Categorized | Management

What Is The Project Life Cycle?

The term project life cycle is used within project management and it refers to the sequence of tasks that have to be done to achieve the ultimate goal of completing the project and meeting all its aims and objectives. The lifecycle is broken down into various stages.

Generally the initiation phase is the very first stage. This is where the idea takes hold and the project is defined in terms of its scope and what it is going to achieve. This is done usually around the time that the project manager is appointed, so that there is a chance for the project manager to feed in to this process.

After the initiation phase then the project needs to be planned. At this stage a thorough risk assessment has to be taken into account and there needs to be an assessment made of all the tasks and the criteria for the project in terms of it being deliverable. The planning has to be undertaken in a very methodical and systematic fashion. Risk needs to be identified and then managed throughout all the stages of the project, but especially so when it comes to planning.

During this stage, the stakeholders also need to be identified and clear methods of communication with stakeholders and all members of the project team need to be identified.

At this stage it is critical that all people involved know what is going to happen, how it will happen, what will be done, who will do it and what is expected of them. They also have the right to know what they can expect to happen in terms of people communicating with them etc.

The managing and creation of the project. This is often seen by many as the most critical phase of the project. However, this is debateable, because if the project has been really carefully and fully planned, then the risks to the project should be minimal and instead the whole project should flow (as far as it can ever ‘flow’).

This phase involves the planned tasks, activities and solutions being put into practice. Projects vary in terms of what is being done, what methods are used, but all projects share this same stage; what was planned on paper or on a PC, is brought to fruition.

During this phase, it is critical that risk is still identified and managed, simply to ensure that the project is as risk free as possible. A tight rein needs to be kept on budget costs, to ensure that the finances do not spiral out of control.

The completion stage is the final part of the life cycle. This is the stage where completion happens, but then a review is carried out, so that lessons can be learned from what happened within this project.
Overall, no matter how different projects are, they all follow the same life cycle from beginning to end. Sometimes the stages are given different names, or are thought of differently, but overall they are the same. The critical thing to bear in mind is that the life cycle allows a systematic approach to successful project management and without a systematic approach, projects are doomed to failure!

Leave a Reply