PROJECT LIFE CYCLES
Life cycle phases of a Product
Life cycle phases of a System
Cost Benefit Analysis
Characteristics of Project Life Cycle
Project Management Office
Project Management Officer (PMO)
Difference between Project Manager and Project Management
Some Examples of Project Life Cycle
5.1 Life Cycle Phases of a Product:
Every program, project, or product has certain phases of
development. A clear understanding of
these phases permits managers and executives to better control
total corporate resources in the
achievement of desired goals. The phases of development are
known as life-cycle phases.
However, the breakdown and terminology of these phases differ,
depending on whether we are
discussing products or projects.
During the past few years, there has been at least partial
agreement about the life cycle phases
of a product. They include:
Today, there is no agreement among industries, or even companies
within the same industry,
about the life cycle phases of a project. This is understandable
because of the complex nature
and diversity of projects.
5.2 Life Cycle Phases of a System:
The theoretical definitions of the life cycle phases of a system
can be applied to a project. These
5.2.1 Conceptual Phase:
The first phase, the conceptual phase, includes the preliminary
evaluation of an idea.
Most important in this phase is a preliminary analysis of risk
and the resulting impact
on the time, cost, and performance requirements, together with
the potential impact on
company resources. The conceptual phase also includes a "first
cut" at the feasibility of
5.2.2 Planning Phase:
The second phase is the planning phase. It is mainly a
refinement of the elements
described under the conceptual phase. The planning phase
requires a firm identification
of the resources to be required together with the establishment
of realistic time, cost,
and performance parameters. This phase also includes the initial
preparation of all
documentation necessary to support the system. For a project
based on competitive
bidding, the conceptual phase would include the decision of
whether to bid, and the
planning phase would include the development of the total bid
package (i.e., time,
schedule, cost, and performance).
126.96.36.199 System Costs:
Because of the amount of estimating involved, analyzing system
the conceptual and planning phases is not an easy task. As shown
in Figure 5.2,
most project or system costs can be broken down into operating
implementation (nonrecurring) categories. The implementation
one-time expenses such as construction of a new facility,
hardware, or detailed planning. Operating costs, on the other
recurring expenses such as manpower. The operating costs may be
shown in Figure 5.2, if personnel perform at a higher position
on the learning
curve. The identification of a learning curve position is
vitally important during
the planning phase when firm cost positions must be established.
Of course, it is not always possible to know what individuals
will be available
or how soon they can perform at a higher learning curve
188.8.131.52 Cost Benefit Analysis:
Once the approximate total cost of the project is determined, a
analysis should be conducted to determine if
value of the information obtained from the system exceeds the
cost of obtaining
the information. This analysis is often included as part of a
There are several situations, such as in competitive bidding,
feasibility study is actually the conceptual and definition
phases. Because of the
costs that can be incurred during these two phases,
top-management approval is
almost always necessary before the initiation of such a
5.2.3 Testing Phase:
The third phase— testing— is predominantly a testing and final
so that operations can begin. Almost all documentation must be
completed in this
5.2.4 Implementation Phase:
The fourth phase is the implementation phase, which integrates
the project's product or
services into the existing organization. If the project was
developed for establishment of
a marketable product, then this phase could include the product
life cycle phases of
market introduction, growth, maturity, and a portion of
5.2.5 Closure Phase:
The final phase is closure and includes the reallocation of
resources. The question to be
answered is, "Where the resources should be reassigned?"
Consider a company that
sells products on the open consumer market. As one product
begins, the deterioration
and death phases of its life cycle (i.e., the divestment phase
of a system), then new
products or projects must be established. Such a company would,
therefore, require a
continuous stream of projects as a necessity for survival, as
shown in Figure 5.4. As
projects A and B begin their decline, new efforts (project C)
must be developed for
resource reallocation. In the ideal situation these new projects
will be established at
such a rate that total revenue will increase and company growth
will be clearly visible.
The closure phase evaluates the efforts on the total system and
serves as input to the
conceptual phases for new projects and systems. This final phase
also has an impact on
other ongoing projects with regard to priority identification.
