Speed Up Your Project with Five Phases of Project Life Cycle

Project life cycle provides a structure to a project. To make it easier to complete, it helps to divide each step into smaller tasks and milestones. Every successful project has months and years of hard work, but before all the hard work began, there was a project life cycle. In this blog, we will dive deep into the 5 phases of the project life cycle.

Phase 1: Project Initiation

The first stage in initiating a project is project initiation. During this phase, a business chooses which project to pursue, how it will benefit them, when it should be finished, and which staff will be assigned to manage the project. Since it is the first, it is by far the most crucial because so many factors are involved.

Choosing the right project is what is the most difficult part, especially if a company is looking to expand quickly. Here are a number of things that should be done before initiating a project. 

Developing a Business Case

A business case is a project management document that details how a project’s advantages outweigh its drawbacks and justifies its execution. Business cases are created during the project’s beginning phase with the intention of including all project goals, expenses, and advantages, as well as persuading stakeholders of the project’s worth. To convince your client, consumer, or stakeholder that the project you’re presenting is a wise investment, you’ll need to present a business case.

A business case provides a comprehensive analysis of how the project will benefit the organisation by compiling the financial assessment, proposal, strategy, and marketing plan into one document. The project planning phase can start as soon as the stakeholders in the project provide their approval to your business case.

To write a business case, there are four steps that need to be considered:

  • Step 1: Identify the Business Problem
  • Step 2: Identify the Alternative Solutions
  • Step 3: Recommend a Preferred Solution
  • Step 4: Describe the Implementation Approach
Speed Up Your Project with Five Phases of Project Life Cycle

Do a Feasibility Study

The purpose of a feasibility study is to evaluate the viability, strengths, and weaknesses of a proposed project, an existing system, or an organisation as a whole. Furthermore, planning the course of events, anticipated problems, and prospective solutions can all benefit from feasibility studies.

Feasibility studies are crucial because they motivate experts to think through every aspect of a project or new business venture. The history, project summary, operational description, market research, and legal and financial documentation are a few examples of these.

A strong feasibility study can also assist project managers in getting the approval they require to finish the project. Professionals can increase their chances of producing a project that is successful and beneficial to the business or larger society by analysing each of these areas and developing a plan of action. A feasibility study involves the following steps:

  • Step 1: Preliminary Analysis
  • Step 2: Projected Income Statement
  • Step 3: Market Survey
  • Step 4: Opening Day Balance Sheet
  • Step 5: Review and Analyse All Data
  • Step 6: Make a Final Decision

Terms of Reference

The background, aims, and goals of the proposed project are outlined in terms of reference (ToR). A ToR template contains a number of factors that are important for making strategic project management decisions. This document also describes the project’s activities, risks, budget, and expertise. The Project Terms of Reference document’s essential sections are summarised in the following template.

The ToR’s goal is to outline how much and what kind of work will be required to complete the project. The relationships between all project stakeholders are also established and determined by this governance agreement. Following the identification, definition, and planning of a project, the Terms of Reference document is created.

Compiling terms of reference will have many benefits for the company. Directors of companies can track the activity of their staff thanks to TOR. The corporate directors can control the activity in addition to knowing about it. The project budget can also be set up by compiling terms of reference. ToR serves as a channel for information about project activities, including planning and end product.

Making the Project Team

A collection of people working on a joint project with common aims and objectives is known as a project team. Each member of the project team is accountable for carrying out their duties and making a positive impact on the project’s outcome. It is normal for a project team to be cross-functional or to include members from various teams inside the organisation because there are usually numerous people on the team. You may find a blend of experts with differing talents, abilities, and experiences.

Project managers, team members, stakeholders, sponsors, and analysts are typically included in project management teams. Managing stakeholders and team members is a project manager’s responsibility. Team members will work on the project, stakeholders will identify risks and provide feedback, sponsors will sponsor and make important decisions as needed, and analysts will set the project’s goals and monitor its progress.

