The Project Lifecycle
To begin a project, you must
first go through the initiation phase, this is the first phase of the project
lifecycle and it also the most important as it is the foundation when starting
a new project. During this phase multiple factors must be taken into
consideration, these can include;
whether or not the project is needed
who the project will affect
what the long-term goal of the project is
who the individuals and groups are that will
carry out the project to completion
These factors will fit into the
projects ‘scope’ which is a list including the goals, deliverables, features,
functions tasks, deadlines and ultimately costs
The planning phase is the second
phase of the project lifecycle, this phase helps to outline the initial scope
that was created during the initiation phase. The plans that are made during
this phase will help to guide the management of the project, this is because
all original factors in the scope will be in a higher level of detail and will
be expanded on giving the project team clear instructions to follow. The higher
level of detail could be things such as the exact amount of resources that are
needed to complete the project, these resources could include materials,
people, time, and money. Clearly defining how much of these are needed is
important because it can allow the project to flow smoothly as if not all the
resources are obtained then the project may be left at a standstill until the
needed resources are finally collected.
The execution phase of the
project is where the deliverables are created and then delivered to the
customer, due to the nature of this phase it is typically the longest section
of a project lifecycle and is spit into milestones, this allows the teams to
have something to word towards other than the end goal. This phase heavily
relies on the two previous phases for it to be successful, this is because all
the specifications that were created would now be used as instructions for the
project management team to follow to ensure the resources are being used
correctly, because this phase is the one that makes use all the resources that
are collected from the planning phase it uses the most resources when compared
to the other phases.
This is the final phase of a
project lifecycle and it is an overall review of the project entirety, this
The quality of the deliverables
The success of the project
The performance of the teams within the project
Issues and how they were solved
The evaluation provides the most
important information as it can help to improve future projects based on
positives and negatives of the previous project.
Importance of each phase
The initiation phase is arguably
the most important phase as it the foundations of the project meaning the
objectives that are set during this phase are followed by teams throughout the
project, if something is not specified correctly then it may have a large
impact on the project as a whole. The initiation phase is also the first
impression the client gets when working with the organisation meaning the
standards must be set to ensure the client trusts the organisation to complete
the project to their specifications.
The planning phase also has a
very large importance in the project life cycle this is because similarly to
the initiation phase it will set the plans for the project that teams will then
follow, this ultimately means that the plans for the project must be
professional in order for the project to be successful. The main Importance
that comes from the planning phase is the detailed documentation of
specification and needed resources as this will be the information that the
teams will rely on during later phases, it is essential that this information
is correct as small mistakes such as; a lack of resources or miscommunication
of specifications can cause the project to be left at a standstill until the
issue is solved, this would increase the amount of time that a project takes
while also causing the client to lose confidence that the project will be
completed before the deadline.
The execution phase is where the
final product or deliverable is created and then presented, this phase is
important in different ways to the other phases as several more things need to
be taken into consideration. The reason this phase is important is because the
completion of this stage will mean that the client will receive the final
product of the project, this means that this phase must be heavily monitored
and correctly directed as the final product will also show the client the
effort that the organisation has put into the project.
The evaluation phase does not
have importance to the current project, however it helps to improve future
projects. The way that this phase helps future projects is due to the feedback
that is taken when the evaluation is completed, this means an organisation can
see what went will with the project meaning they should continue to do that
while the issues with the project can hopefully be avoided if the correct
actions are taken. This phase alone will allow organisations to improve all of
their other projects, giving this phase a large importance when future projects
with a project
This can affect a project as poor communication can slow down a project or even
stop a project completely, this is due to a project consisting of project teams
and a project manager meaning that if the manager in not properly communicating
with the teams on what their tasks are then the teams will not be able to do
anything as they will have no instruction to do so.
factors- factors such as a limited finance can also slow down
a project as if the organisation cannot order required resources or pay or the
project teams then the project will have to be stopped until all the
requirements are met.
conflict during a project can have different impact depending on how serious
are, for example a conflict between something small may not have much of an effect
to the project as it only wastes time, while a serious conflict can sometimes
end a project as it could include team member or managers resigning due to the
conflict, both having a large impact on the project.
