Every project has a definite start and an end. A project goes through different stages right from the initiation till its completion. The series of stages
is called as the project lifecycle. Each stage again has a defined beginning and an end depending on the type of project. A joke defines these stages as
Enthusiasm, Disillusionment, Panic, Search for the guilty, Punishment of the innocent and Praise and honour for the non-participants. But that is surely
not something we want to experience. The four stages in the project lifecycle are:
1.Initiation – Project initiation includes activities done at the beginning of the project like defining the scope and objectives of the project. The
required resources are identified. Timeline, project structure and success parameters are defined. The final deliverables are defined and an alignment of
stakeholders’ expectations and project purpose is achieved.
2.Planning – The project manager creates detailed plans in this stage. There are different aspects to project management like Cost, Quality, Time, Resources,
Financials, Risks etc. A plan for each aspect is made and signed off with the client. The project team is identified and their roles and responsibilities
3.Execution – The project plan is put in to action. Each task in the project plan is carried out as per the schedule by the resource assigned to it. The
project manager closely monitors the tasks, tracks their status, and communicates with stakeholders regularly. The project manager juggles the parameters
of cost, time, scope, quality and risk and takes actions and decisions to ensure that the project meets its objectives.
4.Closure – The project is evaluated as per success parameters defined in the project plan and determined if it is a successful one or not. All processes are
completed. Hand-over steps are arranged for if required. Customer acceptance is obtained from the client. A post project review is undertaken wherein the
lessons learned are documented for future reference. All project participants are informed about the project closure.
There are different project lifecycles used today depending on type of project, client and technology. Each lifecycle has the project phases adapted in a
different way –
Predictive – In the predictive lifecycle, the project is planned from a scope, time and cost perspective very early on. For example, an upgrade project by
an automotive company to develop an application for dealer management using upgraded technology that would last 8 months can use a predictive lifecycle
approach as most project variables are known. The deliverable can be given at the end of the 8 months period. It will have the phases in a sequential order
Iterative – A project adopts an iterative approach when project phases or iterations are repeated and the project is developed incrementally. This is used
when requirements are not clear at the beginning or there are many change requests expected or the client wants to see some aspects of the end product
immediately and then develop new ideas. The application is built in increments with each increment having more requirements built in.
Adaptive – Adaptive lifecycle is used when agile methodology is required for the project. This is used when many changes are expected and fast response is
required for these changes. When stakeholder involvement is very high, an adaptive lifecycle is helpful.
In this lifecycle, there will be a basic overall plan but the phases can be overlapping, there could be one increment build that is in the design stage and
another one in the test stage and a third one in the planning phase. At the beginning of each iteration, the requirements based on priority and criticality
that need to be delivered are determined and these are given to the client for review at the end of the iteration.
Plan & Analyse
Plan & Analyse
Plan & Analyse
Project Status Active Phase
Every project is different and has its own challenges. A project manager should understand the requirements and complexities of the project in hand and
decide the best lifecycle to be adopted so that the project is successful.
You can learn more about Project Management here.