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Project Management Life Cycle

A Guide to Project Management Life Cycle

Project management is not a single step process, instead, it involves a number of phases from beginning to end. So, it is most important to understand the project management lifecycle for a project manager as well as the project team. A project manager is responsible to motivate his team to follow the phases of the project life cycle so they can reach the desired goal within the given timeframe.

Also Read: Top 5 Project Management Certifications

Phases of the Project Management Life Cycle

If we talk about Project Management phases, then a few questions arise in everyone’s mind. Why the Project Management Life Cycle is important? What are the phases? How the phases are executed in a project? Usually, there are five Project Lifecycle phases which require skills and approach to execute a project. In this article, you will have a brief about Project Lifecycle and its phases.

Phase 1: Project Initiation

Project Initiation is one of the most substantial parts of Project Management as it creates the foundation. It actually means starting of a new project so it is known as the first phase of Project Lifecycle. It consists of a document which includes all the desired information. It sets the primary goals/objectives for the tasks/activities. Project Initiation mainly focuses on below mentioned 6 activities which also includes the defined templates.

  1. Develop a Business Case: Uses Business case template.
  2. Undertake a Feasible Study: Uses Feasibility Study template.
  3. Establish the Project Charter: Uses Project Charter template.
  4. Appoint the Project Team: Uses Job Description template.
  5. Set up the Project Office: Uses Project Office Checklist template.
  6. Perform a Phase Review: Uses Phase Review Form template.

Also Read: Role and Responsibilities of the project manager

Phase 2: Project Planning

Project Planning is one of the key parts of Project Lifecycle. It consists of S.M.A.R.T and C.L.E.A.R Goals, Gantt Charts which visualize project life cycle diagram, Work Breakdown Schedule, Scope, Statements, Milestones, Communication and Risk Management Plans. The Two main goals i.e. S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely and C.L.E.A.R stands for Collaborative, Limited, Emotional, Appreciable and Refinable.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals – S.M.A.R.T goals refer to the approach where you can get all the repercussions of the activities/processes with a clear view.

  • Specific – Specific indicates to set precise areas.
  • Measurable – Measurable indicates to generate standards which are helpful to measure the goal achievements.
  • Attainable – Attainable indicates the identification of the objectives.
  • Realistic – Realistic indicates to the willingness towards the goals.
  • Timely – Timely refers to the timeframe.

C.L.E.A.R. Goals – C.L.E.A.R goals refer to the approach where you can define the goals.

  • Collaborative – Collaborative indicates the encouragement between the work and employees.
  • Limited – Limited refers to the scope limit.
  • Emotional – Emotional directly indicates to the employee’s passion. It increases productivity and connection.
  • Appreciable – Appreciable refers to the approach where you can minimize your work by distributing into other teams or professional. It creates the team spirit and you can breakdown the bigger objectives into the minor. That’s how it can be attained easily.
  • Refinable – Refinable refers to flexibility and scalability.

After these goals, A Project Manager creates a document which consists of below-mentioned details.

  • Scope Statement – Scope statement is a document which has aspects like business essential, the project profits, key milestones, goals, and deliverables. With the approval of Project Manager, it can be altered at any time, at any instant meanwhile the project.
  • Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS) –Work Breakdown Schedule (WBS) is a method by which a project manager can adjust all the activities into manageable sections. It is basically a visual demonstration defined by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).
  • Milestones – Milestones in a project define the actual achievements. Through Milestones, anyone can identify the objectives you have achieved in the project. You can include the milestones in the Gantt chart. If you are planning a project, then you should conclude the project milestones at starting. It will help you to achieve your goals.
  • Gantt Chart – In 1971, Henry L. Gantt discovered the Gantt Chart. It is basically a horizontal project life cycle diagram which visualizes the timeline and schedule. The main purpose of the Gantt Chart is to view individual activities along with their graph. It is used as a tool in the Project Management Life Cycle. It is useful to create reports on scheduling and planning.
  • Communication Plan – Communication Plan refers to the approach where you can communicate with the internal and external team easily. Especially if a project includes sponsors, stakeholders, then it is essential to have a communication plan.
  • Risk Management Plan – Risk Management Plan is basically a doc file created by the Project Manager to identify the risks which can be occurred in the project execution.

These are some of the popular terms in project management. If you want to learn more, check out our previous blog on the top 50 project management terms.

Phase 3: Project Execution

Project Execution is an approach where a project is actually started or executed. It is the phase where the objectives “which are actual deliverables” are met with the development and completion. It is one of the longest phases of Project Lifecycle. The foremost determination of the project implementation is to supply predictable outcomes.

Project Execution includes various reports like Performance and Status reports along with all the updates. Before the execution of the tasks, the Project Manager usually holds a meeting to define the responsibilities. Project Execution mainly focuses on below mentioned 10 activities which also includes the defined templates.

