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Understanding the 5 main phases of the project life cycle

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Updated on:
May 5, 2024
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It is well known that there are five main steps in project management. These are starting the project, planning the project, doing the project, watching and controlling the project, and closing the project. 

Interesting thing is that when starting, we check if the project is possible and make a project proposal. When planning, we make a detailed plan. This plan includes what the project is about, how we will do the work, as well as how we will manage risks. 

In addition, doing the project means following the plan and making project documents. Watching and controlling the project means checking how the project is going. 

At last, closing the project is the last step that includes activities to officially end the project.

Introduction to project life cycle

Project life cycle is a series of activities needed to successfully finish a project. It is well known that it is a key idea in project management. Plus, it has several stages. It should be noted that each stage of the project life cycle needs different tools and skills. 

Plus, each stage also involves unique project management processes. In addition, good risk management, complete project documentation, etc. are important for a successful project life cycle.

Definition of project life cycle

The Project Life Cycle is a series of activities that need to be done to finish a project. The life cycle includes different project stages. And note that each stage needs a different mix of the project management process. This process includes 

  • Deciding the project scope
  • Making a project management plan
  • Making project documents
  • Managing risks

And the astonishing thing is that these stages use key project management tools like the work breakdown structure. In the end, the Project Life Cycle finishes with the project closure. 

Importance of understanding the project life cycle

It’s obvious that understanding the Project Life Cycle is very important in project management. It gives a systematic process, from starting the project to closing the project, and the process makes sure everything is efficient and thorough. 

To add on, understanding the Project Life Cycle helps manage risks by finding potential problems early. At the same time, it allows for complete project documentation and making a detailed project management plan. 

Phase 1: Project initiation

We know by now that the first stage of the project is starting the project. Obviously, this is the beginning of any project. It involves deciding the project scope, setting the goals, and checking if the project is possible.

At this stage, we make a project management plan. And the noteworthy thing is that this plan includes how we will manage risks and break down the work. It’s a fact that starting the project sets the direction for the next stages of managing the project.

Defining the project goals

Remember that the main goal of this project is to make a well-organized project management plan. In the end, a complete process for closing the project will make sure we finish smoothly.

During this process, we will make a complete work breakdown structure. Furthermore, we will also make detailed project documents and manage risks strictly while clearly defining and maintaining the project scope. 

Identifying key stakeholders

Identifying the main stakeholders often happens when starting the project and is important throughout all project stages. Note that these stakeholders can be clients, team members, upper management, or even third-party vendors. 

There is no doubt that the stakeholders’ involvement and feedback can affect the work breakdown structure, how we manage risks, and the project documents. Also, stakeholders oversight is key to achieving the project’s goals.

Creating a project charter with Microsoft Project

Starting the project using Microsoft Project begins with making the Project Charter. What’s more, is that this important project document outlines the project scope, provides the project management plan, and guides the project stages. 

Making this clear guide is very important because it marks the official start of the project. Moreover, it prepares for a well-organized work breakdown structure and for watching and controlling the project’s progress. 

Phase 2: Project planning

We will first define the starting stage of the project. This includes outlining the project scope and what we will deliver. Then, we will assess risks thoroughly. After that, we will make a detailed project management plan during the planning phase of the project.

We will discuss key project stages such as the work breakdown structure, project documents, and doing the project in detail. It’s crucial to memorize that these strategies are part of the process of managing the project and they aim to make sure the project is successful.

Developing a detailed project plan

It’s obvious that making a detailed project plan has many steps. It starts with the project initiation where we make a project proposal. This proposal defines what the project is about. 

The interesting thing is that the next step is project planning. During the project execution stage, we put risk management strategies into action. At the same time, monitoring and control are very important for handling possible issues, and to make sure everything is complete, we update the project documents regularly.

Creating a work breakdown structure with Trello

It’s no surprise that making a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) with Trello makes managing the project much simpler. The important thing is that it lets us see the project stages clearly, from starting the project to closing the project. And the best thing is that this online project management tool helps in planning the project, along with monitoring and controlling the project! 

With Trello, it’s easy to define the project scope and manage the project documents. Managing risks is another important part that can be done efficiently using Trello’s WBS. This protects the project proposal from possible risks! 

Setting up a project budget with QuickBooks

It is well known that QuickBooks is a complete tool that helps in managing the project, especially in making a project budget. And the amazing thing is that this starts at the project initiation stage where we need to define the project scope. 

Another important thing is that during project planning and execution, QuickBooks lets us monitor and control the budget. The benefit of doing this is it makes sure costs are within the limits set in the project proposal. It’s crucial that any strategy for managing financial risks should consider tracking the budget as a key part.

