What are Project Life Cycle, Project Life Cycle Management and Development Life Cycle

What are Project Life Cycle, Project Life Cycle Management and Development Life Cycle

Before moving to this article, let me tell you about my last few articles where I mentioned, what is a project and the difference between Scrum Master and Project Manager. By the end of this article, you’ll have complete understanding on Project Life Cycle and Project Management Process along with Development Life Cycle.


A Project life cycle is a progression of phases.

The project life cycle is a methodology of any organization who is managing projects. It is made by set of interdependent phases where one’s output is the input of other phase. Phases are divisions within a project for extra control and ease of management. It depends on the size, complexity and impact of project. All projects phases are collectively called project life cycle.


Phases are typically deliverable oriented. At the end of each phase, a phase end review is performed. This particular event in project life cycle is called Phase Exit, Stage Gate or Kill Point. A phase gate involves analyzing the result of completed phase with already planned or established business documents, project charter and project management plan. Based on output result, it is decided whether to move further to next phase or redo this phase or choosing not to work on this project. If decision is to move further to next phase, it will begin with initiating processes on next phase and progress through project management process groups for that phase.


Project life cycles can be predictive or adaptive. It is also called plan driven or change driven. Within project life cycle, there are many phases. Few of those phases are associated with development of product, service or result. These are called development life cycle. Example of development life cycle for a software project may be analysis, design, code, test and deploy. Development life cycle can be:


1. Predictive

It is also called predictive development life cycle and referred as waterfall or traditional life cycle. It requires project scope, schedule, and cost to be determined in details at early in the life of project i.e. as much as possible, it should be fixed at beginning to produce project deliverable. The best example is construction project.


2. Iterative

It is a type of change driven life cycle and recommends redoing whole product in each iteration. It adds successive level of details to create the end result. For example, to build a website, first iteration may have planning to complete whole website than next iteration may create skeleton of the website. Each iteration will add more details in the result of last iteration and it will keep on progressing until fully complete and functional website is achieved.


3. Incremental

It is also a type of change driven life cycle. It recommends building a working prototype at end of each increment with currently planned scope, schedule and cost. The result of each increment delivers a complete, usable portion of the project. Increment life cycle will involve prioritized requirement into increment that delivers fully functional portion of product and keeps on adding details in each increment but making every time fully functional until it is a completed product required by end users.


4. Adaptive (Agile)

It is also a change driven life cycle. It involves fixed schedule and fix cost. As you know, scope, schedule and cost are three main constraints of any project, if two of them are fixed, third will be variable. At the starting, scope is broadly defined with understanding and acceptance criteria of few deliverable. Scope is refined throughout the life of project. Customer requirements are added and prioritized in product backlog. It is adjusted as project progresses based on requirement changes within time and cost constraints. Work is performed in form of increments. At the time of increment planning (sprint planning), high prioritized and ready for implementation product backlog items are picked and planned for completion based on those acceptance criteria (also called Definition of Done). After completion of an increment, a working prototype of new increment is released. It is also called as agile development life cycle.


5. Hybrid

Hybrid life cycle is a combination of predictive and adaptive development life cycle. Predictive development life cycle is used to manage well defined requirement. Adaptive development life cycle is used to manage less clear requirements.

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About Author

Satyendra Mishra

Project Management Professional (PMP) and Microsoft certified, motivated, energetic and accomplished Project Manager / Architect with 15+ years of work experience in Management, Architecture, Analytics, Development and Maintenance. I have been fortunate to be a part of over 25+ .Net / SharePoint projects delivery with various companies across different industry sectors. This has provided me a valuable insight and experience especially in successful implementation of SharePoint based solutions.

My experience in Web application implementation includes technology strategy and road-map definition, business and technical requirements identification, governance, platform architecture, solution design, configuration, development, quality assurance, training, post-production support, team lead and overall project delivery along with project management.

Satyendra Mishra holds a B.Tech. in Computer Science & Engineering and PG Diploma in Advance Computing from Center for Development and Advance Computing, Pune, India. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

I love to share Project Management Tips and Tricks by writing Blogs in the Project Management India Community. I have written around 300+ articles in the Project Management, .Net, SharePoint and related client side technologies.

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