Thus, so far no attempt has been made to identify the size of a
project or system. Large
projects generally require full-time staffs, whereas small
projects, although they
undergo the same system life cycle phases, may require only
part-time people. This
implies that an individual can be responsible for multiple
projects, possibly with each
project existing in a different life cycle phase.
The following questions must be considered in multi-project
1. Are the project objectives the same?
• For the good of
• For the good of
2. Is there a distinction between large and small projects?
3. How do we handle conflicting priorities?
• Critical versus
• Critical versus
versus non-critical projects
5.2.6 Explanation of Various Life Cycle Phases:
Later topics discuss methods of resolving conflicts and
The phases of a project and those of a product are compared in
Figure 5.5. Notice that
the life cycle phases of a product generally do not overlap,
whereas the phases of a
project can and often do overlap.
Table 5.1 identifies the various life cycle phases that are
commonly used. Even in
mature project management industries such as construction, one
could survey ten
different construction companies and find ten different
definitions for the life cycle
The life cycle phases for computer programming, as listed in
Table above, are also
shown in Figure 5.5 which illustrates how manpower resources can
build up and decline
during a project. In Figure 5.5, PMO stands for the present
method of operations, and
PMO' will be the "new" present method of operations after
conversion. This life cycle
would probably be representative of a twelve-month activity.
Definition of a Project Life Cycle
Most executives prefer short data processing life cycles because
changes at a very rapid rate. An executive of a major utility
commented that his
company was having trouble determining how to terminate a
project to improve customer service because by the time a
package is ready for full
implementation, an updated version appears on the scene. Should
the original project be
canceled and a new project begun? The solution appears to lie in
establishing short data
processing project life cycle phases, perhaps through segmented
implementation. In any
case, we can conclude that top management is responsible for the
periodic review of
major projects. This should be accomplished, at a minimum, at
the completion of each
life cycle phase.
More and more companies are preparing procedural manuals for
and for structuring work using life cycle phases. There are
several reasons for this trend.
These are as follows:
description of the work to be accomplished in each phase may be possible.
estimating may be easier if well-structured work definitions exist.
key decision points at the end of each life cycle phase so that incremental funding is possible.
Reader should be aware that not all projects can be simply
transposed into lifecycle
phases (e.g., Research and Development). In such a case it might
be possible (even in
the same company) for different definitions of life-cycle phases
to exist because of
schedule length, complexity, or just the difficulty of managing
5.3 Characteristics of Project Life Cycle:
• Project life
cycle defines phases that connect beginning and end of the project. After each
phase deliverables are reviewed for the completeness in time,
accuracy according to defined
objectives and their final approval (approval for acceptance)
before moving to the next
• As shown in the
diagrams in the beginning, phases can be overlapped to save time and to
have fast tracking on the life cycle. This technique is used to
compress the whole schedule
(if required resources are available or manageable)
• There is no way
to define Project Life Cycle ideally. Because of this every project
management team can define its own way to work on the project.
They can use best
common practices and can learn new ways of dealing projects by
their experiences in detail
or in general. Only three phases are always certain to be
intermediate phase(s), and closure.
phases are defined in sequential order by technical information officer.
• Cost and
staffing level is defined for every single phase.
• Project may
have sub-project(s) and sub-projects may have their own project life cycle.
• In the
beginning of the project, level of uncertainty and risk is always high.
• The typical
project life cycle – initiating, implementing and closing – has critical
points where the project may continue, be changed, or be
• There are many
points within the project life cycle where
Community of Professionals
provide support and guidance. For example, initiating the project involves
such activities as identifying the project team members,
defining the scope and business
objectives of the project and identifying key stakeholders.
• During project
close, reassignment and intelligent preservation of resources, knowledge
projects (i.e. deliverables), and sharing lessons learned are
5.4 Project Management Office:
The Project Management Office sets project standards and
oversees the organization’s portfolio
of projects. This allows the organization to evaluate the use of
resources across all projects and
resolve conflicts that affect project timelines. The Project
Management Office is also a very
good place to examine how communities are linked across
projects. Using the communities as
the linkage point for knowledge transfer is far more efficient
for the following several reasons:
• In communities,
the evaluation of knowledge is generally done by a broader range of
people, ensuring that the ideas are more completely vetted.
generally exist outside the project framework and trust is already established.