Lack of management-similar to a
lack of communication, lack of management can lead the project teams clueless
on what their tasks are, on the other hand if the management is not strict
enough employees may ‘slack off’ instead of completing the project. Both of
these will slow down the completion of the project.
planning-planning is a crucial stage of the project lifecycle
and a project plan must be accurate in order for the project to be a success,
poor planning can lead to a lack of information about the projects development,
it can also cause the misuse of resources as money may be wasted on too much of
one resource (an issue that would not arise if that planning is accurate)
is one of the more serious issues that a project may face, this is due to the
impacts that breaking a legislation or not following a regulation, for example
copyrighted material may be used that the organisation does not have the rights
for this would mean if caught the organisation would be fined and the project
would be shut down as it breaks the legislation.
required for a project
These are the documents are required for a project to
function in the correct manner
Project Brief (including the
projects main objectives and the scope, this documentation would be created
during the initiation phase and it would be used throughout the project as a
PID-Project initiation document-
this is the document would provide the need for the project as well as acting
as the foundation for the project brief meaning it would also be needed during
the initiation phase.
Contract-The agreement from the
project sponsor/client, allowing the project to start, this would be obtained
after the initiation as the customer would need to see the project scope before
they allow the project to start
Business case-The justification
for the project and what the project will achieve, summerly to the project
brief and the PID this would also be needed during the initiation and would be
used to structure both of these documents
Client acceptance form-The
agreement form from the client when the project is complete, this would be
given to client after the execution phase as that is when the project is
complete for the client, this document requires the acceptance of the client to
say that they are happy with the outcome of the project.
Work breakdown structure-A
deliverable that splits the projects teams work in to manageable sections
during the planning and execution phases to allow for maximum work efficiency.
Project Progress report-A
constant updates on the projects progress, this document would be updated
throughout the project and would be reflected upon during the evaluation phase
to summarise how the project went.
Project Closure report-The
document showing the projects outcome and date of closure and would be
completed after the organisation has completed the evaluation of the project is
Lessons learned Report-feedback
on the project overall allowing the organisation to reflect on the project and
the issues it faced, this would ultimately allow them to improve future
required for a project
This is a list of the needed registers for a project that
allow it to properly function
Project planner-visual guide showing the project in its
entirety and what currently needs to be completed, this would be used
throughout the project as a reference showing project teams what they need to
complete, planning, creation, evaluation etc.
Risk register-used to record all of the risks that are
monitored during the execution phase of a project, however if any other risks
occur outside of this phase they will still be recorded
Issues register-used to record all of the issues that are
monitored and overcome during a project and would be evaluated at the end.
Lessons learned register-a final piece of feedback on the
projects overall and the issues it faced giving the teams detailed information
on the issues during the evaluation allowing them to be corrected next time.
The waterfall methodology is
primarily linked to software development however it can be used in for other
projects. The main characteristic of the Waterfall model is that all the stages
flow one after another, like what a waterfall does, see figure 1 for a diagram
of the structure and stages of the waterfall model. The waterfall model will
contain the 4 aspects of the project lifecycle, however other stages can be
implemented to provide extra support as when following this model there is
usually no going back after a step has been completed, this means that all the
steps must be completed in as much detail as possible, this way the project
will have a reduced risk of failure due to each step of the project relying on
those before it.
The spiral model was originally
used for prototyping but has been adapted slightly so that it can also be used
as a project management system. The Spiral model is exactly as it would suggest
as the model follows a spiral going outwards that covers four key points
multiple times. The four key points are as follows;
(Max Widerman, 2003)
Planning- This stage is a mixture between the
planning and initiation stages from the project lifecycle. It covers what the
project aims or needs to complete, this could be the main scope of the project.
This stage also covers how the project will be completed or how the aims will
be achieved, this can be done in the form of a system requirements
specification, this will cover at minimum the requirements of the project and
how they can be solved.
Risk analysis- This section identifies all the
risks that come with the project in its current state. The risks that are
covered in this section are mainly risks to the development of the project,
some of these could include; insufficient funds and resources, legal issues and
a lack of time. A risk analysis is completed on every layer of the spiral as
new issues and risks to development will be identified throughout the projects Lifecycle.
