Project management involves a cycle of processes. These cycles for defining, designing, developing, and delivering a deliverable vary according to organization.
The classical project management approach and DoD cycles provide two examples of most widely used project management cycles. The classic project management cycle has been described by many authors. For instance, David I. Cleland (2002) in Project Management, Strategic Design, and Implementation discusses a generic project management life cycle including conceptual, definition, production, operation, and divestment. This approach is also detailed by Harold Kerzner (2003) in Project Management. The five phases generally involve the following functions:
1. Conceptual. This is the phase in which objectives and goals are set and specifications determined. It is in this phase that projects are outlined and modeled to assure that the project deliverable is understood. Often the assumption is that the customer—the sponsoring agency or firm has already determined the priority and need for the project deliverable, and that the basic role of the project team is to deliver it within schedule and budget. Traditional project management does not make much room for involvement of the project team with the customer in selecting the project, much less assuring that it results from a quality improvement process performance within the customer's organization and environment.
2. Definition. This is the process of defining the project deliverable in terms of a work breakdown structure (WBS), a budget and schedule, and a critical path network. This is where the WBS provides an organizational and hierarchical look at the project, showing basic interdependencies and interrelationships with the project task structure. A scope of work, budget, and schedule is drawn up in this phase, and the project team is developed around the tasks.
3. Production. It is in this phase that the project deliverable is actually produced or "prototyped," so that testing and measuring can proceed. Production involves lining up all the required resources and integrating them according to their interdependencies as shown in the WBS.
4. Operations. Here the project deliverable is installed, tested, and measured in operation, with the customer or user. Operations assure that the project deliverable, whether a system, product, or a new service, conforms with the original specifications.
5. Divestment. Divestment involves documenting the project and closing it down. Here the team members are typically selected for other project teams and the project books are closed.
Within the DoD, the project management cycle is described as the seven phase acquisition cycle. The seven phase acquisition cycle as described in James V. Jones's Integrated Logistics Support Handbook (2004) includes:
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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.