Project Life Cycle

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Figure 2-1. Typical Cost and Staffing Levels Across the Project Life Cycle

Figure 2-1. Typical Cost and Staffing Levels Across the Project Life Cycle

Projects Level Influence And Cost

Figure 2-2. Stakeholder Influence Over Time

Within the context of the generic life cycle structure, a project manager may determine the need for more effective control over certain high-level work deliverables. Large and complex projects in particular may require this additional level of control. In such instances, the work carried out to complete the project's objective may benefit from being divided into phases.

2.1.2 Relationship to a Product's Life Cycle

Product life cycle is a collection of generally sequential, non-overlapping product phases whose name and number are determined by the manufacturing and control need of the organization. The last product life cycle phase for a product is generally the product's retirement. Generally, a project life cycle is contained within one or more product life cycles. Care should be taken to distinguish the project life cycle from the product life cycle. All projects have a purpose or objective, but in those cases where the objective is a service or result, there may be no product life cycle involved.

When the output of the project is related to a product, there are many possible relationships. For instance, the development of a new product could be a project on its own. Alternatively, an existing product might benefit from a project to add new functions or features, or a project might be created to develop a new model. Many facets of the product life cycle lend themselves to being run as small projects, for example: performing a feasibility study, conducting market research, running an advertising campaign, installing a product, holding focus groups, trialing a product in a test market, etc. In each of these examples the project life cycle would differ from the product life cycle.

Since one product may have many projects associated with it, additional efficiencies may be gained by managing all related projects collectively. For instance, a number of separate projects may be related to the development of a new automobile. Each project may be distinct, but still contributes a key deliverable necessary to bring the automobile to market. Oversight of all projects by a higher authority could significantly increase the likelihood of success. Managing a group of projects in a coordinated way, to obtain benefits not available from managing them separately, is within the scope of program management.

2.1.3 Project Phases

Project phases are a collection of logically related project activities, usually culminating in the completion of a major deliverable. Project phases are mainly completed sequentially, but can overlap in some project situations. Phases can be subdivided into subphases and then into components. A project phase is an element of a project life cycle. A project phase is not a project management process group.

Many projects can be effectively carried out as a single phase. Large or complex projects may be divided into separate phases. Project phases are not the same as the divisions of the generic life cycle structure described in Section 2.1.1. Regardless of the number of phases comprising a project, all phases have similar characteristics:

• Phases are generally sequential and involve some form of transfer or handoff of the work product produced as the phase deliverable.

• The work has a distinct focus that differs from any other phase. This often involves different organizations and different skill sets.

• Repeating project management process groups within each phase adds value by providing an extra degree of control necessary to effectively manage the project.

• The end of a phase represents a natural point to reassess the effort underway and to change or terminate (he project if necessary. These are referred to as phase exits, phase gates, decision gates, or kill points.

Although many projects may have similar phase names with similar deliverables, few are identical. Some will have only one phase, as shown in Figure 2-3. Other projects may have six or more. Figure 2-4 shows an example of a project with three phases. Note that different phases typically have a different duration or length.

One Approach to Managing the Installation of a Telecommunications Network

Monitoring & Controlling Processes

Figure 2-3. Example of a Single-Phase Project

One Approach to Cleaning Up a Hazardous Waste Site

Figure 2-3. Example of a Single-Phase Project

One Approach to Cleaning Up a Hazardous Waste Site

Example Single Phase Project

There is no single way to define the ideal structure for a project. Although industry common practices will often icad to the use of a preferred structure, projects in the same industry—or even in the same organization—may have significant variation. Some organizations have established policies that standardize aii projects under a single modei, while others aiiow the project management team to choose the most appropriate model for their individual project. For instance, one organization may treat a feasibility study as routine prc-projcct work, another may treat it as the first phase of a project, and a third might treat the feasibility study as a separate, stand-alone project. Likewise, one project team might divide a project into two phases where a different project team might have chosen to manage all the work as a single phase. Much depends on the nature of the specific project and the style of the project team or organization.

.1 Project Governance Across the Life Cycle

Project governance is a management approach taken to support project delivery. Ultimately, governance provides a comprehensive, uniform method of controlling the project and ensuring its success. The project governance approach is described in the project management plan.

A project's governance must fit within the larger context of the program or organization sponsoring it. Within those constraints, as well as the additional limitations of budget and cost, it is up to the project manager and the project management team to determine the most appropriate method of carrying out the project. Decisions must be made regarding who will be involved, what resources are necessary, and the general approach to completing the work. Another important consideration is whether more than one phase will be involved and, if so, what will the specific phased structure look like for the individual project?

The governance of larger and more complex projects split into multiple phases may require additional controls. Each phase is formally initiated to specify what is allowed and expected for that phase. A management review is often held to reach a decision to start the activities of a phase. This is especially true when a prior phase has not yet completed—for example, when an organization chooses a life cycle where more than one phase of the project progresses simultaneously. The beginning of a phase is also a time to revalidate earlier assumptions and define in more detail the activities and processes necessary to complete the phase deliverable or deliverables. For instance, if a particular phase does not require purchasing any new materials or equipment there would be no need to carry out the activities or processes associated with procurement.

A project phase is generally concluded and formally closed with a review of the deliverable to determine completeness and acceptance. A phase-end review can achieve the combined goal of obtaining authorization to close the current phase and initiate the subsequent one. Formal phase completion does not necessarily include authorizing the subsequent phase. If the project is completed, if the risk is deemed to be too great for the project to continue, or if the objectives are no longer required, a phase can be closed with the decision to not initiate any other phases.

.2 Phase-to-Phase Relationships

When large or complex projects are multi-phased, the phases are part of a generally sequential process designed to ensure proper control of the project and attain the desired product, service, or result. However, there are situations when a project might benefit from overlapping or concurrent phases.

There are three basic types of phase-to-phase relationships:

• A sequential relationship, where a phase can only start once the previous phase is complete. Figure 2-4 shows an example of a project with entirely sequential phases. The step-by-step nature of this approach reduces uncertainty, but may eliminate options for reducing the schedule.

• An overlapping relationship, where the phase starts prior to completion of the previous one (see Figure 2-5). This can sometimes be applied as an example of the schedule compression technique called fast tracking. Overlapping phases may increase risk and can result in rework if a subsequent phase progresses before accurate information is available from the previous phase.

Potential Approach to Building a New Factory

Potential Approach to Building a New Factory

Schedule Project Management Phases
Figure 2-5. Example of a Project with Overlapping Phases

• An iterative relationship, where only one subset is planned at any given time and the planning lor the next period is carried out as work progresses on the current deliverable. This approach is useful in largely undefined, uncertain, or rapidly changing environments such as research, but it can lead to rework and reduce the ability to provide long term planning or scope control for the project. It also entails having ail of the project team members (e.g. designers, developers, etc.) available throughout the project.

For multi-phase projects, more than one phase-to-phase relationship could occur during different parts of a project. In theory, ali three relationships could occur between different phases of an exceptionally large and complex project.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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