An introduction to the phases of a project life cycle

At the centre of project management there must control in order to achieve your project objectives. This type of control can be achieved by following a project management life cycle.

No matter how long you’re in the PM game the project life cycle can always provide some clarity and consistency around the management of projects. The phases of a project life cycle are as follows:

    1. Initiation
    2. Planning
    3. Execution / Monitoring* (*sometimes referred to as “Control”)
    4. Closure

It should be noted that some methodologies split the “Execution / Monitoring” into two separate phases which run parallel. Regardless of the methodology each phase must be followed concurrently in order for you to get the true benefits from the cycle.

The following is a breakdown into each of the phases of a project life cycle

Initiation: It’s important to get off to a good start so time needs to be put into this stage. There a number of boxes that needs to be ticked in this stage of the cycle in order to get the project off to the right start. Start off by developing a business case, then move onto a project charter. Next you appoint a Project Manager and from there they build a project team around their project requirements.
Planning: During the all-important second step of any successful project life cycle a number of plans need to be drawn up here such as a project plan, resourcing plan, financial plan, communication plan, risk plan etc. By having all these plans in place it ensures that you have every avenue covered and you know exactly what is supposed to happen within each area.
Execution and Monitoring: You are now getting deeper into the project and all your hard work around planning is starting to show and be implemented. This step is highly important for the future of the projects as it ensures that the plan from the previous step has been successful executed. Tight control and close monitoring is a must here!
Closure: You’re now at the final 100 meters and this is no time to fall! By the time you get to this final step you should be starting to relax a little knowing that everything is falling into place. Apart from some slight tweaking the project should be brought to a conclusion with relative ease. The closure stage usually requires a document/ report that contains a formal approval of the end result, does the end result match the initial requirements?, any lessons to learned and finally an official sign off.

Utilizing a project life cycle approach may seem like work but if executed correctly it can ultimately reduce the amount of work you end up doing. By following a step by step process you should only end up doing the work that needs to be done to reach the end goal, thereby ensuring that you complete all required elements.

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