Phase Review

The project manager conducts a phase review to determine whether the project is on schedule, within budget, and has produced all necessary deliverables to date. A Phase Review Form is submitted to the project board for approval in order to move on to the next stage of the project lifecycle.

At the conclusion of each phase, you must conduct a Phase Review so that your board may assess if your project has so far met its goals and is prepared to go on to the next.

Phase 2: Project Planning

Project planning is the second of the four stages of a project management life cycle. During this phase, a project manager creates a project plan that details all project components, including resources, financing, risk, quality assurance, and procurement.

Making this thorough document is a critical component of project management since it acts as a roadmap for the undertaking and gives all parties important information about things like milestones, timetables, resources, deliverables, and scope.

Resource Plan

The resources needed to perform a project are identified, listed, and organised in a resource plan. Resources must be used as effectively as possible because they account for the majority of organisational costs. 

A resource plan serves as a guide to guarantee that tasks are completed on schedule and within budget. But that’s no simple undertaking, especially when resources are scarce and a variety of initiatives requiring a wide range of skill sets are ongoing within an organisation.

Many project and programme managers make use of the resource planning tools of project portfolio management (PPM) solutions. They can assemble the resources already in the company, organise them into groups, and add specific qualities like skill sets, expertise, and availability using these technologies.

They can use this data to assign jobs to individuals and groups in line with those traits while also maintaining and monitoring resource consumption to ensure that resources are being used as efficiently as possible.

Financial Plan

A financial plan outlines the project finance required to achieve particular goals. The Financial Plan outlines all of the many expenditures that a project can incur, including those for labour, supplies, equipment, and overhead. Each cost’s estimated value is also included. 

The project budget is created from the financial plan’s summary of the overall expenses expected throughout the project. A schedule outlining the financial requirements for each step of the project is provided as part of the financial planning exercise.

Every time you ask for money, you must have a solid financial plan outlining how it will be spent. Obtaining project financing is one of the project’s most important jobs for a project manager. To secure a successful conclusion, sound financial planning concepts must be followed. You can make a thorough Financial Plan for your project using this template. It will assist you in obtaining the project financing required to complete and submit your project on schedule.

Project Quality Plan

A project quality plan, which is a part of the project management plan, specifies the instruments, jobs, and procedures that the project team must use and carry out in order to meet quality standards. It outlines how to manage and validate the quality of a project and its anticipated outcomes throughout the project phases and offers direction on the project’s quality requirements.

Larger projects might require a stand-alone quality planning document. The terms quality assurance plan, quality management plan, quality control plan, and project quality management plan are all used to refer to the same thing. Whatever name you or your team want to give it, it must ultimately meet the project’s quality standards.

Risk Management Plan

Project management has a segment called risk management that deals with controlling potential risks. Undoubtedly, one of the most crucial facets of project management is risk management. Risk identification, assessment, mitigation, and monitoring are all parts of the risk management process.

The risk is recognised during risk identification, and its potential effects on the project are quantified. Calculating each risk’s potential impact is the process of risk assessment. Project risks are managed by risk mitigation, which also identifies the risk monitors. The hazards should also be tracked so they can be managed.

Acceptance Plan

An acceptance plan is a list of actions that must be completed in order for the client to accept your work as satisfactory. But it’s not just a list of tasks. An acceptance plan, which outlines the acceptance tasks to be completed at the end of the project to receive the customer’s final approval, is actually an agreement between you and the client.

The deliverables list, acceptance test activities, criteria and standards that must be met, and a plan for their completion are all included in the acceptance plan. Every time you have to develop a set of deliverables that must be approved by the client before being finished, you should create an acceptance plan.

Making an acceptance plan at the beginning of a project will save you time and trouble at the end because the customer will have already performed the acceptance test actions.

Communication Plan

A project management communication strategy outlines the methods for informing stakeholders of critical information at various points during the project. Additionally, it establishes who will receive the communication, how they will receive it, when they receive it, and how frequently they may anticipate receiving it.

