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Things you did not know about the project management lifecycle

Akanksha SrivastavaLast Updated: November 4, 2022

Project management is governed by a set of steps broadly categorized into 5 stages that together constitute the project management lifecycle. It assists project managers in successfully completing projects in an organized and well-defined manner and with minimum waste of resources.

12% of resources are wasted due to ineffective project management.

If project management is carried out following the principles of the project management lifecycle right from initiation to completion, it will be more successful than others.

Let’s look at different aspects of the project management lifecycle to understand it better.

What is project lifecycle management?

A project lifecycle management is a framework that defines the sequences of steps and practices to carry out projects in a structured way. The project management lifecycle helps project managers analyze every aspect of a project and prepare a better plan. Since it is categorized into defined stages, it not only improves transparency and communication throughout the project tenure but also helps you to predict the challenges you might face at later stages.

Why is project lifecycle management important?

Following are the reasons why you should follow the project management lifecycle for the planning and execution of projects.

a. Organized process

All projects are different from each other and require a series of steps or tasks to accomplish the final goal. However, with a project management lifecycle, you can divide them into stages to map out a more effective plan. And when you have an organized sequence of tasks you need to do, it also becomes easy to assign work to your team well in advance and allow them enough time to deliver results.

b. Consistent results

Many organizations offer project-based services that run on strict timelines. In such a situation, it becomes essential to deliver reliable and consistent results to keep things on track. The project management lifecycle provides a uniform outline to all types of projects, even if the deliverables are different. So, there is a set process despite variations in clients’ needs. It allows teams to align the project workflow internally and with the clients.

c. Faster troubleshooting

Not everything goes according to the plan in project management, which can create chaos if not addressed timely. The project management lifecycle allows you to predict potential challenges in the full-lifecycle project management. So, even if negative results are obtained or, things don’t go as expected, you are well-prepared in advance with an alternate action plan to execute.

d. Real-time project insights

The best way to do project lifecycle management is by using tech-based tools. There are project lifecycle management software now available in the market that you can leverage. It automates the entire project planning workflow and provides real-time insights at every step of the project management lifecycle. Since these tools are data-driven, it also allows you to analyze your project plan and make necessary changes to avoid setbacks before they hinder the work in progress.

What constitutes a project management lifecycle?

The project management lifecycle is a part of project planning. It is divided into 5 major stages, which are-

1. Initiation

Project initiation marks the first step where a definitive goal or objectives are set. The key steps involved at this stage are-

  • Feasibility study before approval of the project
  • Creation of a business plan
  • Finalized list of stakeholders
  • Defining objectives, scope, and deliverables of the project

2. Planning

At this stage, the main goal of the project is further sub-categorized into smaller milestones, assignments, and tasks. A tentative timeframe for individual steps is also determined which cumulatively determines the overall project timeline. The key steps involved are:

  • Finalizing milestones and project timeline
  • Determining resources required and project budget baseline
  • Designing project workflow
  • Assigning roles and responsibilities
  • Anticipation of potential risks and setbacks

3. Execution

This is the stage where all the project planning comes into action. The project plan is executed as per designated resources and timeline.

The key steps of this stage include:

  • Assigning granular aspects of the project
  • Execution of action plan in a sequential manner
  • Regular communication and project updates are shared with all the stakeholders (internal team and clients)
  • Management of project resources
  • Addressing issues as they arise
  • Task management

4. Monitoring and controlling

This step is to ensure that everything is on track and according to the original plan. The key steps involved at this stage are as follows

  • Tracking of effort and cost
  • Ensuring adherence to the original plan
  • Prevent any setbacks in the project workflow
  • Risk management

5. Closure

Project closure is done when the final goal is achieved. The key steps of this stage include-

  • Project review and approval of deliverables
  • Project documentation and handover
  • Identify and document project learnings, if any.

What are the challenges that you may face?

We all want to give our best in project planning and management. However, some challenges can still creep in and create issues. Following are the three major challenges you should be prepared for during project lifecycle management.

i. Scope creep

Not all clients are alike and so are their expectations. As a project manager, you might come across customers who do not have a clear goal in mind, which is a prerequisite in project lifecycle management.

If you face such a situation, it is better to keep clarity among all stakeholders because changing the project scope at any given time impacts all aspects of project management.

You must communicate to your clients and include it in the business plan that any change, addition, or exclusion in the project scope will be addressed separately and will not be a part of the current proposal. 

ii. Negative results

As we mentioned earlier, everything might not go as planned. So, you should be ready for negative results or project failures and plan accordingly. This is where risk analysis and management can help you. While planning a project, it is crucial to identify the potential risks that your project is prone to and account for buffer time and resources that an alternate action plan might require. It will help you to avoid last-minute chaos and increase the chances of success.

iii. Budget constraints

Budget in project lifecycle management depends on the project scope and results because it impacts the resources required. To avoid a situation where you have to pay from your pocket and bear significant losses, it is vital that, as a project manager, your risk analysis and management are effective. 

Expert tips for guaranteed results

Here are a few expert tips on project lifecycle management that you can follow to ensure guaranteed results.

  • Make effective communication a priority. Maintain clear communication with all your stakeholders, whether it is defining project scope and terms in the project proposal, conducting team meetings, or providing regular updates.
  • Gather as much information as you can from your client while drafting project specifications to avoid communication and planning fallacies at later stages.
  • Plan resource allocation and project budget, keeping buffer to tackle risks.
  • Select the right project management lifecycle software for a seamless experience.

Try Flow for a seamless experience!

60 percent of project managers handle 2-5 projects simultaneously at any given time. It can make project lifecycle management quite overwhelming. That’s where Flow comes into the picture.

Flow is a modern software that can help you bring together all your project tasks, budget, and timelines on one platform and help you effectively manage projects. It offers powerful tools to plan, set priorities, and track projects throughout the project management lifecycle from initiation to closure. Click here to book a free demo and try it yourself.

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