During the project development phase, the idea for the project is explored and elaborated. The goal is to define the objectives and expected outcomes in consultation with the client.
All pre-conditions, functional requirements, operational requirements and design limitations (if applicable) are discussed and agreed upon during a needs assessment. This includes identification of possible project related risks along with identification of mitigation mechanisms. If required, an examination of the feasibility of the project can also be undertaken.
Detailed planning requires the project team, in consultation with the client, to determine the specific tasks to carry out in order to meet project goals, set-up project task schedules, milestones, and deliverables. The team also plans for resources such as labor and materials in line with project goals. Best practices during the detailed planning process include division of tasks based on a work breakdown structure (WBS), and scheduling deliverables using techniques such as Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) or Critical Path Method (CPM).
The result of the project development phase is a project implementation plan, listing definitive requirements and risk mitigation plans, which is presented to the client for approval.
Attention is given so that all the parties / individuals involved in the project are clear about what must be done in the implementation phase, by whom and when. Depending on the nature and location of the project, a project office with adequate support is set up.
The project development phase is considered complete only when implementation is ready to start.