This is the fourth post in a series where I will write down what I learned about project management.
As said in the first post, a project is a temporary endeavour so it has a definite beginning and an end.
The project life cycle defines the phases that connect the beginning of a project to its end.
The life cycle phases depend both on the kind of project and on the project environment (i.e some organizations have established policies that standardize their projects or there could be industry common practices which lead to a preferred life cycle).
Sometimes the life cycle phases are well defined and there is a technical handover or a sort of tollgate between one phase and the next but very often a phase begins prior to the approval of the previous one’s deliverables (overlapping phases).
Generally typical phases are an initial phase (low cost and staffing), one or more intermediate phases (peak) and a final one (ramp down).
The life cycles define:
- what technical work to do in which phase (for example, the architecture should be done all in the initial phase or spread into all initial and intermediate phases?)
- when the deliverables are to be generated (e.g., at the end of well defined phase or multiple times into the phase?)
- who is involved in each phase
- how to control and approve each phase and each deliverable
Each phase is characterized by the completion and approval of one or more deliverables (i.e., a measurable and verifiable work product such as a specification, a feasibility study, a design document or a working release).