In this section, following a brief discussion of the project life cycle, we will categorize the types of conflicts that frequently occur in the project environment, and then amplify the nature of these conflicts. Finally, we will link the project life cycle with the fundamental conflict categories and discover that certain patterns of conflict are associated with the different periods in the life of a project. With this knowledge, the PM can do a faster and more accurate job of diagnosing the nature of the conflicts he/she is facing, thereby reducing the likelihood of escalating the conflict by dealing with it ineffectually.
Various authors define the stages of the project life cycle (see Figures 1-2 and 1-3 in Chapter 1) in different ways. Two of the most commonly cited definitions are those of Thamhain and Wilemon |29| and Adams and Barndt (lj. The former use a four-stage model with project formation, buildup, main program, and phaseout identified as the stages of the life cycle. Adams and Barndt also break the project life cycle into four stages: conceptualization, planning, execution, and termination.
For our purposes, these two views of the cycle are not significantly different. During the first stage, senior management tentatively, sometimes unofficially, approves preliminary planning for a project. Often, this management recognition is preceded by some strictly unofficial "bootleg" work to test the feasibility of an idea. Initial planning is undertaken, basic objectives are often adopted, and the project may be "scoped out." The second stage is typified by detailed planning, budgeting, scheduling, and the aggregation of resources. In the third stage, the lion's share of the actual work on the project is accomplished. During the final stage of the life cycle, work is completed and products are turned over to the client or user. This stage also includes disposition of the project's assets and personnel. It may even include preparation for the initial stage of another related project to follow.
Was this article helpful?
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.