Projects rarely proceed smoothly through a series of well-ordered and well-organised phases to a perfect conclusion. Nevertheless, there is value in having a model for project life cycles. Projects can follow a basic or extended life cycle.
All projects take place in an atmosphere of at least some risk. The occurrence of adverse circumstances may mean that extra time, cost or some reworking of the project plans are required in order to complete it.
Even in the best-organised and run projects the distinction between phases is not always clear-cut: design may overlap to some extent with development, development with implementation, and implementation with operation. The project organisation has to be prepared for setbacks and has to plan so that those setbacks remain minor and do not become so major as to jeopardise the success of the project.
One thing that every project manager or person responsible for a project should do is to see which success factors are present for that project: the more factors present, the greater the likelihood of success. The management of a project is very important and includes a number of tasks that are the responsibility of the project manager: estimating and planning, assembling a team, getting the tools into place, managing and coordinating work, managing change and reporting and liaising.
Having studied this section, you should be able to:
- describe the basic and extended life cycles for managing projects and list some of the tasks that belong to each phase
- describe the product life cycle and compare it with the basic and extended life cycles
- list the areas in which to look for the presence of success factors in any project and state what these factors are
- list the main activities of a project manager.