Conduct Research / Review Progress

The ‘Conduct Research and Review Progress’ phase consists of the project execution and the monitoring and controlling processes. This is where the research activities begin and project related expenditures are incurred. As research is carried out, results are analyzed, reports are prepared for relevant parties, and corrective actions against research activities may be taken. These monitoring and controlling activities confirms if the project is following its plan, and if deviations are found, a response can be implemented. This monitoring and controlling should not be seen as a onetime event within the life of a project, rather it is important that the project is continuously monitored.

Furthermore, the monitoring activity can then be used as the basis for the progress reporting with the funding sponsor(s). The extent of the monitoring activities will depend on the nature and scale of your research project, however the current state of the project scope, schedule, and budget should be monitored as least on a quarterly basis to ensure corrective actions can be taken in timely manner.

An important concept to understand when carrying out your research activities, is the concept of progressive elaboration.  This refers to a project management technique in which the project plan is continuously detailed and improved as newer and improved information becomes available. When a project plan (scope, schedule, and budget) is established, it may be of a high level depending on the nature of the research. However, as you start executing project activities, your project plan will become clearer as you gain more information on the nature and direction of your activities. This additional information allows the researcher to take a preliminary plan and refine it into a more comprehensive plan. Thus, when executing project activities it is important to update your project plan as more information becomes available.