Setting your project up for success: The Project Management Lifecycle

. person looks at book with diagram of project cycle

 

Whether you are responsible for developing a new office building or updating your information system (maybe even planning a family holiday), you need to have a process in place to get you from the beginning to the end of your project successfully. This process is called the project management (PM) lifecycle. Typically, it consists of four steps: project initiation, project planning, project execution and project closure.

 

1. Project initiation — Get the ball rolling

It’s tough to define each of these stages in terms of their importance, but you can make a solid case for project initiation being the most important within the PM lifecycle!

In this step, you are developing the need for your project and defining the scope of it. Key data points include defining the project’s purpose, the vision and mission, identifying stakeholders and understanding how the project affects them, along with many more.

In simpler terms, it’s useful to think of the PM lifecycle as planning your family holiday — your mission is determining where you want to go, your stakeholders are your family members, and your income and savings determine your budget.

 

2. Project planning — Decide on the most efficient way to get to your goal

Project planning defines the overall approach you will take in tackling the project (strategic planning) and fleshing out the specific tasks to accomplish it (implementation planning).

Going back to the family holiday analogy, strategic planning is determining how you want to get to your destination. Flying and driving are potential options, as is taking a cruise. You can probably rule out walking early in the planning process…

If you decide on driving to your destination, Implementation planning would consist of planning your route, deciding how long you want to drive each day and identifying where you want to stay when you stop at the end of the day.

 

3. Project execution — Execute the plan

In this stage, you carry out all the tasks you planned in the previous step. Your role as a project manager would be to ensure that you and your team carry out the tasks in an organised, logical manner, keep track of your expenditures versus your budget and adjust your plans if you encounter unexpected difficulties.

Relating this to driving on your family holiday, you need to stick to your route (so no unplanned shopping excursions that take you miles off course!).

 

4. Project closure — Evaluation is key to the success of future projects

In this final stage, you evaluate how successful you were in meeting your project’s objectives and document any lessons learnt that will help you execute future projects. Learning from our mistakes is one of the most valuable skills in life and is especially applicable in project management.

At Verto, we can provide you with work collaboration and project management software that helps the project management office (PMO) and stakeholders interact more efficiently and improves project control, giving you an edge in all four of these stages.

Our cloud-based software provides dashboard status and reports as well as document storage and sharing. Stay in touch with us, follow us on LinkedIn and chat with us on Twitter to learn more about our ideas and software.