Project Life Cycle

A project has fixed life span. Every project goes through similar stages on the path from origin to completion. The stages are generally expressed in terms of cycle of phases. The phases are arranged in a sequence. The phases are collectively known as project life cycle.
The various phases of project life cycle in a simplified form is explained below:
  1. Conception Phase
  2. Definition Phase
  3. Planning and Organizing Phase
  4. Implementation Phase
  5. Clean up/ Termination Phase
1. Conception Phase
This is the phase during which project idea germinates. The idea may first come to mind when one is seriously trying to overcome certain problems. Generally ideas are develop from both internal and external sources. The internal sources may be mission, goals, strategies and programs of parent organization. Opportunities and threats identified by management, suggestions and comments provided by employees etc. Similarly external sources of the ideas may be clients' requirements, competitors activities, donors priorities, opinions of experts or consultants, legal provision of government. It means the sources of idea may be from environmental scanning which helps to justify project needs establish project objectives, estimates the resources.
In this stage various developed ideas are carefully evaluated in terms of objectives, constraints and resource availability and select the best idea to start as a project. It also includes the preliminary analysis to identify the risk and its impact on project success. A well conceived project will go along for successful implementation and operation of project. Therefore, the answer of the following questions are trying to find out in this phase.
  • What is problem?
  • Will the proposed project solve that problem?
  • What are the specific goals of the project?
  • Do we have resources to create and support the project?
2. Definition Phase
These phase concerned with the development of the generated idea during the conception phase. It produces a document describing the project in sufficient details covering various aspects accessory for the customer or financial institution to make up their minds on the project. This phase avoids some ambiguity and uncertainty associated with the formation made during the conception period.
This phase requires a firm, identification of resources to be require together with the establishment of realistic time, cost and quality performance parameter. It also includes the initial preparation of all documents including raw materials, plant size, location and site, project layout, plant and machinery, engineering works, manpower, financial analysis, implementation schedule, policies, procedures, job description, budget and funding papers, memorandum etc necessary to support the project system. It identifies those areas of system where high risk and uncertainty exist.

In this phase either project is accepted or rejected.

3. Planning and Organizing Phase
This phase can effectively starts only after the definition phase, but in practice, it starts much earlier. Almost immediately after the conception phase. It is often taken as a part of implementation since it does not limit itself of paperwork and thinking but many activities including field works are undertaken during these phase. Hence this phase overlaps so much with definition and implementation phases. This is concerned with choosing appropriate wages and developing best course of action to achieve defined objectives.

Project focuses on the following aspect during this phase:
  • System design and basic engineering package.
  • Scheduling and budgeting.
  • Licensing and government clearance.
  • Terms and condition of contract.
  • Identification of project manager.
  • General condition for purchase and contract System and procedures.
  • Financial provision.
  • Site preparation and investigation.
  • Work packaging.
  • Allocation of task, resources.
  • Authority and responsibility.
Thus this phase is involved with preparation of action plan for project to take-off smoothly. The basic task of these phase are feasibility study, project appraisal and detail project design.

4. Implementation Phase
This is the most important phase of project life cycle. It is also called project execution phase because bulk of the project works are done during these phase. Actually all human and non-human resources are mobilized to perform the project task according to plan. All techniques of project management are applied to attain the project objectives within constraint of time, cost and quality. Thus success of project is also highly dependent on the implementation phase.
Execution and controlling related task are done during this phase.
  • Allocation of project task to members.
  • Setting of management information system. 
  • Starting of construction works.
  • Use of time sequence schedule for implementation.
  • Ordering and erection of equipment.
  • Negotiation and contracting with various parties.
  • Timely supervision.
  • Use of control techniques.
  • Identification performance problem and timely correction.
5. Clean up/ Termination phase
It is deterioration or death phase of the project life cycle. Project's all types of remaining tasks are completed in this phase. Effects and impacts of project are properly evaluated. Finally the project is handed over to customer or parent organization and closed. Although the basic tasks under the cleanup phase are project evaluation and project handover, following task are performed during this phase:
  • Dues collection.
  • Outstanding payments.
  • Check customer satisfaction.
  • Closing of accounts.
  • Lay-off personnel. 
  • Transfer of remaining resources.
  • Handover the project to concerned party.

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