Project failure is a result of poor communication, which could result in significant financial loss for the business. On the other hand, high-performing companies communicate more frequently and successfully than their low-performing competitors.

Procurement Plan

When your sales and manufacturing order volume increase, a procurement management plan will guarantee efficiency and coordination, here is all the information you require to create your own. Any manufacturing organisation must have a procurement management strategy because it offers a clear and simple roadmap for acquiring the supplies and materials required for production runs.

Procurement management plans make sure that the necessary materials and supplies arrive quickly and efficiently by describing the stages involved in procurement, from selecting suppliers to negotiating the many sorts of contracts. A solid procurement management strategy can give your manufacturing company a substantial competitive advantage in the market today.

Phase 3: Project Execution

The phase of the project life cycle known as project execution is when the work is completed and every aspect of the project plan is put into effect. Project planning and scheduling are just the start. The majority of a project’s time and labour is spent on its execution. As a result, project management execution is vitally important.

The hardest part of the project lifecycle is often project execution. Here, activities and deliverables are implemented and closely monitored to guarantee the project’s success. You will encounter all of the issues mentioned and will need to find solutions as you go.

Delivering the Project

The primary factor behind project execution is project deliverables. They are the observable goals and outcomes that our projects have created. We make sure that the deliverables are thoroughly tested, satisfy the acceptance criteria, and have the customer’s or business sponsor’s approval as part of the execution phase.

The project deliverables must be of the agreed-upon quality and adhere to the stated goals and requirements.

Project Monitoring and Controlling

You can assess project performance with the use of project monitoring and control. Utilise the process to examine the project plan, assess the project’s progress, spot any issues, and make modifications as needed. This stage falls under the project lifecycle’s execution phase.

This stage can help you manage risk and prevent scope creep while maintaining a project’s timeline and budget. Customer acceptance of the finished project deliverables occurs at the conclusion of the monitoring and control phase.

In project management, seeing issues early and making adjustments are the main goals of monitoring and control. The project plan may need to be reevaluated and updated in light of these developments.

Project Time Management

Analysing and creating a schedule and timeframe for the project’s completion is part of project time management. Formalised time management procedures act as a safety net against unforeseen setbacks and inaccurately or overestimated project schedules.

Plans for time management specify which activities should be adjusted as well as how to distribute and manage resources throughout the project.

Project Cost Management

The goal of project cost management is to keep expenses within the allocated budget by estimating, planning, and controlling costs throughout the project life cycle. Project cost management is an important component of project management in all industries, including manufacturing, retail, technology, and construction.

Setting up a financial baseline makes it easier for project managers to assess the present state of their project costs and adjust course as necessary.

Project Quality Management

A quality management plan is a document that aids in the execution of quality management and quality assurance actions by the project manager and the project team. In the context of project management, quality refers to meeting the needs of the client and the project’s specifications.

A quality management plan will be part of the overall project plan and will include the steps you will take to ensure the project’s quality goals are met. The first step in establishing and codifying the procedures required to meet the project’s quality expectations is a quality management plan.

Project Change Management

Change management is the process of implementing changes within an organisation or within a project. It can be compared to a road map that outlines all the steps you need to take from recognising the change to implementing it.

This strategy not only lays out the process by which you can implement the change, but it also considers the impact it will have on the project or organisation, the workflows it will influence, and whether it will change how you interact with your clients or team members.

Project Risk Management

The activity of detecting, assessing, and preventing or minimising risks to a project that have the potential to affect the desired outcomes is known as risk management in project management. Typically, project managers are in charge of supervising the risk management procedure for the entire course of a certain project.

Risk management shouldn’t just be reactive; it should also be a part of the planning process to identify potential risks to the project and determine how to manage them if they do arise.

Project Issue Management

The process of locating, describing, and addressing issues that develop throughout a project is known as project issue management. Whether a project is the first of its kind or extremely similar to another one, problems will always arise.