• They can be
used as opposed to setting up more formal structures and methods to get the
required information transferred to the project.
• In communities,
knowledge is transferred from expert to recipient. This includes tacit
knowledge transfer as well as explicit knowledge transfer. This
is a much more efficient
transfer mechanism than is normally used. Generally, documents
would be transferred from
project to project with minimal expert knowledge available to
transfer shares the knowledge broadly, strengthening the entire organization for
• As mentioned
earlier, Project Management Office and top management are responsible for
the periodic review of major projects. This should be
accomplished, at a minimum, at the
completion of each life cycle phase.
5.5 Project Management Officer (PMO):
Project Management Officer (PMO) centralizes and coordinates
management of project under
his domain, and oversees management of project and product
(system/program) both. Project
Management Officer may not be directly related to the project at
spot. He/she focuses on
coordination planning, prioritization of all resources and
deliverables of projects and sub
projects. It is the responsibility of Project Management Officer
to keep top management and
clients/parents organization connected and informed about all
projects running or product life
cycle. He/she is involved in selection, management and
re-deployment of shared projects as
much as authorized.
Project Management Officer is generally responsible for:
monitoring platform for Project Manager.
• Identifying the
Project Management Methodology and best practices for specific project.
• Clearing house,
i.e. defining and refining project policies, procedures, templates and shared
management for all projects under work.
• For developing
and keeping repository and risk management for projects.
Project Management Office for operation and maintaining tools for project
management. Normally it includes Enterprise Wide Project
Management Software creation
• Management and
coordination and monitoring of communications across the projects,
project timelines and budget, quality standards.
Management Officer may be having authority to terminate project anytime when he
gets it not feasible anymore.
5.6 Difference Between Project Manager and Project Management
1. Both have different objectives - driven by different
requirements, aligned with strategic
needs of organization.
2. Project Manager is responsible for delivering specific
project objectives within project
constraints, while Project Management Officer is responsible for
specific mandates having much vast perspective.
3. Project Manager focuses on project objectives, while Project
Management Officer focuses
on major programs, scope and changes required and authenticated.
Officer considers all potential opportunities to have business
4. Project Manager is constrained with assigned resources for
specific project to meet its full
objective. On the other hand, Project Management Officer is
supposed to optimize the use
of shared organizational resources across all projects overall.
5. Project Manager manages scope, schedule, cost, and quality of
product, while the Project
Management Officer manages overall risk, opportunities,
interdependencies and links
among different projects.
6. Project Manager reports on project progress/project specific
information to the top
management, while Project Management Officer provides
view of project or all the running projects.
5.7 Some Examples of Project Life Cycle:
There are many variations on the theme of the project phases,
influenced by the project’s scope
of work. The project phase selected in the examples here are
arbitrary and serve only to
illustrate the technique for different types of projects. The
main features to look for are the key
issues, key activities, limiting factors, decision and hold
points in each phase.
The project life cycle is conveniently represented by a bar
chart which clearly indicates the
duration of each phase and its overlap (if any) with the other
5.7.1 House Project:
The construction of a house provides a project many of us have
Consider here the following simple sub-division into four
The level of effort follows the typical life cycle profile by
increasing to a maximum
during the building phase before declining during the interior
5.7.2 Computer installation:
With the improved cost effectiveness of computer facilities most
experience a computer installation project sooner or later.
Note that the training phase overlaps with both system selection
and the implementation
5.7.3 Engineering Project:
An engineering type project is a popular example to illustrate
the project phases. Note
here that all phases overlap which could indicate a fast
5.7.4 Nuclear Power Station Project:
This project may well span 50 years with the people involved in
the initial phases being
retired long before the final phases.
The interesting point here is that the environmental constraints
significantly over the fifty years between the design phase and