continue reading hover preload topbar hover preload widget hover preload

Your Project Management Life Cycle

April 30 2007

Managing Your Project Management Life Cycle

Every Project Manager has heard of it – but who actually has one? A Project Management Life Cycle that is. Whether you’re a manager, consultant, trainer, team member or student, you will know that you need a sound methodology for implementing projects. But:

  • What is a Project Management Life Cycle?
  • And how does it help you manage projects?
  • Also how do you select and implement one?

We’ll answer each of these questions and more, by describing the:

5 steps to Implementing your Project Management Life Cycle

A Project Management Life Cycle is defined by MPMM as a “set of processes, tools and systems that a Project Manager uses to deliver projects”. A project Life Cycle:

  • Sets out the entire Work Breakdown Structure for the project.
  • Tells your team which phases, activities and tasks are required to complete the project successfully.
  • Sets out how to complete each project activity by describing who should complete it, how and by when.
  • Includes a set of templates to help you complete each project management task quickly and efficiently.

A project management life cycle gives you a roadmap for delivering your project and it helps you to keep on track by adopting processes to monitor and control it’s delivery.

“So how do I select and implement a suitable methodology?”

Step 1: Define your Project Management Life Cycle Requirements

Implement the right life cycle for your needs is critical to project success. So the first step to take is to define your methodology needs, in terms of your content needs and your implementation needs.

Your content needs define the content that the life cycle should contain. For instance, should it list every phase, activity and task in the project life cycle? Should it apply to your industry specifically, or be more generic? Should it have particular project processes which are particular to your company or rather have best practice processes for delivering projects as a whole?

Your implementation needs define the qualities of the methodology itself. For example, you may decide that the methodology should be:

  • Robust. A robust methodology is one that is comprehensive, clear, and complete so that it cannot be misinterpreted.
  • Flexible. The methodology should apply to all types and sizes of projects performed by the organization.
  • Appropriate. The methodology should include project processes, procedures and activities that are common in your organization.
  • Attainable. The methodology should be one that the organization can accept and use. For instance, it has the right terminology, it’s based on worldwide standards and it can be practically implemented.

Step 2: Assess Existing Internal Methodologies

With a clear understanding of your requirements, the next step is to assess your existing project processes. Why re-invent the wheel if you have something that works in-house?

Compare your existing internal project processes, tools and systems against your requirements and identify any gaps. Then rate the overall fit of your existing processes to your requirements and assign an overall score which depicts the level of fit.

Step 3: Assess Available Third-Party Methodologies

There are a number of methodologies available for immediate adoption, in the market place. Having researched these methodologies, compare each against your requirements and assign an overall score which depicts the level of fit.

Be sure to check that the methodology offered in the marketplace is applicable to your market segment and offers the project processes needed by your team. For instance, many methodologies are specifically designed for IT projects and are not suitable for other project types. Others are suitable for small and medium sized projects only.

If you find a methodology that has an 80% fit, then it’s probably as good as you’ll get. You can usually customize the remaining 20% to meet the unique requirements of your organization.

Adopting a third-party methodology can save you an enormous amount of time and energy. If it’s based on worldwide standards, then it may also help you to implement best practice.

Step 4: Evaluate Creation of Custom Methodology

In many cases (such as for a manufacturing company), you may have project processes which are unique in the market. In this case, your only option may be to develop a methodology from scratch.

This will be more time consuming and expensive than adopting existing internal or third-party methodologies, but it may help you to add a little structure to any unique or peculiar project activities.

Step 5: Select and Implement Methodology

Having assessed all of your available options, you now have the information you need to make your decision. Chose the solution which is the best fit for your organization, and will help your teams to improve their practices as quickly as possible. After making your decision, you’re ready to proceed with implementation. This involves:

  • Creating an Implementation Plan
  • Purchasing, adopting or customizing the methodology,
  • Publicizing your new project methodology
  • Creating training courses and materials
  • Performing management and team training
  • Aligning your existing projects with your new methodology
  • Using your new methodology for all new projects started
  • Continually revising and improving your methodology.

And there you have it. By completing these 5 steps, you can research, select and implement a best-fit methodology which helps you and your organization to achieve true project management life cycle success!

The Method123 Project Management Life Cycle MPMM™ helps you to achieve project success, by offering a complete methodology for projects. Learn more about Project Management Templates.