The project manager can create an issue management plan to lessen the impact of these problems. This provides the project team with a way to recognise and record issues and enables the team to successfully address those issues.

Project Procurement Management

When a project collaborates with outside providers to buy or rent items and services for the project, this is known as procurement. In order to guarantee that the products and services adhere to the project’s schedule, these relationships are typically contractual in nature.

The entire project management strategy includes the procurement management plan. There will probably be several points during a project’s life cycle where it will come into contact with vendors. It’s necessary to control this procedure. A procurement management plan is necessary to control these relationships and maintain the uninterrupted supply of those products and services.

Project Acceptance Management

An acceptance plan is a list of actions that must be completed in order for the client to accept your work as satisfactory. But it’s not just a list of tasks. An acceptance plan, which outlines the acceptance tasks to be completed at the end of the project to receive the customer’s final approval, is actually an agreement between you and the client.

The deliverables list, acceptance test activities, criteria and standards that must be met, and a plan for their completion are all included in the acceptance plan.

Project Communications Management

A project management communication strategy outlines the methods for informing stakeholders of critical information at various points during the project. Additionally, it establishes who will receive the communication, how they will receive it when they receive it, and how frequently they may anticipate receiving it.

Project failure is a result of poor communication, which could result in significant financial loss for the business. On the other hand, high-performing companies communicate more frequently and more successfully than their low-performing competitors.

Phase 4: Project Monitoring and Control

Project monitoring and control ensure that duties are carried out in an efficient and productive manner. You can manage the project through monitoring, including ensuring that it is finished on schedule. Timely data collection enables managers to make wise choices, seize opportunities, and make any necessary changes in advance, saving a lot of wasted time.

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), which divides a huge project into tasks and subtasks to make it easier to manage and analyse a project, is a useful monitor and control tool. Additionally, it makes it simpler for a manager to identify potential problems and better manage the project.

Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)

Managers can map or trace the project’s needs and deliverables using an RTM. It compares how two baseline papers relate to one another. It increases task visibility and prevents the addition of new tasks without authorisation.

Using the Right Project Management Tools

Using project management software is the greatest approach to putting project monitoring and control techniques into practice. The best course of action is to implement early project management techniques like Earned Value Analysis (EVA), Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), Gantt Charts, etc.

While without blatantly complicating the process, project management software can assist in the later stages by setting up milestones and keeping all stakeholders informed. Effective project monitoring and control can be attained through project collaboration and secure communication.

A Control Chart

The project’s quality is monitored through a control chart. A univariate control chart and a multivariate control chart are the two most common types of control charts. A multivariate control chart displays numerous characteristics, whereas a univariate control chart only displays one project characteristic at a time.

Meetings with the Stakeholders

A project’s completion and success cannot be achieved by one person. You’ll find a team that simply lacks the knowledge necessary to perform to their highest potential if you don’t keep your personnel and any other pertinent project stakeholders informed of new developments.

Similar to the previous example, it is likely that your planning will simply not reflect the actual reality on the ground if you, as the project manager, are not aware of the project’s current developments. You can find blind spots and understand project progress through meetings with staff and involved stakeholders. It is a quick, efficient approach to keeping an eye on and managing the progress of a project.

Set Up Project Milestones

It’s challenging and nearly impossible to handle every detail of a project. What you require is a method to determine with certainty when you must intervene. You can set up goalposts from which the overall progress of the project can be tracked by setting up monitoring project milestones with the aid of tools like CPM or Gantt Charts.

Expecting Exceptions

Finding any deviations from the norm in project management would be easy with the right monitoring tools. However, if you rely too heavily on these technologies, you risk missing potential project risks and problems. Therefore, stay alert for potential problems and have a solid backup plan in place because, despite careful monitoring and managing, a number of unexpected circumstances can occur.

