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Let’s clear the air around Project Management Phases



March 9th , 2018

Like many project professionals and business leaders out there, I am sure you would have come across some of these questions in the project and portfolio management world.

  • Do products and services follow a lifecycle?
  • Which lifecycle comes first? Is it the product lifecycle or the project lifecycle?
  • How are SDLC, Iterative, and Adaptive (Agile) lifecycles connected?
  • Are lifecycles unique to industries?

In addition to the above, there may be another question.

Do projects follow a lifecycle?

So much for lifecycles! I am sure your head is spinning in cycles!

Let us review the understanding and the consensus that prevails in industry circles.

Products and services have a lifecycle. It could originate from an idea or a concept and if successful, leads to product/service launch and then transitions to operations or support. Driven by time, technology changes, or customer preferences, we could have the end of life of the product or service.

It is vital to understand that the industry drives the lifecycle of the product or service. For the record, SDLC and Agile have been popular with the technology industry in the recent times.

It is time to get back to our question about project lifecycle.

Today, the US-based Project Management Institute or PMI is extremely popular for portfolio, program, and project management study and standards. Various research by PMI and other project management organizations as well as project management experts are unanimous in their view of projects and their lifecycle.

The term used is Project Management Phases or Process Groups!

Now, the all-important question is – which are the phases of project management?

The PMI Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge® categorizes project management phases or process groups as indicated below.

  1. The Initiation Phase – this is the project management phase where the organization justifies the need to undertake a project after thorough scrutiny of various parameters which get documented as a ‘business case.’ If the project makes financial and technical sense, the organization will give it a ‘go-ahead’ by defining high-level requirements, strategic alignment, and choose the project manager.
  2. The Planning Phase – during this project management phase, the team gets down to detailed planning of the scope, schedule, costs, quality, communication, procurement, risks, and stakeholders. The organizations agree on specific critical success factors.
  3. The Execution Phase – this project management phase is about putting the plan to work as the team starts to deliver the results.
  4. The Monitor & Control Phase – this project management phase is about ensuring that the execution phase is proceeding as per expected outcomes that meet stakeholder needs. It could be product features, planned vs. actual schedule, planned vs. actual costs, the effectiveness of risk response plans, vendor performance, and so on. Necessary preventive and corrective measures are swiftly put in place to ensure project delivery. Note that this phase runs in parallel with the execution phase.
  5. The Close Phase – this project management phase is about ensuring that the customer is satisfied with the results and that they are ready to sign-off on the deliverables along with, of course, the payment! This phase takes care of administrative, legal, and financial closure. Additionally, the team would review lessons learned to enhance organizational capabilities.

Now that we have clarity about the project management phases, how do you manage all the five project management phases for your enterprise in a flawless fashion?

Try TouchBase®. Be pleasantly surprised.


Name of Author


Srikanth PV comes with two decades of global corporate and consulting background across industries with diverse roles including Strategy, Leadership, and Management. Currently, he is the Head, Solutions & Account Management at ProductDossier focused on driving and creating customer value through its flagship product TouchBase. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of PMI Bangalore Chapter.

View his detailed profile on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/spv-pm-thoughtleadership/




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