipment engineering in semiconductors, process simulation engineer for the oil & gas and chemical industries, and key management roles in engineering and operations for The Sun Products Corporation in Pasadena, TX and Bowling Green, KY. Kevin joined H+M in 2014.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *