Project management processes and the phases of the project life cycle

Project management processes and the phases of the project life cycleProject management processes and the phases of the project life cycle

The four processes are:

  • Starting or initiation process – this establishes the outline definition and business case for the project, including the basic team design.
  • Defining and planning process – builds on the definition, establishes the scope, and produces the project management plan for approval.
  • Monitoring and control process – sending and receiving information (monitoring) and taking action/making decisions (control).
  • Learning and closing process – covers handover to the customer and operational environment, reviewing the way the project was managed and establishing any lessons for future projects (what went well, what went badly, what would you do differently).

Each of these processes is used in each phase of the life-cycle.  A formal life-cycle for a project could be: concept, definition, implementation, handover and closeout.

Project management processes and project life cycle phases

The size of the project will define how these processes and phases are used.  For example in a large project where all the phases are used each phase could be considered as a project in its own right and have four sub-phases – concept, definition, implementation, handover and closeout and in each sub-phase the processes would all be used.

If we take a larger project that incorporates a feasibility study in the definition phase then the “starting process” will form the basis for the study, establishing the team and business case for the study.

Once this has been agreed the “definition process” would start and the project management plan for the feasibility project will be prepared.  Once authorized, the study will start and the activities and tasks required to complete the work will be monitored and controlled.  T

his may include a number of review points where the overall progress of the study would be checked and given the go ahead for the next stage.  This would be particularly relevant for a large study lasting over 3 months.  Once the project has completed the final product – the feasibility study report – it would be closed and the “learning and closing process” would start.

The aim of this process would be to handover the final report, review how well the study had been managed and establish any lessons that could be usefully applied to future projects.

In a small project the objectives and approach may be clear and it is therefore only necessary to get the work done in an efficient manner.  The phases of the project now correlate to the processes – “concept/starting”, “definition/initiating”, “Implementation/monitoring and controlling” and “handover and closeout/closure”.

In “starting” the basis for the project would be agreed and the team established. Once approved the team would move into the initiation phase and, using the process, would define the project in detail, produce the project management plan and obtain the funding.

This would move the project into the “doing” phase where the work would be issued and the monitoring and controlling process would take over.  Finally the output of the project would be handed over and the project reviewed which is the learning and closure process.

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