Project Life Cycle is a critical component of handling, structuring, and closing of a highly demanding project. Complex, resource-intensive projects require proper planning and high project management skills. A project manager should know the life cycle phases, their characteristics and project management process groups for better project handling. This will help them understand the project’s deeper aspect to achieve desired goals and consistent success.
Phases and components of a project life cycle are essential in deciding whether the project is highly intensive or requires fewer resources. Every project has a beginning stage, middle stage, and final closing stage in its life cycle. This article will introduce the concept and components of Project Management as per PMI’s PMBOK Guide 6th Edition. This will briefly cover Projects, Components of Projects, Impacts of effective and efficient execution of processes on projects, and Project Management Process Groups.
Before introducing a project management course, we need first to raise or define a project. What exactly is a project? A project is a one-time undertaking to develop a one-of-a-kind product, result, or capability to perform a service. For instance, This definition of the project leads to the next logical step of how to make this fantastic product, result, or service. The solution to this varies with the concept of managing projects, in the idea of project management.
Introduction to Project Management
Project management is defined as applying knowledge, skills, tools & techniques to project activities to achieve project requirements. This definition is taken from PMBOK Guide 6th Edition. Effective project management can save money and resources, as more than half of unsuccessful initiatives fail due to a lack of communication. You come up with a project idea, establish its goals, plan for its execution, and guide it to completion during the project management life cycle phases. While going through this definition, one may come across a few key elements that need immediate and brief attention, as mentioned below.
|Skills||This element will help understand if the team member has the relative skills to use a project tool.|
|Knowledge||This factor will determine whether the team member has prior experience with the customer, similar projects that have been completed, and the specifics of the knowledge area.|
|Attitude||This element will determine if the team member can work with others as a cohesive team; in short, it will help determine the mindset of the team member.|
|Tools||Something tangible, such as a template or a software program, is used in performing an activity to produce a product or a result of a service, e.g., benchmarking, product analysis, etc.|
|Techniques||A defined systematic procedure used by a human resource to perform an activity in order to generate a product, a result, or offer a service, which may include one or more tools, such as meetings, expert judgment, decomposition, and so on.|
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Project Management Key Performance
Furthermore, Project management is performed by implementing and integrating the project management processes that have been identified for the project. (we will briefly touch upon the project management process later in this article).
Project Management does not only enable organizations to execute projects effectively and efficiently, but it also helps individuals and groups. We will also see in the table the impact of running the projects using effective and efficient project management processes and running the projects on an ad-hoc basis or absence of project management processes (poorly managed projects).
|Impacts of Effectively Managed Projects||Impacts of Poorly Managed Projects|
|Meeting Business Objectives||Missed deadlines|
|Satisfy stakeholder expectations||Cost overruns|
|Be more predictable||Poor quality|
|Increase chances of success||Rework|
|Deliver the viable product at the given time||Uncontrolled expansion of the project|
|Resolve issues and problems||Loss of reputation for the organization|
|Respond to risks on time||Unsatisfied stakeholders|
|Enhance the use of organizational resources and effectively manage change in a prominent manner||Failure to meet the goals for which the project was formed|
|Failing projects should be identified, recovered, or terminated.|
|Manage constraints & Balance the influence of constraints on the projects.|
Project Management on Business Environment
Today’s business environment is dynamic and changing at an unparalleled rate. Leaders in the organization need in order to manage the projects with tighter budgets, shorter timelines, scarcity of resources, and rapidly changing technology to sustain this change. hence, Organizations are embracing project management to deliver business value consistently.
For instance, It would be prudent to say that effective and efficient project management should be considered a strategic competency in organizations. This would enable the organizations in order to tie outcomes of projects to business goals, become more competitive, become sustainable, and respond to the changing business environment.
At this point, let us highlight a few more concepts/components associated with a project. These concepts/components are mentioned in the table below with their brief description. These elements or components are closely linked to one another.
|Life Cycle||From the start to the finish, a project goes through a variety of phases.|
|Phase||The completion of one or more deliverables is the culmination of a collection of logically related project activities.|
|Phase Gate||A review occurs at the conclusion of a phase in which a decision is taken.|
|Processes||Systematic series of activities directed toward causing One or more inputs will be acted upon to produce one or more outputs as a result.|
Approaches Of Project Life Cycle
There are multiple phases from which a project has to pass during its life cycle, from the start to the termination phase. There are different types of project life cycle phases, and in this section, we will discuss them one by one.
During the early stages of the predictive life cycle, the project scope, time, and cost decide. Any changes to the area are handled with care. Because the project’s deliverables and products are defined from the start, the project manager should keep track of scope modifications to avoid issues with the project’s implementation.
The activities in the predictive life cycle are organized into a succession of phases that are either consecutive or overlap. The project management team concentrates on defining the project’s scope. Next, they must devise a strategy for delivering the product before moving on to the subsequent phases to carry out the procedure.
