What exactly is a project lifecycle?

Posted by Marbenz Antonio on June 21, 2022

How to Perfect Project Life Cycle Management [Top Tools]

A project is a short-term undertaking developed to manage the work needed to attain a certain goal.

Projects differ from ordinary day-to-day tasks in that they are intrinsically riskier than stable, business-as-usual operations, and they usually benefit from a specialized approach to managing the labor involved.

A project normally has a life cycle that begins at the beginning and ends at the conclusion. The focus of work shifts as the project progresses: from the first stage of examining the causes and need for the investment, to a more detailed definition and planning of the work necessary, to delivering the outputs and eventually concluding the project.

The project lifecycle is a method of seeing a project from start to finish. Breaking down a project into phases allows project managers and others to focus on what is vital at any given time. For example, at the beginning of its existence, the project focuses on ensuring that the investment concept is strong, aligns with the broader strategy, and is worth further investigation. As it progresses to a more thorough definition and planning, the emphasis shifts to ensuring that the project is based on solid foundations and has clear and effective governance and controls in place. As the project’s products are delivered, it’s critical to ensure that the correct outputs are produced to the proper quality, that progress is maintained, and that risks and difficulties are managed. And at the end of the project, the focus is on tying up loose ends, ensuring that the items generated have been turned over to operational regions, and reflecting on lessons learned for future initiatives.

Types of Project Lifecycle

Linear lifecycle

A linear project lifecycle (also known as a “waterfall” strategy) defines and specifies the scope and requirements early in the project and delivers products in a series of subsequent phases. Because scope and quality are generally defined early in the project, time and cost are usually flexible to meet the needs within those limits.


Iterative lifecycle

An iterative lifecycle (often known as an ‘agile’ method) specifies and fixes the project’s duration and cost. Products are delivered incrementally, with scope and quality flexible to meet schedule and cost limitations.


Hybrid approach

A hybrid lifespan incorporates characteristics of both linear and iterative processes. Some project phases (for example, product design) may benefit from an incremental approach, particularly in the early stages of the project, whereas others (for example, product delivery) may benefit from a sequential linear strategy.


The Praxis Framework lifecycle

Praxis is a free, community-driven project, program, and portfolio management system. Praxis is built around a project lifecycle that can be customized for use with many types of projects, whether they are basic or complicated, managed as independent initiatives or as part of a larger program. To assist introduce the Praxis lifecycle, let’s pretend we’re starting a basic project where each stage comes after the one before it.

Identification phase

The goal of this phase is to investigate an original idea, develop it into a high-level sketch of a project, and determine whether the early concept is likely to be realistic and therefore worth additional investigation. Each project is initiated by a mandate – the first concept – and the identification phase formalizes this in a high-level explanation for the project known as a brief. This phase also outlines the work required to complete the more extensive planning and investigative activities required in the following phase, which is specified in the definition plan.

The brief and definition plan are used together to determine whether or not to move to the next phase of the lifecycle, where the work required to fulfill the project is described in greater detail. There is a gate after this phase when it is decided whether or not the project shall go to the next level.


Definition phase

This phase is concerned with laying a solid foundation for the project. It seeks to provide a more thorough image of what the project needs to generate, the work necessary for delivery, and how the project should be managed to decide whether or not it should go to delivery.

This is when the project’s scope is determined, the work is planned, scheduled, and cost and the project’s justification (comparison of costs, benefits, and risks) is recorded in a business case. At the end of this phase, another decision point is reached when the required paperwork is utilized as a foundation to authorize the project’s delivery.


Delivery phase

This is the stage at which plans are carried out and items are delivered. This includes authorizing work and accepting completed goods, tracking progress against goals and taking corrective action if necessary to stay on schedule, reporting and communicating with stakeholders, and resolving or escalating issues as they occur.



It is important to wind things down in a disciplined manner at the conclusion of the project and ensure that any loose ends are tidied up. This phase entails ensuring that all products have been handed over and accepted by the relevant operational areas, that any outstanding items have been assigned home for later resolution, and that the project has been reviewed for lessons and improvements that can be passed on to help future projects, and that any resources, such as people or equipment, have been demobilized.


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