Project Life Cycle & Product Life Cycle

As per definition mentioned earlier, Project is the one which is executed to create a unique product or services and Product is the outcome of a Project.

The product life cycle starts with the business plan, through idea, to product, ongoing operations and product divestment.

The project life cycle goes through a series of phases to create the product. It generally defines the task to be accomplished in each phase or sub-phase and the team responsible for each phase defined. In some application areas, such as new product development or software development (as in our example of banking application software development), organizations consider the project life cycle as part of the product life cycle.

Characteristics of a project life cycle:

* Risk and uncertainty is highest at the beginning phases and reduces thereafter as the project continues.

* The ability of the stakeholders to influence the final characteristics of the project’s product and the final cost of the project is highest at the start and gets progressively lower as the project continues.

* Cost of correcting an error increases as the project goes along. 

Project Phase

Project phases are the real construct of a Project Life Cycle. Phases are generally arranged sequentially so that the output of one phase acts as input to the next phase.

Impacts on cost, resources, time to make change and risks vary from one phase to other – usually cost & resources are high at start and decreases toward the closure; time to make a change is low at start and increases towards closure; risk of failing during starting phases are high but it becomes better as time moves (even some projects got closed after execution of first few phases).

Characteristics of Project Phases:

*The completion and approval of one or more deliverables characterizes a project phase.

*A deliverable is a measurable, verifiable work product such as a specification, feasibility study report, detailed design document, or working prototype.

*The deliverables, and hence the phases, are part of a generally sequential process designed to ensure proper control of the project and to attain the desired product or service, which is the objective of the project.

Project Life Cycle

Today, the topic is Project Life Cycle. There are millions of templates available on Project Life Cycle around the world as each project is unique and executed with different customer requirements. There is no single best way to define an ideal project life cycle. It depends on the performing organization or project manager to adapt one life cycle model that suits for the project to achieve project objectives.

Each project life cycle is usually subdivided into number of project phases which gives project manager greater control of project & easier management of the project. Project phases have dependencies between them. Collectively, these phases are known as the project life cycle.

At the end of each phase, there can be few deliverables which needs approval or sign-off to start with next phase. There may be scenarios wherein next phase started even before getting earlier phase sign-off.

Banking application development project life cycle: Requirement gathering, fit-gap analysis, design document, coding & development, testing, deployment, user training & sign-off.

Project life cycles generally define:

• What work to do in each phase (for example, in which phase should the technical design be performed?)

• When the deliverables are to be generated in each phase and how each deliverable is reviewed, verified, and validated

• Who is involved in each phase (for example, concurrent engineering requires that the implementers be involved with requirements and design)

• How to control and approve each phase.