Project Lifecycle

Project life cycle – Organizations performing projects will usually divide each project into several project phases to improve management control. Collectively, the project phases are known as the project life cycle. Usually they are sequential. These are unique to the industries

Project Life Cycle Define:

  1. What technical work to do in each phase.
  2. When the deliverables are to be generated, how they are reviewed, verified & validated.
  3. Who is involved in each phase.
  4. How to control and approve each phase.


Project Phase – Each project phase is marked by completion of one or more deliverables. A deliverable is a tangible, verifiable work product. The conclusion of a project phase is generally marked by a) completion and review of both key deliverables and project performance to date, to b) determine if the project should continue into its next phase and c) detect and correct errors cost effectively. These phase-end reviews are often called phase exits, stage gates, or kill points.

Practice of overlapping phases is often called fast tracking.

PHASES –  Common Characteristics:

Cost and staffing – levels are low at the start, higher towards end, and drop rapidly as the project draws to a conclusion.

Completion – The probability of successful completion generally gets progressively higher as the project continues.

Stakeholder Influence – On the final characteristics of the project’s product and the final cost of the project is highest at the start and gets progressively lower as the project continues.

Risk – Uncertainty and hence risk of failing is high at the beginning and get progressively lesser/better as project continues

Key stakeholders – PM, customer (buy/use), org, team & sponsor (pays), project management team, PMO

Differences – In general, differences between or among stakeholders should be resolved in favor of the customer.

Managing – is primarily concerned with “consistently producing key results expected by stakeholders,”

Leading – Establishing direction vision of the future and strategies, Aligning people to vision, Motivating and inspiring.

Organizational Structure Influence on Projects

  Functional Weak Matrix Balanced Matrix Strong Matrix Projected
PM authority Little or None Limited Low to Moderate Moderate to High High to Total
Resource Availability Little or None Limited Low to Moderate Moderate to High High to Total
Project Budget Functional Manager Functional Manager Mixed PM PM
PM Role Part Time Part Time (Expeditor/coordinator) Full Time Full Time Full Time
Project Staff Part Time Part Time Part Time Full Time Full Time
Grouped by Area of specialization   mix   Organized by project
Communication Request to departmental head then to other dept. and back   Team member to two bosses   Within project
Unique Silos   Two bosses   No home


Functional – one clear superior, staff grouped by specialization. Scope of projects are usually limited to boundaries of the function. Any communication with other functions is done through function heads.

Projectized- team members are collocated, most of the employees are on projects, PM have a great deal of independence and authority.

Matrix org – Blend of functional and projectized characteristics:

  • Weak – maintains many characteristics of functional org and PM role is more of a coordinator or expediter.
  • Strong – maintains many characteristics of the projectized org, can have F/T PM with full authority and FT staff.
  • Balanced – recognizes PM but not full authority over projects.
  • Composite – Mix responsibility.


PMO – function may range from advisory to recommendation to specific policy and procedure to a formal grant of authority from executive management. PM reports to PMO if it exists.

Planning – Planning is the only PM Process group that has a specific order of activities

Release Resources – Is the Last activity in the closing process group.

Iterations – Start after Risk management because only after this final cost and schedule can be determined.

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