Phase 3: Project execution

The project execution phase is where we put the project management plan and the work breakdown structure made during the project planning phase into action. Note that the goal is to do the tasks defined in the project scope while aligning them with the goals set in the project proposal.

It’s understandable that the project execution process involves doing tasks like making project documents and managing risks. It also involves monitoring and controlling the work to make sure it follows the plan. 

Directing and managing project work

It’s well known that Directing and managing project work involves going through different project stages. These are 

  • Starting the project
  • Panning the project
  • Doing the project

It’s important to understand that managing risks is an important thing to consider throughout these stages.

During the project, we need to watch and control it to make sure it’s going well. This might include changing plans and reassessing risks. At the end, the project closure finalizes all activities. Remember, each stage is a key part of managing the project.

Quality assurance and control with Jira

The cool thing about Jira is that in project management, it helps ensure and control project quality. During various stages of the project, it allows for efficient work breakdown and managing the project scope. And the best thing is that it makes managing the project process smoother.

Also, it helps in important parts like managing risks through its built-in features like tracking issues, and project documents, and, therefore, it ensures a smooth project closure. 

Managing project team with Slack

When starting and planning the project, Slack allows for efficient communication and collaboration. 

As the project moves into doing and the watching & control stage, the amazing thing about Slack is that provides a central place for project documents, updates, and discussions about managing risks. 

Phase 4: Project monitoring and control

The process of managing the project moves to Phase 4: Watching and controlling the project after planning and doing the project stages. The significant thing about this phase is that it focuses on controlling the project scope and using a project management plan with a detailed work breakdown structure. 

Key parts include managing risks to expect and lessen possible problems, project documents to record each step, etc. Don’t forget that the project proposal serves as the baseline for comparison throughout this phase.

Tracking project performance with Asana

It’s no surprise that with Asana, managing the project becomes more efficient and streamlined. The amazing thing about using Asana is that defining the project scope becomes effortless with its neatly designed interface.

From starting the project to doing the project, Asana brings a new level of transparency! It allows you to keep track of the project stages, managing risks, etc.

Managing changes and risks with RiskyProject

It’s a fantastic thing that RiskyProject effectively manages changes and risks across all project stages, from starting to closing the project. It ensures complete risk management by incorporating it into the process of managing the project at all levels. 

Another important part of RiskyProject is in project documents. The best thing about this is that it helps in recording and updating all events related to risks for future use. This feature is useful during project closure, helping to make a detailed project management plan.

Phase 5: Project closure

From the name, it can be guessed that the project closure is the last phase in managing the project. This stage involves finishing up, doing a complete project documentation, and marking the end of the project. 

Basically, the project closure includes releasing resources, finding out project scope achievements, and evaluating the project overall. It gives useful insights for future work from the work breakdown structure used, and in this way, it contributes to best practices in managing projects.

Finalizing and reviewing project deliverables

The process of managing the project ends in the final stage, that is, closing the project. At this point, a complete review of all project deliverables is done. 

The alignment and adherence to the project management plan are checked and the efficiency of the work breakdown structure is evaluated. Plus, the project closure includes finalizing all deliverables and assessing the effectiveness of risk management throughout the project stages. 

Conducting a post-project review with Smartsheet

A post-project review using Smartsheet can help with the process of managing the project. The cool thing is that the integrated software allows for reflection on all project stages. 

One thing to note is that the review may highlight areas for improvement in planning the project. Furthermore, valuable insights can be extracted from the project documents, forming part of the project closure insights. And the best thing about conducting such a review is that it optimizes the pathway for future project proposal and implementation.

The role of project life cycle in agency success

In conclusion, the project life cycle plays a key role in agency success. Use of project stages, including starting, planning, doing, watching & control, and closing are vital. And it is no surprise that these steps guide a project from its start through to its end, ensuring targets are met and risks are managed.

This process includes important elements such as developing a project scope, compiling project documents, and creating a complete project management plan. 

Benefits of implementing a project life cycle

Using a project life cycle can greatly improve how we manage a project. The main benefits include a clear roadmap for project stages. And the cool thing is that it makes sure that every phase, from starting the project through planning, doing, and closing the project, is well detailed and managed. As a outcome of that, it helps in better risk management and a complete project management plan.

Another benefit is the effective organization and easy access of project documents. This gives a better view of what the project is about. 

Choosing the right tools for each phase

Choosing the right tools is very important during different project stages. Remember, when starting the project, a detailed project proposal sets a base for future activities. Similarly, in planning the project, a work breakdown structure and a complete project management plan are useful. 

Finally, during the project closure, project documents serve as a reference for future work and for reflecting on successes and areas for improvement.

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