What is Project Management Life Cycle

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Apr 15, 2024

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The project management life cycle is the successful management of the processes combined with the effective management of all the phases of the project life cycle.

It is not uncommon in the organizations that you might have heard more than once that the project has failed. This phenomenon may have several reasons behind it that the cost has exceeded, it has taken more time to complete the delivery or there were fewer resources, the scope has changed, etc. 

In this scenario, you as a project manager must take a rational and right decision to make the trade-off, optimized and data-driven decisions. It may be that you want to increase the resources or increase the time of delivery or move some more cost to the project. 

To fix these we need effective project management and project management methodologies to make the project a success. It also depends on the project manager’s comprehensive knowledge of the project management life cycle. Know why certification is required for project managers.

The project management life cycle is the successful management of the processes combined with the effective management of all the phases of the project life cycle.  

Overview of Project management life cycle

The project management life cycle consists of processes and phases to achieve the goals and objectives of the project. The project manager needs to know the project life cycle phases. The project to be done in an organization requires various technical and functional knowledge. The projects are of different shapes, sizes, different dimensions, and difficulty levels. It is the duty of the project board and the project manager to map the projects into the phases of project life cycle management for achieving the goals and objectives of the project. The project management life cycle is not specific to any industry or process or function; it is a generic methodology to achieve the success of the project.

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Project management cycle delivery process 

There are 5 key elements in the delivery process of the project life cycle, they are as follows,

  1. Definition -This is where the project is understood and communicated among all the team members. The questions such as what is the project about, who is responsible for what etc are answered in this process.
  2. Design - The design of the projects such as sketches, flow charts, prototypes, site trees are done.
  3. Development - Here in this process the requirements of the project such as the suppliers, subcontractors, materials, and any tools are ordered.
  4. Deployment - The project is executed and various tasks are accomplished. Coding to be done by the programmers, building to be built by engineers, engineers developing the materials, etc.
  5. Departure - The resources are relinquished and are assigned for new projects.

Phases of the Project management Life cycle

The project life cycle management consists of 4 Project Management phases such as,

  1. The Project Initiation Phase
  2. The Planning Phase
  3. The Execution Phase
  4. The Monitoring, Controlling and Closure Phase

The 4 phases and its features are shown in the diagram below,

1)  The project Initiation consists of 2 main tasks 

                a) Project Charter development

                b) Identification of stakeholders

a. The project charter consists of the following elements including the project goals, the stakeholder's list, assigning project manager, project constraints, approvals, milestones, schedule, and budget.

b. Next, the stakeholder's register is created in the project initiation stage, it consists of the following elements. Stakeholders, the expectation from each one of them, the role, the designation, type of communication within the stakeholders like weekly or monthly, etc and finally the influence of the stakeholders on the project namely the supportive, partial or influential, etc.

2)  The project planning phase consists of the scope of the project and the objective of the project. The output of this phase is the input to the execution phase.

  • The first is to write down the work breakdown structure. That is the whole work is broken down into smaller modules for every member and execution phase.
  • Next is the planning schedule management where the policies, procedures, and documentation are written for the execution phase.
  • Then the tasks are defined. That is prioritizing and planning the tasks which goes first and which goes next and so on.
  • Now comes the sequencing of the tasks, where it is aligned and lined up one after the other
  • Later estimating the task resources whether it is personnel or infrastructure or tools etc is done.
  • Shortly comes the time duration estimation for each task.
  • The pre-final stage is scheduling like how the tasks need to be executed in order of sequence and alignment.
  • The last stage of the planning phase is the control schedule where the statuses of monitoring the tasks are defined. The changes must go through the change management process.

3)  In the project execution phase the deliverables, Changelogs, measurement of the project tasks, and identification of what needs to be done are completed.

  • First is the direct and manage stage where the project time, resources, and cost are consumed to produce the products or the services.
  • One of the important stages of this phase is to do the quality management that is to ensure there are no variations, waste, defects and the products or services meet the expectation of the customer.
  • The next stage is acquiring human resources, developing them, and to manage them. This is not only the case for software development but also for the manufacturing industry where the human resources are acquired, developed, and managed.
  • Then comes to manage the communication from within the team, from the team to the project manager, from the project manager to the project board and the customer.
  • Towards the end are procurements such as machines, tools, equipment, etc.
  • Finally, comes the management of stakeholder and engagement. All the stakeholders are communicated about the status of the project and issues if any are resolved.

4)  In this phase the project monitoring, controlling and closing of the projects take place.

  • Here the project is tracked, reviewed, and regulated in such a way that the progress is made towards the delivery of the products or the services.
  • The changes are reviewed and approved by the project board
  • The scope is validated for the adequacy
  • Controlling of scope, the cost, the schedule, risks, communications, stakeholders and quality takes place in this stage
  • Closing phase the products are delivered, the sign off is obtained, the resources are relinquished and the project is formally communicated with the documentation to the management.

Importance of project life cycle phases

  • It offers a definitive structure for the project delivery
  • It enhances collaboration and communication among the team members
  • Progress across the organization can be tracked easily
  • The project develops progressively from start to end
  • It allows controlled reviews and feedback that is supported by governance

Concluding thoughts

The project life cycle management is a generic phrase used in the management books for the effective, controlled, and manageable delivery of products or services. To know more about how it is applied and some real-world examples to solve, enroll in the certifications such as Prince2 certification or PMP Certification Online with StarAgile. StarAgile is a training partner of AXELOS, PMP as well as SAFe for leading certifications in the globe. Click on the link to know more about the course details and registrations.


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