  1. Time Management: Uses Timesheet form, Timesheet register and Time Management Process template.
  2. Cost Management: Uses Expense form, register and Cost Management Process template.
  3. Quality Management: Uses Deliverables register, Quality Review form and Quality Management Process template.
  4. Change Management: Uses Change Request form, register and Change Management Process template.
  5. Risk Management: Uses Risk form, register and Risk Management Process template.
  6. Issue Management: Uses Issue form, register and Issue Management Process template.
  7. Procurement Management: Uses Procurement form, register and Procurement Management Process template.
  8. Acceptance Management: Uses Acceptance form, register and Acceptance Management Process template.
  9. Communication Management: Uses Communication Status report, register and Communication Management Process template.
  10. Phase Review: Uses Phase Review form template.

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Phase 4: Project Performance/Monitoring

Project Monitoring discusses the procedure in which you can keep a record of the metrics which are related to the project. It also includes few tasks like scope, problems, deadlines, task duration and performance.  This raises a question i.e. why project performance/monitoring is so much important? You will also know the value of Project Monitoring as it will also tell you about: Will these actions lead you to your expected results? What are the elements of the project that needs changing? Are tasks being carried out as planned? Are there any unforeseen consequences that arise as a result of these tasks?

Project Monitoring is an approach in which you can use tools to monetize the performance of every member of your team at any moment at any instance. Project Monitoring ensures the plans which were actually followed to complete the project. Most of the project managers use key performance indicators (KPIs) to calculate project performance. They also use a few measurement objectives which are below mentioned.

  • Project Objectives: Project Objectives refer to the measurement of a project. It also relates to the budget and schedule. The Project Manager is responsible for the completion of objectives so that they can meet stakeholder’s goals.
  • Quality Deliverables: Quality Deliverables refers directly to quality. It specifies the client’s deliverables.
  • Effort and Cost Tracking: The Project Manager is responsible for all the cost and efforts. As for every task, there is a budget allocated. So the project manager takes care of the budget by tracking every activity such as effort and cost tracking.
  • Project Performance: Project Performance is the key part of Project Lifecycle as it tracks the performance. It considers all the outcomes with issues and scopes.

It is important to be familiar with various formulas related to project management. Here are the top PMP Formulas that will help you pass the PMP certification exam and become a certified project manager.

Phase 5: Project Closure

Project Closure phase is one of the most important and last phases of the Project Management Life Cycle. It consists mainly of two activities i.e. Perform Project Closure and Review Project Completion. These two activities come with two templates which are helpful to execute the project closure phase. Project Closure Report and Post Implementation Review are the two templates.

Once you have completed the project, you can perform the project closure activity. In this, you will have to full report which consists of all the tasks, activities included/used in the project. Project Manager is responsible for the Project Closure report. She/he has to do a meeting with the client for this. This will evaluate all the desired/required outcomes which are also the key aspects of the project.

Second Activity which refers to Review Project Completion is termed as the achievements which are achieved by the team. Through Review Project Completion, you will know the positives and negatives of the tasks which you have performed, all the details which are included to complete the project. So that you can see these key terms in one place.

Mainly Project Managers follow these steps while performing Project Closure Phase:

  1. Post Mortem
  2. Complete Paperwork
  3. Release Resource
  4. Archive Documents
  5. Celebrate Success

Importance of the Project Life Cycle

Project Lifecycle is an important aspect of the Project Management system. It requires a few key points like Monitoring, Controlling, and Implementation. It ensures the proper planning and execution of all the phases. That’s why you must know the importance of the Project life cycle. Here are some points that denote the importance of project lifecycle:

  • The project management lifecycle establishes a structured approach for the delivery of the project. It defines the activities and output of each of the project clearly and allows everyone to check the processing of the project.
  • The project lifecycle allows the project manager to control and link the project progress to each phase and to identify the completion of each phase.
  • It provides a visible framework that is easily understood by the team members of the project. It helps in defining the roles and having better communication within the project organization.
  • It helps the project manager to plan the completion of the reports in order to support the reviews. It also allows people to plan their attendance in advance to make quick decisions for the progress of the project
  • The different phases of project management can identify the areas that require more attention at different levels such as risk management is required in the early stages while project evaluation reviews are required in the implementation stages. Thus, the project management lifecycle phases help to understand the evolution of the project.

Preparing for project management job interview? Check out these top 30 Project Management Interview Questions and get ready to ace the interview.

Final Words

A Project Manager usually follows the above phases while preparing for Project Lifecycle. Hope the above description of the phases of the project management life cycle will help you in your career growth.

If you want to become a successful project manager, you should be certified. So, choose one of the top project management certifications and join our project management certification training to become a certified professional in project management.

You can contact us for more information about the Project Management Lifecycle by commenting in the comment section or writing at Whizlabs Helpdesk. We’ll be happy to help you.

About Dharmalingam N

Dharmalingam.N holds a master degree in Business Administration and writes on a wide range of topics ranging from technology to business analysis. He has a background in Relationship Management. Some of the topics he has written about and that have been published include; project management, business analysis and customer engagement.
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