There are many ways in which to run a project. But in order to run a project successfully, it requires consideration of all aspects of the project., from scope and budget to the tasks in detail, communication, that take place during and after the project is launched and executed.
Traditionally, there are five stages of project management. All of the five stages create what is known as a project life cycle. In this article we will explain the project life cycle and cover each stage of project management.
What is a Project Life Cycle?
According to the Project Management Book of Knowledge® (PMBOK), the project life cycle is a series of phases that represent the development of a solution – from concept through delivery, maturity, and finally to retirement.
A project life cycle is made up of 5 essential stages:
In some cases, these phases show what goes on behind the scenes before a project might come to a project manager’s attention. Think of this as a roadmap to help you take a project from an idea to completion.
If this process feels too rigid for you, that’s okay! Pick up the fundamentals, understand how the steps are formalized, and make decisions on how the steps can apply to you, your team, or your organization.
Stage One: Project Initiation & Conception
This is arguably the most critical phase of the project life cycle. The objective here is to identify the why behind the project and the project goals, usually the business case. Here you’ll do preliminary research on project feasibility. What happens here will set the tone and goals for what is to come.
A project usually arises from a business need or goal aimed at solving a problem, or exploring new ways in which to do business. For instance, if a company is looking to cut down the number of customer service calls they receive, they will research and explore what is driving the number of calls. That research will then help us find out what can be done to reduce the number of calls.
The best way to understand the challenges and goals is through a project brief, that outlines the purpose and needs of the project, in conjunction with the business case. This kind of background is invaluable to a team when kicking off a project. It’s also a great way to get all involved parties and stakeholders aligned on what’s to come.
While you can proceed without every detail documented (agile project management), it’s a good idea to be in agreement on goals and intended outcomes.
Read about stage two in my next blogpost next week.