The work pattern followed by all projects is called the project life cycle. It decides how the project delivers the deliverable.
In simple words, the project life cycle shows the progression of the project through every step from the beginning to the end. The number of processes involved in the stages and the order might fluctuate depending on the kind of project and the organization.
Nonetheless, because all the projects are interim, they will have a precise start and an end date. The life cycle of the project delivers the basic framework for the jobs to be heeded throughout the project, nevertheless of the labor type.
The 4 correlated stages that have to be followed are contained in the life cycle of the project.
Every phase of the project has an onset date, a control point, and an end date. The control point’s goal is to reevaluate the feasibility of the continuation of the project. To find out whether the project is in progress, you can compare the performance of the project. A project life cycle illustrates the procedures for handling the project from the beginning to the end.
Project Life Cycle – Stages
There are four stages of the project life cycle as stated by PMBOK Guide.
- Starting the project
- Preparing and organizing
- Carrying out the task
- Closing the project
It includes earning a commitment from the stakeholders, comprising the management and the team, receiving a commitment from the project stakeholders, like the sponsor, the management, and the team, accumulating the requirements of the project, and establishing the scope of the project’s cost, work, and resources, among all the other factors, are all the aspect of this stage.
The project summary is developed in this phase and it is agreed on what has to be done to complete the project successfully.
You will specify the stakeholders of the project and make sure that they all comprehend the goal of the project and the business case. The key step is to install a plan to meet the objectives of the project.
Key actions for this stage
- Examine the business concern for the project.
- Perform a feasibility analysis to study whether the project is deserving of proceeding.
- Perform a cost-benefit analysis.
- Develop the project charter.
- Specify the vision, purpose, and goals of the project.
- Define the broad scope, project deliverables, and also the final output.
- Define the rough estimate of the order for the project.
- Determine key assumptions, risks, and constraints.
- Define the key stakeholders.
Planning of the project starts once the team is provided the go-ahead alert in the starting stage.
The process of planning identifies the work’s scope and creates a plan to finish the project.
You will get answers to the below questions in this stage:
- What do we plan to do precisely?
- How do we achieve this?
- When do we bring it out?
- How do we inform you when we have completed it?
The project manager will determine how their team can accomplish the project goals.
Key actions for this stage
- Determine the plan for the project
- Planning the resources
- Allocation of resources
- Delegation of task
- Define metrics of project management
- Determine key performance indicator
- Create the baselines of the project
- Recording expectations of the customer
- Success metrics
The plans that are created in the earlier stage are carried out during this stage. Resources will be allocated to the concerned members of the team by the Project Manager to complete the task.
In addition to carrying out the task, the project manager keeps a track of benchmarks such as schedule, scope, and cost. They take preventative and corrective measures if there are any deviations.
Project managers will also watch over the hazards. They ensure that the risk response method is implemented if any materializes.
Key actions for this stage
- Performing the strategy
- Finishing the work
- Monitoring the progress
- Controlling the risk
This stage allows for reducing the cost of conflict by controlling the risk in every part of the project. It will also help in lessening the threat of being spayed on schedule or over budget.
It is the last stage of the life cycle of the project.
Closure of the project concerns product delivery, lessons learned, retrospective, performance study, etc.
However, the project is still incomplete.
The project manager might hold a meeting regarding the post-project review to discuss the weaknesses and strengths of the team and the project. This meeting helps in tracking down what went wrong, right, or not so good, and also identifies the stages for future progress.
Key actions for this stage
Evaluation of the performance of the project: To find out if there is any deviation in the project or if it is on track, the project performance is evaluated by the project manager concerning the baselines and approximated with the baselines of the project.
Answers to the below questions will be found here:
- Were there any unforeseen risks?
- What are the problems created?
- If yes, were they handled successfully?
- Has the plan of the project been altered?
Team evaluation: Answers to the below questions will be found here:
- Did everyone accomplish their tasks as intended?
- Were they steered and enthusiastic?
- Did they persist in being responsible and careful?
- Was the collaboration of the project team healthy and productive?
Project closure: This requires finishing up procurement contracts with the suppliers, releasing the team, approving agreements, and delivering all needed paperwork for the project.
Reviewing after implementation: Perform a comprehensive estimation of the failures and accomplishments, gathering the lessons learned and suggestions for upcoming projects.
Types of the Project Life Cycle
The project may have to roof the below life cycles:
It is also called a waterfall life cycle. It is the traditional approach to project management. Here, the project manager creates the complete plan of project management at the onset and then obeys it till the project is completed. In this approach, you will plan the work first and then work on the plan.
As the work scope is set, this cycle is also called a predictive life cycle. Here, the chances of modifications are very low. However, if any change takes place, it costs a large amount.
It is also called the change-driven life cycle.
