Project Phases and Project Life Cycles

Most projects are divided into phases, and all projects, large or small, have a similar project life cycle structure. Project phases generally consist of segments of work that allow for easier management, planning, and control of the work. The work and the deliverables produced during the phase are typically unique to that phase. Some projects may consist of one phase and others may have many phases.

The number of phases depends on the project complexity and the industry. For example, information technology projects might progress through phases such as requirements, design, program, test, and implement. All the collective phases the project progresses through in concert are called the project life cycle. Project life cycles are similar for all projects regardless of their size or complexity. The phases that occur within the project life cycle are sequential and sometimes overlap each other. Most projects include at least the following four project life cycles (not to be confused with the project process groups that we'll discuss in the section titled "Project Management Process Groups"):

■ Beginning the project

■ Planning and organizing the work of the project

■ Performing the work of the project

■ Closing out the project

The end of each phase within the life cycle structure allows the project manager, stakeholders, and project sponsor the opportunity to determine whether the project should continue to the next phase. In order to progress to the next phase, the deliverable from the phase before it must be reviewed for accuracy and approved. As each phase is completed, it's handed off to the next phase. We'll look at handoffs and progressions through these phases next.

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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