The Project Life Cycle refers to the step wise process that is followed by nearly all project managers when moving through stages of project completion. At the start of a new project, the amount of planning and work required can seem overwhelming. There may be hundreds of tasks that need to be completed at just the right time and in the right sequence.
Seasoned project managers knows that it is often easier to handle the details of a project and take steps in the right order when you break the project into phases. Dividing your project management efforts into five phases can help give your efforts structure and simplify them into a series of logical and manageable steps.
Initiation, the first phase of the project lifecycle where the project’s value and feasibility will be project ,
- Business Case Document– This document justifies the need for the project, and includes an estimate of potential financial benefits.
- Feasibility Study– It is an evaluation of the project’s goals, timeline and costs to determine if the project should be executed. Also it balances the requirements of the project with available resources to see if pursuing the project makes sense.
Teams will reject proposed projects that are labeled unprofitable and/or unfeasible. However, projects that pass these two tests can be assigned to a project team or to a designated project office.
Once a project receives the green light, it needs a solid plan to guide the team, as well as keep them on time and on budget. A well-written project plan will give the guidance for obtaining resources, acquiring financing and procuring required materials. The project plan gives the team a direction for producing managing suppliers.
The project plan also prepares teams for the obstacles they might encounter over the course of project, and helps them understand the cost, scope and timeframe of the project.
This is the third phase that is most commonly associated with project management. Execution is all about building the deliverables that satisfy the customer. Team leaders will make this happen by allocating resources and keeping team members focused on their assigned tasks.
Execution mostly relies on the planning phase. The work and efforts of a team during the execution phase are derived from the project plan.
Monitoring and control are sometimes combined with execution because they mostly occur at the same time. As the teams execute their project plan, they must constantly monitor their own progress.
To guarantee the delivery of what was promised, teams must monitor tasks to prevent scope creep, calculate key performance indicators and track variations from allotted cost and time. This constant vigilance will help keep the project moving ahead smoothly.
Teams will close a project when they deliver the finished project to the customer, communicating completion to stakeholders and releasing resources to other projects. This vital step in the project life cycle allows the team to evaluate and document the project and move on to the next one, using previous project mistakes and successes to build stronger processes and more successful teams.
Although project management may seem overwhelming at times, breaking it down into these five distinct cycles can help a team to manage even the most complex projects and use time and resources more wisely.