Project management – The lifecycle of a project

As with many things in life, a project also has a beginning and an end. A lifecycle. The lifecycle of a project has five phases which assist you in successfully planning and executing a project.

The lifecycle of a project

Conception and Initiation

This is the beginning of a project. This phase broadly defines the project. You will also conduct research to establish whether the project is worth undertaken.

Stakeholders will decide whether the project may be initiated. If agreed, a project charter or a project initiation document should be drafted.  This usually outlines the purpose, objectives, requirements and deadlines of the project.

Definition and planning

This phase begins with setting goals. A good method to use is the S.M.A.R.T. method.

Specific – In order to achieve the project goal, stakeholders must be very clear about their requirements.

Measurable – Every part of the project must be able to be tracked. This is where you will create the project schedule.

Attainable – Identify the most important goals and what it will take to achieve them.

Realistic – The goal must be relevant to the business’ purpose.

Timely – Each project should have a start and end goal.

Launch or execution

 The following is just a few tasks that should be completed during the execution phase:

  • Develop team
  • Assign resources
  • Task assignments are executed
  • Update project schedule

Performance and control

In this phase, the projects performance and progression is monitored. Project managers will use key performance indicators to ensure that the project is on track.

Project close

In the final stage, project managers will usually have a post mortem to evaluate the successes and failures of the project.

How many phases does a project lifecycle have?

  • 7
  • 3
  • 5