Adaptive life cycles are agile. Various project life cycles depend on the structure and steps involved. The adaptive life cycle is an essential project life cycle in project management. The adaptive life cycle is also a flexible or change-focused approach (sometimes known as agile or change-driven methods). It adapts to extremely high degrees of change and continual input from many parties. There are several scopes of a project that is split into different needs or sub projects. life cycles are agile. Various project life cycles depend on the structure and steps involved.
The adaptive life cycle is an essential project life cycle in project management. The adaptive life cycle is also a flexible or change-focused approach (sometimes known as agile or change-driven methods). It adapts to extremely high degrees of change and continual input from many parties. There are several scopes of a project that is split into different needs or sub projects.
A hybrid life cycle combines a predictive and an adaptive life cycle.
Furthermore, Elements of projects that are well known or have fixed requirements follow a predictive life cycle. Those that are not well known follow an adaptive life cycle. The beauty of hybrid life cycles is that they can be completely customized. So how it works in practice is also highly personal: you can mold it to be whatever you want as long as it serves the project team’s goals.
Before going on to more predictive planning to perform the delivery phases, you might utilize agile approaches to elicit needs at the start of the project within a timeboxed phase.
What is Project Life Cycle Management
The life cycle of a project is also managed through the execution of a series of project management activities referred to as project management processes. For instance, Every project management process produces outputs from one or more inputs using appropriate project management tools and techniques. The outputs can be a deliverable or an outcome. Outcomes are a result of a process.
One important aspect is: For instance, The Project management processes apply globally across industries. It means that regardless of the industry, or the organization you work in, the project management process will be applicable.
Process groups and knowledge management areas are used in order to organize project management operations. There are 5 process groups and 10 Knowledge areas, as mentioned in PMBOK Guide 6th Edition.
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5 Process Groups in Project Management
A project management process group is also a collection of logical project management processes. It works together in order to achieve certain project goals. So, The objectives could be to initiate a project, plan a project, execute a project, monitor/control a project, or close a project. The groups are:
Initiation Phase –
You’ll specify the project during the beginning step. You’ll figure out the project’s objectives, scope, resources, and the team’s duties. It is essential to clarify the requirements of the stakeholders while keeping a check on what exactly they require from the project.
This is a critical stage in the project’s development. If the project manager is not aware of the goals and objectives of the project, it can cause failure in no time. It is important to know if the project goes into danger, then what are the requirements a leader should execute.
The following are some of the steps in the initiation phase:
- Communicating with stakeholders to ensure that they are aware of the project’s goals and objectives.
- Determining the project’s scope
- Defining resources such as budget and deadlines
- Confirming the size of the team and the jobs that are required
- Identifying how often and with whom the project will be communicated throughout.
Planning Phase –
The steps to achieving the project goals—the “how” of finishing a project—will be determined during the planning phase.
You’ll create budgets, timeframes, and milestones and gather resources and documentation. There are major steps in the Planning phase, evaluating project risk, keeping communication protocols updated, and managing the plan.
The various steps involved in the planning phase are as follows-
- It is essential to determine the milestones that will lead to the permanent goals.
- Development of tasks and time schedules to reach the milestones.
- Creating and signing important documents, like non-disclosure agreements, etc.
Executing Phase –
Making the inventory of the ideas and putting them ahead into action is what executing phase entails. Tracking and monitoring progress, maintaining quality, limiting risk, managing the budget, and using data to guide your decisions are all examples of this.
The following are specific steps:
- To track job progress, use tools like GANTT or burndown charts.
- Responding to threats as soon as they appear
- Costs of recording
- Keeping team members focused and motivated.
Monitoring Phase –
The project monitoring and control phase focuses on assessing the project’s performance and tracking its progress. During the execution phase, it is implemented. This phase’s major purpose is to ensure that everything complies with the Project Management plan, particularly budgetary parameters and timetables.
The project manager is responsible for making any required resource allocation modifications and ensuring that everything is on schedule. A project manager can help by holding review meetings and receiving regular performance updates.
Closure Phase –
Once the manager starts investing in the initial phases, they forget that the closure phase is equally important. Closure of a particular project is equally important in every project life cycle.
It represents the final and crucial phase of a project life cycle. Around this phase, the project is ready to deliver. In this stage, all the project activities are ready to wrap up, and only deliverable material is left. It is not always that the closure phase will occur after completing a project. Sometimes, the project is termed in the closure phase due to project failure.
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Characteristics of a Project Life Cycle
Few of the attributes of a Project Life Cycle are mentioned below-
- Define the project’s start and finish dates.
- Before moving on to the next phase, the deliverables are usually approved.
- A second phase is sometimes started before the previous phase has been approved. This is referred to as fast-tracking.
- Defines the scope of technical work and the people who will carry it out.
- Costs and workforce levels are low at the outset, rise as the project progresses, and fall as the project concludes.
- The likelihood of project success is common at the beginning of the project and gradually increases as it goes.
- As the project progresses, adjustments and error repair costs tend to rise.
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