In addition to helping to identify the risks this section also gives the time
to help to provide alternate solutions to overcome the problems to ensure the
other stages of the project go according to plan. At the end of this section a
prototype is produced ensuring that none of the risks specified are still
Engineering- This stage is where the prototyped
product is tested according to the risk assessment, ensuring that it meets some
of the project aims.
Evaluation-This is the final section of the
spiral model before it repeats. This section consists of the customer feedback
that is given about the prototyped produce and taking note of issues with the
product allowing them to be assessed during the next risk assessment phase.
After this section the risk assessment phase starts again, the spiral model
continues until the project team is happy with the final product.
The agile model suggests that
larger projects cannot be completely planned as the client will often change
their objective, this is because no project can stay the same from start to
finish as certain actions may have to be taken changing the project while
keeping it to the client specifications intact. Due to these beliefs agile
development follows 12 key principles to follow instead of a set path. These
the client is satisfied, this could be with continuous updates on how the
project is coming along or by providing them with a copy of the projects
developments such as an updated build of software that is being developed, or
by giving them a prototype of a physical product.
changes to requirements, the changes made during the project should be
implemented shortly after receiving the request of a change, this way the
client can have an advantage over other competitors as the project can adapt
around what they are doing.
a functional product of the project more frequently, this will shorten the time
between the planning and delivery of a product and can help clients follow
where the development is going in relation to their input.
management and development teams must work together on a daily basis, by doing
it is ensuring that the project has good communication throughout its lifecycle
motivated individuals are always involved, Agile development does not support
micromanagement as the teams should be built from well-motivated and
face to face interactions as the main source of information and communication,
by using this form of communication the project can be handled smoothly and
efficiently as direct answers would be give and the time between giving and
receiving a questions answer would be shorter.
functional product is the measure of progress, this allows the customer to see
the project’s completion by judging the product in its current state.
development should be promoted, larger projects can take a lot of time, and
this means that employees and project team can get worn out quickly if working
consistently. Agile development promotes sustainable development through short
bursts of quality work.
improving the quality of design during the project, this is where the
production team would identify the current issues with a product, such as bugs
in the code of a piece of software being developed. These issues should then be
attended to immediately to ensure the project continues smoothly
is important, this is to help reduce the amount of work done to reduce stress
on the project teams, and this can be done by avoiding things that do not matter.
best requirements and designs come from an organised team, during agile
development the teams should take their own direction and team members should
not be told what to do as they should face problems and help the team to find
solutions allowing the project to move forward
the current state of the project and product, during the project teams should
take a step back from working and analyse the project and adapt it if they see
Comparing the features and benefits
of each methodology
methodology has its own distinct and unique features while also sharing
similarities with the other methodologies. To begin, the waterfall model is
unlike several other project methodologies as it follows a straight path during
a projects development, due to this waterfall is mainly used for smaller
projects due to it having few steps, however these few steps will contain a lot
of detail if the project is competed properly, waterfall also helps to prevent
future issues with a project during development as the current step is
thoroughly analysed to ensure that there are no mistakes that could affect the
project later on in time as the waterfall model restricts you from going back to change anything or excluding certain steps.
Similarly, PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is also a step based
model, however unlike waterfall it is designed to work with larger projects,
this could be useful as larger organisations may want to follow a step based
model to keep track of the projects progress allowing them to inform the client
of a rough completion date.
On the other hand,
methodologies such as agile development and spiral give the project teams more
freedom, this is because agile focuses on 12 key factors to implement during a
project and spiral revisits the same steps several times to give the team room
for error and improvement. Both of these methodologies are designed for larger
projects as a lot of work must go into them, spiral for example follows similar
steps to waterfall but instead of leaving a step after its completion spiral
revisits the step meaning new specifications and faults can be taken into
account meaning the project can last a long time before it completely meets
client specifications, this also means that usually the first project will
satisfy the client’s needs due to them having an influence throughout
development. In contrast agile development handles large projects in a
different way, this is done by following 12 key principles as agile states that
no project especially larger ones are not protected form change during
development, and by following the key principles the project can be more
efficient as a whole as teams can focus on what they need to complete rather
than completing one single step at a time. Despite this agile development can
become somewhat decentralised as the project teams are left to their own tasks
instead of everyone following set tasks similarly to waterfall and PRINCE2.
depending on the future project, the methodology used should be chosen
carefully as it can have a large impact on the outcome of a project.