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The project management life cycle is a series of activities that are necessary to fulfill project goals or objectives. These activities may go by different names, depending on the methodology, but tend to be similar in nature. The PMI refers to them as “process groups”, and categorizes the project management life cycle as follows:

4 phases of project management life cycle

  • Initiation: nature and scope of the project
  • Planning: time, cost, resources and scheduling
  • Execution: processes used to complete the project
  • Closure: formal end of project

Project Management Life Cycle

What Is the Initiation Phase of the Project Management Life Cycle?

The initiation phase is the very first phase of the project management life cycle. During this phase, a project manager must develop a business case for the project. Whether they undertake a feasibility study or establish a project charter, making sure the rest of the team understands the importance of the project is key. During this phase, a project team is appointed.

What Happens During the Planning Phase?

As you may have already guessed, a lot of planning takes place during this phase. Depending on the specifics of your project, you may need to complete all (or just a few) of the following:

  • Project plan
  • Resource plan
  • Financial plan
  • Quality plan
  • Risk plan
  • Acceptance plan
  • Communications plan
  • Procurement plan

What is the Execution Phase of the Project Management Life Cycle?

Two things happen during the execution phase. 1) deliverables are built, and 2) the project is monitored and controlled. In some cases, this means going through time management procedures step-by-step, and in others it could mean performing a risk assessment so you can identify any risks you could expect throughout the life of the project. Depending on your project, you may need to perform all (or just a handful) of the following:

  • Time management
  • Cost management
  • Quality management
  • Change management
  • Risk management
  • Issue management
  • Procurement management
  • Acceptance management
  • Communications management
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What Happens During the Closing Phase?

The closing phase signifies what is project management. During this phase, project managers are expected to tie up any loose ends, and perform any project closure activities. Once the project is closed, the project manager should review the project completion with their team. During this review, the benefits and objectives should be measured, the project spend should be compared to the budget, and final deliverables should be assessed. At this time, you should be able to identify key project achievements and milestones, document any lessons learned for future projects and communicate the success of the project to stakeholders and executives.

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Preview: Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting

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In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

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Buyer’s guide to project management software