Project cycle can be defined as an approach which is accepted as the best way of planning, implementing, evaluating and managing projects. It can also be defined as a life span of a project; that is, defining the definite starting point and a definite ending point of a project.
Project management cycle model was established in 1970 by Warren C. Baum and named Baum Cycle. This basic cycle had four components which included: conceptualization stage, formulation and design stage, project appraisal stage and implementation stage. A fifth stage known as the evaluation or closing stage was added in 1978. Evaluation stage came on the realization that it could help in the identification of a new project.
Every project is unique as projects vary remarkably. However, most of them follow a similar sequence of activities, thus project management life cycle generally contains five phases; that is, Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring/Control and Closure. These stages successfully guide project from its initial stages to completion.
In this first stage you provide an overview of the project; that is defining project goals as well as creating project briefs. A business case is put in place, stakeholder’s values are defined, project benefits to the organisation are detailed and a preliminary scoping document is written.
Once the project goals have been set, the all-important second step begins; this is the planning phase. Project planning stage includes a detailed breakdown and assignment of each task of the project from beginning to end. The tasks in this stage include defining project scope, that is, requirements and budgeting, establishing team roles and setting deadlines, setting up communication plan and setting milestones of the project. Procurement and risk assessment are also done at this stage. In a nutshell, the project activities are defined and reporting frequency and channels explained.
It is this stage where the planned solution is implemented to solve the problem specified in the project’s requirements. Budget management, resource planning and status report are key activities in this third stage of the project life cycle so as to achieve the quality objectives defined in the planning stage.
4. Monitoring and Control
This is the fourth stage in the project management life-cycle. Project goals, qualities of deliverable and project team performance are monitored. Here, actual achievement is measured and compared with the planned objectives. Adjustment is made where there is deviation, scope changes are dealt with as well as new risks.
This is the fifth and the final stage of any project. It is aimed at bringing a project to its proper conclusion. At this phase, the product of the project is tested. The Closure phase is typically highlighted by a written formal project review report. The report will seek acceptance from the client. Documentation of all the outcome of the project, closure of the business account of the project, lessons learned is recorded at this stage. Last but not least, the project manager disperses the project team and project resource back to where they came from, and a formal project closure notification to higher management.
In conclusion, Project Management Cycle saves time and keeps everyone on the team focused. Although projects vary in their design, the above five stages will ensure a successful project that end with a celebration after project retrospective meeting.