Within your business, many projects will be started with the goal of contributing towards its success. Often these projects come from a change being implemented in the business, either with the intention of improving something, or developing something new. Each project has a beginning and an end and must undergo several developmental phases to reach its closing – known as the Project’s Lifecycle.
The importance of having a Project Lifecycle is to ensure that the project is delivered on time, within budget and that it meets its objectives at the expected quality. By breaking the project up into phases, it ensures that the success of the project can be monitored closely, and necessary adjustments can be made. There are typically five phases a Project’s Lifecycle follows, namely: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Closing.
Initiating the Project:
Through the Initiation of the Project, a Project Manager will be chosen. This individual will be responsible for making sure that:
- The objectives of the project are clearly defined.
- The constraints of the project are identified.
- The relationships with the Stakeholders of the project are established, as well as an effective communication channel.
- The responsibilities of each member in the Project Team are clearly laid out.
- Any documents that are required are approved.
Planning the Project
Once the objectives of the project have been identified, a Project Plan is created outlining how these objectives will be achieved. This is done through the hands of the Project Manager, who will:
- Divide the tasks between the team members
- Draw up an estimated budget for the project
- Create a Project Schedule
- Identify and assess the risks of the project
Executing the Project
The Execution phase is the most crucial and typically the longest phase of the Project’s Lifecycle, as it ends with the completion of the project. It is essential that the Project Manager:
- Measures the progress against the Project Schedule and adjusts the Schedule accordingly. This is typically done on a weekly basis.
- Responds to risks timeously, in order to try prevent them. This involves communicating the risks to the relevant stakeholders.
- Communicates openly with the team members to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the common objectives.
Controlling and Monitoring the Project
This phase occurs concurrent to the Execution Phase and is a continuous evaluation of the execution of the project, to ultimately ensure its success.
Closing the Project
With the closing of the project comes the last few responsibilities of the Project Manager:
- Evaluating the project
- Organising the project documents
For the successful completion of the project, it is essential that no step in the process is skipped. Projects that fail often do so when the Planning Phase is not implemented, and the gap between the Initiation and Execution of the project falls into disarray. Thus, each phase holds an important role in the successful completion of the Project, and a good Project Manager will implement and monitor each one effectively.