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The project life cycle provides a general overview of the phases that a project goes through. The lifecycle for a traditional project is quite different than that for an Adaptive project.
Project Life Cycle
Projects are temporary endeavors, therefore they have a lifecycle.
When to use
The project life cycle provides a general overview of the phases that a project goes through. An understanding of the project life cycle aids in planning the timing and resources required to complete the project. In addition to planning, the project life cycle can assist a project leader at major milestones of a project to ensure that appropriate progress has been made on the project.
Project Life Cycle: “The project life cycle is the series of phases that a project passes through from its start to its completion.” PMBOK® Guide
Most organizations have a project management methodology which will define the phases of a project life cycle. Obviously, if your organization has one, follow it. Lifecycles often vary based upon the level of certainty inherent in the requirements and definition of the final product, service or result. This spectrum goes from predictive projects where everything is clearly specified at the time of initiation and the full project plan can be established to Agile which uses a series of rapid iterations to discover and develop the result of the project.
Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017, Figure X3-1, Page 666.
Project Life Cycle and Risk
As a project progresses from start to finish, the quantity of risks will reduce. When tasks finish and decisions are made, the risks associated with that task or decision are retired. However, as a project nears the end of its lifecycle, the time and resources available to resolve remaining risks is normally limited so that the impact of any new risk is magnified. The cost of changing the project to accommodate the new risk normally involves considerable rework and delays.
Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017, Part 2, Figure 1-3, Page 549
Project Management Process Group Interactions
The activities and processes of project management interact with each other throughout the project life cycle. The interactions of the project management process groups, Initiating, Planning, Executing, Closing, and Monitoring and Controlling varies over the life of the project. The unique project lifecyle will determine the level of project management process activity required at each phase of the project.
Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013, Figure 1-5, Page 18. PMBOK is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.Login to download
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PMI, PMP, CAPM and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.