The project life cycle is the series of phases in which a project progresses from the beginning to its completion. The project leader prepares a series of the cycle and several other constituents. It affects the project, including the team required, the nature of the project, and its domain of applicability.
The project life cycle is a four-phase structure. It helps the project managers to supervise their projects successfully from the beginning to the end. Collectively, these four phases describe the course of that project from commencement to its conclusion. The main objective of the project life cycle is to generate a simple structure for the smooth completion of projects. Each phase of a project life cycle has a fixed commencement, execution, and completion with a time constraint in hand.
Understanding the phases of a project life cycle helps in easy interactions among project managers, team members, and clients. It also helps the project manager to achieve their goals through optimal utilization of available resources. It serves as a guide to overcome potential obstacles and keep projects running smoothly on the track.
Four stages of the project life cycle:
The project life cycle has 4 main phases. It helps project managers plan their projects from beginning to end. The 4 phases are:
- The project initiation (beginning) stage;
- The project planning stage;
- The project execution or implementation stage;
- The project closure (conclusion) stage.
The project initiation stage:
The initiation stage of a project life cycle is the first step in identifying the project’s goal. The project manager holds meetings with clients to understand their intentions, priorities, and investments for the project. A feasibility study gives a review of whether each component of the project meets the project objective or not. Moreover, the concluding solution plan also suggests as per this.
Once the suggestion gets approved by the client, the project tasks get initiated. The resources required for team members get finalized to meet the recommendations approved by the client.
The essential components of this phase are- outlining the project risks, dependencies, constraints, and priorities. Risks are negative factors that may impact the resources of the project like expenses, objectives, timeline, or outcomes in the wrong way. Dependencies are ‘relationships among team members and project activities.’ Constraints are restraining factors like technology, resources, time, and expense that may affect the project.
Therefore, the major objectives of the project initiation stage are:
- Identifying the objective or goal of the project.
- Understanding intentions, risks, constraints, and priorities of the project from the client-side.
- Conducting a feasibility study based on project scope, deadlines, and accessible resources.
- Presenting a project proposal to the client for approval.
The project planning stage:
Once the project proposal gets approved by the client, the next phase is the project planning phase. The project suggestion is further expanded with necessary adjustments and details. It is to match the objective of the project. In this phase, the project team outlines all the tasks that need to get completed within the deadline. Once tasks get identified, team members and project manager prepares the schedule and estimates the resources required to complete the project successfully. Risk management plays an important role in this phase. Team members and project managers identify higher threat obstacles. Further, they plan out their actions likewise to overcome it or reduce its impact on the project.
Therefore, the major objectives of the project planning stage are:
- Making necessary adjustments to the project proposal and scheduling them into a task schedule.
- Outlining tasks and resources of the team.
- Discussing potential obstacles that might impact the functioning of the project.
- Preparing a timeline needed for the successful execution of the project.
The project execution or implementation stage:
The project implementation stage is the phase where the project starts to get executed. Project manager needs to have control over each task performed. Effective and good communication plays a key role in this phase. Without proper communication between team members and project managers, it is not possible to understand the on-ground limitations and progress of the project. It is the responsibility of the project manager to have continuous monitoring of the project tasks. Also, to make appropriate adjustments if needed.
The project manager utilizes this data to have firm supervision over the project, which is through analyzing the overview of the progress reports of each task. The project proposals are to evaluate the summary of the project plan and make necessary corrective adjustments if required. A Gantt chart can be helpful in this stage. It is an all-in-one scheduling, budgeting, and reporting application tool. The tool uses bar charts to track and monitor the project life cycle. Throughout the execution phase, the project manager should keep their clients updated on the progress of the project’s status by updating and publishing the progress report on a routine basis.
Therefore, the major objectives of the project execution or implementation stage are:
- Continuous monitoring and control over the implementation process.
- Communication among team members, project managers, and clients.
- Analyzing the progress report of the project depending on the quality of output by team members.
- Customize and update project tasks, goals, and deadlines if needed depending on the dynamic environment of the project.
- Updating clients with the progress report of the project regularly.
The project closure stage:
Once all the tasks get completed, and the client has received the final completed project, the next and last phase of the project cycle is the closure phase.
During this final closure phase, the project manager focuses on delivering the final completed project to the client. He/she submits project documentation to the company, publishes project resources, and communicates the closure of the project among all team members and clients. The main idea of having this phase is to analyze outcomes, review essential components, and plan subsequent measures that can help future project teams.
Therefore, the major objectives of the project closure stage are:
- Deliver the final completed project to the client.
- Announce the conclusion of the project among all team members and clients.
- Releasing all project resources.
- Analyze project performance.
- Analyze the achievement of the team members, depending on their quality of work.