This approach welcomes adaptations. The project will be split up into increments, and the deliverables will be delivered and filtered until the customer is pleased. All the activities are carried out multiple times.
Since the approach is cyclic, it will be comfortable to make necessary modifications to all the deliverables and integrate the feedback of the client.
The predictive and iterative life cycles are similar. In this approach, the project management division creates the strategy beforehand and iterates it so that it can be accounted for adjustments.
Here, the first iteration intends to develop a fundamental product with minimal feasibility, and the successive iteration adds to it further.
Adaptive life cycles and incremental life cycles are similar. In this approach, small, unworkable pieces of deliverables are delivered to the customer, and depending on their feedback, the product will be refined and expanded.
All the increments will be added in the last iteration to provide the complete product.
It is the hybrid of the life cycles talked about in this article. It could be any mixture of life cycles. The project manager chooses the life cycle reasonably suited for the project.
Importance of Project Life Cycle
A project life cycle will be important because the project managers supervise and facilitate it.
The same steps are involved in every project: defining the objectives, developing the plan to achieve the objectives, and holding it out. Although different organizations may use various terminology to illustrate project life cycle phases, they are all the same.
The project is initiated to address the problem. Agree on the solution, create an implementation plan, then recognize the problem. The implementation process must be kept on track by the project manager to ensure that it has the desired impact.
Proposes a framework to carry out projects
The project life cycle gives a systematic approach to the delivery of the project. This will allow the project managers to keep track of the progress of the project and define the issues with a process or deliverables. The framework of the project life cycle delivers the teams with a steady road plan to abide by. It helps to determine each phase’s allocated duties, tasks, and results.
Enhances Communication within the team
A framework is convenient to and comprehended by all the project stakeholders. It enables communication and determines roles and duties in a project.
Members of the team comprehend easily what they must do throughout every step. Planning of resources avoids wastage and assures their availability when required. Most of the resources are needed in the third phase of the life cycle of the project.
Helps Measure Development and Progress
The project life cycle proposes the structure for planning and organizing every stage of a project. Benchmarks, project metrics, plans, key performance indicators, etc, will be available. The status can be checked and the progress can be determined by approximating it to the baselines of the project.
At the time of the Definition stage, the plans for the project management are created, including quality plans and risk management plans. At the time of the Implementation phase, the different components of the product are developed which are further divided into Build and Design stages.
Allows Evolution of the Project
A project life cycle stages give insight into the progress of the project and facilitate the recognition of areas that require special attention, like management of risk in an early phase and evaluation of the project in the stage of execution. The details of the project expand at every next stage.
As the project proceeds forward, the project plans are evolved and elaborated. The schedule baseline, the cost baseline, and the scope baseline are enhanced.
Helps in organizing reviews and in improving governance
As the project lifecycle outlines when a Project Evaluation Review is carried out, the completion of performance reports can be scheduled by the project manager before reviews.
It allows people who have to attend in advance, facilitating quick decisions on the development of the product. The project is on time and feasible and these evaluations that are carried out monthly give confidence to the stakeholders that early achievements are evaluated.
Also, if the project turns out to be unprofitable, then they might be the exit routes.
Disadvantages of the project life cycle
The drawbacks of the life cycle of the project are mentioned below:
- The work will be completed after the finishing of the last stage.
- Uncertainty and high risks.
- It’s not a good option for complicated and tricky projects.
- It’s not the right plan for object-oriented projects.
- The implementation of a project life cycle to the longer projects might be out of place and challenging.
- It’s challenging to estimate the progress at each step as the project extends.
Examples of the Project Life Cycle
Here, let’s consider an example such as the road construction project.
The highways of North India are designed and constructed by the Indian construction company. Throughout the initiation phase of the project, the project manager concentrated on learning and describing the capabilities of the team to handle a significant project.
After the setting up of three offices, the team started to create blueprints of the project and put in an application for permits.
At the time of the planning stage, the project schedule is designed by the project team that corresponds to the procurement, design, and construction actions. The project team could monitor the expenditures of the project against expected spending and the credit goes to the project controls unit for giving a thorough budget.
The department of project design built the conceptual ideas and gave precise drawings to the procurement division. This helps the procurement division to set up the construction plan, design, formulate labor projections, and place an order for the equipment required by the construction unit.
The work of the project is carried out at the time of the implementation phase. Materials, employees, and equipment were delivered to the construction team throughout the phase of implementation. The project team completed the job and met the objectives.
The roadways which are newly built are made handy to the users as a portion of the closeout stage. A punch catalog of undone business was made. The financial documents were balanced and shut down. When the project manager shifts to the new project, conclusive reports are assembled and transferred.
To finish the project, the stakeholders must learn the life cycle of the project. The life cycle of project management delivers the framework for the organizations to know the project, its needs, and methods that help to accomplish the project with minimal hurdles.