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The Life of a Project

Each project is unique in the sense that the activities of a project are unique and non-routine. A project consumes resources. The resources required for completing a project are men, material, money and time.

A project has a life cycle.  The life cycle consists of five stages i.e. conception stage, definition stage, planning & organizing stage, implementation stage and Clean Up stage.

Most Projects pass through the following five phases, which tend to overlap at times:

  • Conception

Is the phase, during which the project idea finds out of: the need to solve a problem, the observance of one’s environment, the drive to innovate something new.

The project idea emerges and the management decides on the need of a project. A well-conceived project can be implemented successfully.

This phase is essential and if flawed, it may lead to defective and dysfunctional projects.

  • Definition

Involves developing the idea generated during conception phase. It produces a document describing the project in sufficient detail, covering all necessary aspects like the man power, materials, machinery, layout, utilities and feasibility. It clears most of the ambiguities and uncertainties about the formation made in the previous phase.

The project is described with details which will be required by the customer to take a decision on the project. The initial concept or idea is given a concrete shape by defining in clear terms.

  • Planning

This phase starts almost immediately after the conception phase and overlaps with both definition and implementation phases.

This phase involves the preparation for the project to take – off smoothly and effects many decisions related to the “project basics”.

It involves both core planning and facilitating planning.

In this phase, if the project basics are not considered, then the project may have to face serious problems at the implementation phase. Therefore, this phase covers paper related (Document) to both project planning and also implementation activities.

  • Implementation

In this phase, a major activity takes place, like preparing specs, evaluating the bids and selecting contractors and Testing. Meticulous coordination and a high degree of management control are necessary, because 80% – 90% of the project work is accomplished in this phase.

  • Cleanup

The project is handed over to the production environment. Most important issue is the deployment of project staff and employees.

Project accounts are finalized, all reconciliation are carried out and all outstanding dues are settled.

Significance of project life cycle:

It defines, the phase of the project (time), the work performed in each phase (work), the input and output of each phases (Result), the milestone of each phase (End sign).

Functions of project Management:

Scoping   —Setting the boundaries of the project

Planning —identifying the tasks required to complete the project

Estimating—Identifying resources required to complete the project

Scheduling—Developing a plan to complete the project

Organizing—Making sure members understand their roles and responsibilities.


A well-conceived project goes a long way towards successful implementation and operation.

The rate at which we spend money, i.e. the amount of money spent per day, per week, per month, changes throughout the life of a project.

The attention that a project receives isn’t uniformly distributed throughout its life span but varies from phase to phase.


About Senthil Raja C

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