June 04, 2013
A project is a set goal or objective consisting of various tasks and assignments each having a start and an end. A project plan has a clear aim, a defined budget, expectation of performance and detailed plan of action. Project management is the planning, organizing, directing, and controlling of company resources in order to complete those set goals or objectives (Kerzner, 2009). This paper will discuss the basic phases of the project life cycle, their purpose, and the importance for organizations to use project management to accomplish tasks.
What is a Project? A project needs a specific goal or end result; it is not an idea that gets worked on just see what happens. It does not go on forever; it has a beginning and an end. In turn each task and assignment must have a timeline that team members can follow in order to stay on track towards the specified goal. Any delays in one phase will have to be adjusted within the timeframes of other phases of the project. Project planning will require a plan of action defining what needs to get done, by when, and by whom.
The Project Life Cycle
A project life cycle is the different phases or stages that a project goes through to reach completion. It also identifies a number of smaller tasks that you will come across as you complete the project. It is important to divide a project into different tasks or stages so the project manager and the responsible team members can plan and efficiently organize resources for each task. This further allows managers to measure the achievement of the goal and decide where to take corrective actions, should a task not meet the standard.
The first phase is called the initiation phase and includes the preliminary evaluation of an idea (Kerzner, 2009). It is characterized as the phase in which the scope of the project is defined along with main approach to get the desired outcome. Most important in this phase is a preliminary analysis of risk and the resulting impact on time, cost, and performance requirements, together with the potential impact on company resources (Kerzner, 2009). Generally a project charter is created to formally recognize the project and becomes the basis for a plan of action (Morris, 2008). The second phase is planning and is understandably that plan of action. The main idea of the project is defined and details are discussed in full length as to how it will be accomplished. It is important to note that planning is not a one-time activity; it is constant (Morris, 2008). As tasks reach completion, re-evaluations will take place and adjustments must be made. In the third, also known as the execution phase, the plan of action is implemented. Alternatively, the third phase may also include testing, as a final standardization effort so that operations can begin (Kerzner, 2009). The fourth phase, or controlling phase, lets managers monitor how the project is progressing, constantly seeking feedback on results and communicating the