Project Management Lesson 2 - Project LifeCycle

Project Lifecycle

Every project goes into phases that are interrelated. In general, these phases can be summarised as

  • Concept
  • Initiation
  • Delivery
  • Closure

Each phase builds upon on phases that precede it and needs to be accomplished prior moving to the next phase. In reality, project don't happen in such a linear process and such phases can easily overlap or even run in parallel to each other.

Reflecting on your projects discussed earlier, can you map these phases into them?

So let's discuss each phase in more detail.

The concept phase of a project includes the early exploration of ideas to solve a given problem

Concept

During a concept phase of a project you are generally exploring different ideas to solve a given problem. Projects get created to solve problems due to a change in strategic direction, a need to improve and/or changes in the environment, such as customers' expectation, new legislation or new market opportunities.

In this phase you are looking more into defining the problem more accurately to entertain the different ideas that you are going to produce. These ideas are yet to be qualified in detail but the overall approach to solve a problem is being laid out.

Think back to your previous projects, what problem were you looking at to solve?

In this phase, you would normally summarise all your findings (not necessarily detailed solutions) in a document, which is usually called a 'concept brief'.

A concept brief clearly outlines the problem at hand and introduces a framework, where a solution can be initiated, delivered and finally closed.

The concept phase is the starting point for all phases to follow.

The initiation phase is about justifying the worth of a project

Initiation

Every project will require some level of investment in resources to get it started. So, once you have created a project concept, you will need to 'sell' its benefits to the people, who will approve and invest in your concept to make it a reality.

This is the phase where most projects get scrutinised and qualified before they proceed to become 'real projects'. Such qualifications include a good understanding of

  • the real worth of the project
  • a cost/benefit analysis
  • a project time plan
  • the required resources
  • the stakeholders
  • the potential risks
  • ... and more

It is therefore, the initiation phase is also referred to be the 'first' phase in the project management cycle. It sets the

  • Objectives
  • Scope
  • Purpose
  • Deliverables

Watch the video below to learn about the steps, yo need to take initiate a project.

The project initiation steps are

  • Develop a business case
  • Undertake a feasibility study
  • Establish a project charter
  • Appoint a project team
  • Set up a project office
  • Perform a phase review

All the above activities can be summarised in one (or more) document, which will be the basis for the project delivery phase, once the project gets approved for implementation.

The delivery phase is the phase where all planned activities of the project is being delivered and put into place.

Delivery

The project delivery phase is about execution, management and continuous monitoring until project deliverables have been achieved. Concepts that have been put into plans supported by resources are to become realised. During this phase you will be executing the project plan and managing several aspects, such as

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • People
  • Risk
  • Processes
  • Communication
The heart of project management lies in the project delivery phase.

The delivery phase shows how important the concept and initiation phase are for the project to succeed. For examples, if you have not considered potential project risks in your initiation phase and planned measures for their occurrence, how will you 'react' during the delivery?

Reflect on your previous projects to highlight aspects of risk management measures that you used to better manage the delivery of your project.

Entering the project closure phase means that the planned deliverables have been achieved and the time for reviewing and monitoring the implementation has started.

Project Closure involves handing over the deliverables, releasing teams from their duties and informing stakeholders of the closure of the project.

Now that you have successfully delivered the main milestones of your project, did everything run smoothly as you planned? In most cases, the answer is

"No, not everything."

After the project has been closed, a post implementation review determines the project's success and identifies lessons learned. Such lessons help to ensure future projects are delivered. successfully on time and on budget.

What are the lessons you have learned from your previous projects?

END OF LESSON 2

Created By
Hisham Attia
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Credits:

Created with images by FelixMittermeier - "pocket watch clock time" • ganderssen1 - "e-commerce"

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