Being Flexible

If you are unwilling to modify the original project management objectives, monitoring a project is useless. Depending on the situation, these modifications may be minor or may need you to completely replan the project. The fundamental objective in either of these situations is to complete the project and the tasks as efficiently as feasible.

Deal with Scope Creep

If not addressed, scope creep can be a major problem that results in project delays, subpar work output, etc. You must keep an eye on who and where requests for changes are coming from as a project manager. The most crucial step is to identify the root reason of excessive modification requests.

Phase 5: Project Closure

A project management communication strategy specifies the procedures for providing important information to stakeholders at different stages of the project. It also determines who will receive the communication, how they will receive it when they receive it, and how often they might expect to receive it.

Poor communication can lead to project failure, which could cause the company to suffer a substantial financial loss. However, compared to their underperforming rivals, high-performing businesses communicate more frequently and effectively.

If a project isn’t properly closed, the customer may still be able to use the deliverables, but you won’t be able to analyse what worked and what didn’t during the project. It’s crucial to reflect on your actions and the lessons learnt. Determine how the team could benefit from that learning to avoid restricting the development of any team members or the organisation as a whole. Here is what the process looks like:

Finalise Project Deliverables

The project deliverables must be completed and sent to the client as the first step in the project closure. Check your project plan to make sure all deliverables have been identified, completed, and handed off.

Agree on Project Completion

Next, make sure the project is finished. You cannot just declare a project complete. Before you can properly shut down the project and move on, everyone involved must concur that it is complete. You risk continuing to receive client modification requests if you omit this step.

Obtain official sign-offs from the project stakeholders along with approvals for the project deliverables to confirm the project’s completion. To prove that the project close was formally approved, make sure to record this step.

Look at Contracts and Documentation

You can start closing up your contracts once the project hand-off is finished and you have the clients’ approvals. Verify the project documents to make sure that all parties have been compensated for their contributions and that no invoices are still owed.

Release all project resources, including suppliers, contractors, team members, and any other partners, in writing. Notify them that the project has been completed, confirm any outstanding payments or commitments, and formally release them to work on other projects.

Project Post-Mortem

One of the most important phases of the project closure process is the post-mortem or project review. Reviewing the project’s accomplishments, setbacks, and difficulties at this point will help you spot areas that can be improved moving forward.

Start your post-mortem by evaluating the project’s performance. Calculate the project’s performance in terms of cost, schedule, and quality, to put it another way. Consider the project’s price, time commitment, challenges encountered along the route, and whether it met the requirements.

To collect feedback on how the project went, perform a survey or call a meeting with the project management team. These particular responses will aid in providing a more thorough view of the project’s performance. What went well, what obstacles arose along the way, how did the team follow the plan, was the client satisfied, how the project could be improved, and several other questions can be included.

You can then decide on future opportunities and lessons learned based on the project’s performance and feedback. Remember that a post-objective mortem’s is not to place blame for any errors. Instead, it is a chance for everyone to learn how to do better on projects in the future. Include the performance measurement, feedback, and improvement plan in your project review documentation.

Work on Documentation

The documentation (contracts, project plans, scope outlines, costs, timetable, etc.) can be finalised when your project post-mortem is finished and then indexed in the corporate archives for future use.

Keep thorough records of the project’s performance and areas for development so you may simply refer to them and use them on future initiatives of a similar nature. In addition to serving as a resource for the future, documentation creates a clear paper trail for the procedures, judgments, and actions made throughout the project, which may be needed by legal, human resources, or future leadership.

Celebrate the Occasion

Finally, remember to have fun! The completion of a project is a significant accomplishment that marks the fruit of countless hours of toil and dedication by a group of collaborators. An end-of-project celebration is a fantastic opportunity to reward your team’s effort and boost morale.

A satisfied team is also more inclined to collaborate with you in the future, allowing you to build on your achievements thus far and forge ahead as a more efficient team. Put an end to everything at that point, then join everyone in a celebration.

14 December 2023

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