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4 Phases of Project Life Cycle

  • Yashoda Gandhi
  • Dec 20, 2021
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A grasp of the project management life cycle is vital whether you're working on a small project with modest commercial goals or a massive, multi-departmental endeavor with far-reaching corporate ramifications.


To execute a job successfully, a lot of hustle is required. Before a project can be considered completed, there are “n” tasks that must be completed.


Each project has a lifespan, and throughout that time it goes through many phases, which are referred to as the project life cycle. It is critical to have a solid grasp of the project life cycle for every project you are working on.



What is the project life cycle?


The project manager and project team have just one purpose in common: to complete the project work in order to satisfy its objectives. These objectives are then carried out in stages throughout the project life cycle.


A project life cycle is a sequence of operations designed to maximize the advantages of a commercial project. The project stands out because of its lifetime, which is typically depicted as a series of phases. 


A project life cycle is a four-step structure designed to make it simpler for the project management to perform its duties successfully. Depending on the project's complexity, funding, and size, the project plan may evolve. 


To perform activities efficiently and smoothly, it is advised to follow the four stages of the life cycle when working on any business project.


Various aspects of the project life cycle must be defined, according to the project management book of knowledge.


  • What tasks must be completed?

  • What are the project deliverables?

  •  Who will be on the team?

  • How can the performance of each phase be tracked?


(Recommended blog: Best Project Managing Software)



Different Phases of Project Life Cycle


The project lifecycle is useful for managing any form of project. During the project lifecycle, project managers are given guidelines to ensure the project's success. 


Generally, a project life cycle consists of only four stages: initiation, planning, execution, and closure; however, in other methodologies, two more phases are included in project life cycle phases: monitoring and control. 

These phases are followed by the project management throughout the project's completion process.  Four phased project life cycle;


1. Initiation


The initiation stage is critical because it defines the objectives, business concepts,  business goals, and scope of the project.


The project manager convenes a meeting to learn about the needs, aims, and objectives of the customer and stakeholders. To have a deeper knowledge of the project, it is necessary to delve into minute detail. 


After reaching a final decision to proceed, the project can advance to the following phase, which is to form a project team. Once the project team has been selected and involved, we may successfully go on to the following step of the cycle, which is the planning stage.



2. Planning


Every project requires a clear strategy in order to be carried out and to lead the project team. The tasks, timeline, money, resources, and hazards are all covered in the planning phase. The planning phase is primarily concerned with time, cost, and resources.


The project manager organizes the creation of a project budget by providing labour, equipment, and material cost estimates as needed. The budget is used to track and regulate the costs incurred during the project's life cycle. 


Once the Project Manager has identified the job, established the strategy, and assessed the performance and costs, the primary components of the planning process are completed.



3. Execution


In the execution phase, the planning is transformed into actions and the project is carried out, with deliverables created in response to client or customer demand. During execution, it is critical to maintain control and communicate as needed.


The project manager spends the majority of his time in this phase since he is carrying out the duties, and progress is communicated through frequent team meetings. 


The major approach should always be to return the project to its original trajectory, that of the preceding phase's project plan. If this is not practicable, the changes to the original plan must be documented, as well as the amended plan. (source)



4. Closure


The closure phase is the last and concluding step in the project life cycle. The product or service is given to the consumer or client for review at this point. All project activities have been completed at this point in the project as well as:


  • Project evaluation and documentation

  • Supplier relationship has been terminated.

  • Project resources are made available.


The final phase is to perform lessons-learned studies to determine what worked and what didn't. This form of analysis transfers experience's wisdom back to the project organisation, which will benefit future project teams. 


When a project is finished, whether it is successful or not, it is turned over to the project owner. In reality, it is critical not only to successfully complete a project, but also to execute it according to the original project plan.


(Related blog: Big data in project management)



Benefits of Project Lifecycle


  • Better communication


Proper project planning leads to improved communication between management and employees. Employees are provided equal opportunity to complete their responsibilities and obligations, regardless of the project's status.


 As a result, employees are aware of what and when duties must be completed, and management is aware of what to expect from a particular employee. 


It also aids the firm in planning resource levels to minimize wasting resources while guaranteeing that resources are accessible when needed.



  • Structure for project


The project lifecycle lays forth a method for completing a project in an organized manner. This allows everyone involved in the project to see how the project is developing and whether any issues with specific deliverables are present.


 A project life cycle divides a project into stages, making it easier to comprehend and track. Employees know which work to do, and management knows when a sub-task of the project will be completed, which improves the overall efficiency of the project. This gives teams a unified road plan to follow.



  • Tracking progress


One of the most important parts of the project life cycle is the ability to track progress.The project life cycle enables the project manager to immediately relate progress to each phase and recognise phase completion.


Thanks to task divisions and prior schedule and cost finalisation, the project life cycle aids in determining how competitive project work has gone and where speed is required or cost-cutting is required.


It was a challenging task before project life cycles existed, but now projects are planned in advance. Everything relating to time management, risk, and expenses is considered and recognised ahead of time.



  • Evolution of project


The project lifecycle phases help you understand how the project has developed and identify areas that require greater attention at different times, such as risk management in the early stages and more Project Evaluation Reviews in the Implementation stage. 


The project information is expanded in greater detail with each stage. The expense estimates have been improved, and the plans have been fine-tuned.



  • Better project management


When it comes to project management, the project life cycle is crucial. It aids in the management of project time, cost, resources, and staff activities. 


The project life cycle is used to identify and plan each part of a project at the outset, which aids in strategizing each sub-task at a minimal cost.


Employees set their duties, and when they completed the assignment on a predetermined deadline, the cost and resources were indirectly controlled accordingly.



  • Project viability


An organization may guarantee that a project remains viable by designating when project reviews can take place during the project lifetime.


 Although a project's business case may be signed off as feasible at the start, it does not account for changes that occur over the project's life cycle.


 These changes, whether political, economic, or otherwise, may frequently have a significant influence on a project's long-term success. 


A project lifecycle will indicate when crucial project reviews may take place, ensuring that the necessary authorities are in place and that everything is in order to proceed. Gate reviews, in particular, guarantee that the project remains sustainable by adding a layer of examination.



  • Understanding required resources


A project lifecycle enables an organisation to determine which resources (both in terms of quantity as well as type) may be required and when.


 A project's logical progression is depicted using a life cycle, which includes clearly defined activities and outputs at each stage.It will inform an organization about which resources are needed and when, allowing the organization to plan ahead of time. (source)




Because of restricted time and greater demand on individuals, the world has been developing better management approaches. Much research has been conducted to determine how management may be improved in an individual's life as well as in an organisation.


The project life cycle is essential for effective project management and better project outcomes.Because of its enormous relevance, the life cycle has been frequently employed for project planning and completion. There are several software programmes designed specifically for tracking project performance.


(Suggested blog: Business Management Software)

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