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The Role of the Project Life Cycle (Life Span) in Project Management A literature review by

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project management life cycle literature review

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Life Cycle Management (LCM) has been employed in the management of construction projects worldwide for many years in order to reduce whole life cost, time, risk and for improving the service to owners. Despite an increasing enthusiasm to propose the LCM practice as a useful approach in an environmental context, the adoption and application of LCM in the construction projects remain limited. LCM can be implemented in various stages of a project lifecycle starting from project initiation phase until the project closure phase. However, in Malaysia LCM is still considered as a new practice and seems ambiguously understood in the construction industry in Malaysia. Objective: This study is to assess the level of implementation and different tools of LCM at various stages of construction projects. Results: The quantitative data for this study was gathered through questionnaire surveys among the contractors, consultants, architects and developers. The data obtained was analyzed using frequency analysis and cross tabulation analysis. From the analysis, it was found that although 102 (80%) of the respondents mentioned that they have applied LCM in their project but yet the level application is very low. Only sometimes in the project LCM is applied. Further, LCM is not applied throughout the lifecycle, various practitioner apply it partially and in a certain phase of project lifecycle. Conclusion: Life Cycle Management (LCM) application in infrastructure projects should be promoted to achieve it potential benefits through enforcement from the clients.

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The paper examines the level of awareness of stakeholders in adopting Inherently Safer Design (ISD) principles in the Project Life Cycle Management (PLCM) of South African Energy utility projects. It seeks to understand whether stakeholders in the latter stages of the Project Life Cycle are competent to make design change decisions on these projects. ISD principles are essentially useful for reducing risks and as such, safety experts have acknowledged it as an excellent approach in the design process. However, there are no known efforts to date that attempt to integrate ISD concepts into PLCM. This paper seeks to fill this gap. This study, through the review of extant literature establishes that ISD principles can be used in project procurement, and adopts a quantitative survey approach in obtaining information from stakeholders in the South African utility industry. Findings reveal that the principles of inherent safety are permeating into the managmeent of South African utility projects but the level of awareness and its adoption are below optimal levels. It also emerged that there is a divergent awareness of ISD strategies amongst PLCM stakeholders and that the design engineers are better informed about the ISD approach of eliminating risks and hazards in the industrial systems studied than other stakeholders. The findings also indicate that the level of awareness of stakeholders of ISD principles is greater within earlier project phases. Based on these findings, the paper concludes that the hazards witnessed within the project execution and finalization phases could be as a result of the low levels of awareness, divergent views and lower use of ISD strategies by PLCM stakeholders. It is suggested that the level of awareness of the principles, concepts, basics and benefits of integrating ISD into PLCM be raised amongst stakeholders functioning within utility industry project procurement in South Africa and that design changes be limited to the earlier phases of utility project procurement.

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A common dilemma management faces in managing projects, programs and portfolios are the continued rates of failure of projects and programs within those portfolios. Numerous studies have been done on what constitutes project/program success and a review of this literature by Cooke-Davies in his chapter entitled “Project success” in The Wiley guide to managing projects (2004, pp. 106-109) led him to postulate that there were really three levels of success related to projects, which in turn reflected upon an organization’s success: (a) "Project management success -- was the project done right?" (b) "Project success -- was the right project done?" and, (c)"Consistent project success – were the right projects done right, time after time?" Looking at these three factors denoting success, the questions of whether a particular project was done right and doing projects consistently is clearly in the hands of the project/program manager and their use of project management (PjM) processes, program management (PgM) processes, and key artifacts used in these processes. Whereas, the question of doing the right projects falls under the purview of a relatively recent field of study that has risen out of the project management discipline: portfolio management (PfM). The project/program manager plays a key role in each of the three disciplines, and in many cases, has a hand in the development and maintenance of the key artifacts used by the three disciplines. This study provides practitioners and scholars with quantitative research to aid them in their study and use of the PfM, PM and PgM processes, artifacts, and execution of roles within the three sets of processes. This study also begins to fill the gap that currently exists in the literature, especially with regard to quantitative research-based studies on the intersection of the PfM, PM and PgM processes and artifacts.


