Project Management Lifecycle Explained

The beauty about being a project manager is that no day is repetitive, every project is unique and brings its own learnings and encounters even though the project framework consists of the same project management lifecycle. The project management lifecycle is a collection of phases a project goes through from initiation to the closure of a project.

A project management lifecycle plan helps you understand the objective of the project and assists you understand what is required to deliver the project. You should experience a more streamlined project execution when you define your project management lifecycle plan.

The PMI (Project Management Institute) have defined five process phases which form the project management lifecycle The PMBOK project phases are:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring & Controlling
  5. Closing


Project initiation is the first phase of the project lifecycle. During the initiation phase, the business problem or opportunity is identified, a solution is defined, a project is formed, and a project team is assigned to build and deliver the solution to the customer.

Initiation phase tasks include:

  • Creation of project charter
  • Identification of project stakeholders

Project planning is one of the most important phases within the project lifecycle. A new project can feel overwhelming without sufficient planning. Through proper planning, you streamline the entire project into a series of deliverables to map out timelines and ensure the availability of your resources.

Planning phase tasks include:

  • Creation of a WBS
  • Creation of a project plan
  • Creation of a resource & cost plan
  • Creation of a communication plan

The project execution phase includes putting the project plans into action. This is where the project manager will lead the team towards the delivery. The project manager’s biggest challenge during this phase is conflicts over the schedule.

Execution tasks include:

  • Monitoring the action log and RAID log
  • Tracking the workload and accountability in the project plan
  • Providing progress updates to project stakeholders & project team
Monitoring and Controlling

As a project manager your role is to ensure the project is always under control. The project monitoring stage happens during the execution phase. As the project advances you need to monitor the progress and flag any issues or concerns with your project stakeholders.

Controlling tasks include:

  • Project Scheduling and chairing weekly meetings
  • Creating project reports to outline project progress to stakeholders & project team
  • Monitoring the action log and RAID log

This is the final stage of the project management lifecycle; your project is basically complete at his stage. The project close phase gives you the chance to review the entire project and measure the feedback and report the results.

Closing tasks include:

  • Creation of lessons learned
  • Obtain acceptance of deliverables from the customer
  • Project closure


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