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If you’re just diving into the world of project management for the first time, you might feel intimidated by starting a new project. Fortunately, you can utilize the project life cycle, which is a set of stages that takes a project from start to completion. Read on to learn about each phase of the project lifecycle, its role in the success of the project, and how you can properly manage each phase for optimum results.

What are Project Phases?

Project phases are smaller portions of a project that represent distinct goals or milestones in the larger project lifecycle. Within the project lifecycle, there are 5 project phases, as defined by the Project Management Institute: 

  • Project Initiation
  • Project Planning
  • Project Execution
  • Project Monitoring and Control
  • Project Closure

Each phase comes with specific requirements of the project team, as well as key deliverables and action items that keep the project moving forward successfully. Mastering project phases is essential for keeping the project on track while completing essential tasks and checkpoints throughout the process. 

example of the project lifecycle in stages.

Read more: 14 Important Questions Project Managers Should Ask the Team

What are the 5 phases of project management, project initiation phase.

A team’s performance during the Project Initiation Phase can result in either authorization, delay, or discontinuation of a new project.

The main goal of the Initiation Phase is to ensure that the project meets business needs and that stakeholders and project teams are aligned on the project success criteria throughout the project life cycle.

To achieve the project goal, it’s best to involve internal and external stakeholders from the Initiation Phase . This way, you can effectively align expectations and increase the likelihood of completing all the deliverables throughout the project management life cycle.

During the Initiation Phase, the entire project team defines the project idea, and the project sponsor evaluates it and authorizes the project to proceed. The project manager starts the documentation process, which includes the justification, deliverables, risks, estimated cost, and resource requirements.

The Project Charter is a key deliverable of the Project Initiation Phase and contains all this information. It is the first formal definition of the project. It authorizes the project to exist, establishes the authority of the project manager, and documents high-level requirements, project milestones, and success criteria.

Another important document in the Initiation Phase is the Stakeholder Register. This document includes information about all the stakeholders of the project. It identifies the people, groups, and organizations that have an interest in the task, project, and its results.

Approval of the Project Charter signals the advance of the project to the next phase, the Project Planning Phase.

Read more: What is a Project Charter? Complete Guide & Examples 2023

Project Planning Phase

Once the expectations and success criteria are clear, the next project management life cycle phase focuses on planning each task the team needs to perform to cover the scope, achieve the deliverables, and meet the overall goal.

In the Project Planning Phase, the project team members dive into specific requirements, tasks, timelines, and actions. The project manager works with the entire team to create the design, enumerate the task list, and estimate the budget.

The project team builds the resource plan, the communications plan, and the initial project schedule. The project manager also establishes the roles and responsibilities of the team and stakeholders. The project scope is finalized depending on approved available resources and client priorities.

During the Planning Phase , the project team finalizes the Work Breakdown Structure, Project Plan, Requirements List, Communications Management Plan, and other relevant documents to iron out the workflow and coordination with involved parties.

The Project Plan is a key deliverable and contains a detailed work breakdown structure (WBS) or task list with start and end dates, and estimated effort and duration. It identifies milestones, resources, and the schedule. It also includes task dependencies that will allow the project team to use the critical path method if it chooses.

Other important deliverables are the Communications Management Plan, which helps facilitate effective communication with stakeholders, and the Resource Allocation Plan which identifies the schedule of project team resources as to their availability during the whole project life cycle.

Something PMs should keep in mind: As you discover more information, you may have to adjust your previous Project Plan and related procedures. More complex projects will require more back-and-forth approvals for every task created.

Project planning is an iterative process so the project manager should review, revise, and revisit all the plans at least once a month until the completion of the project. It is crucial for the project team to involve relevant stakeholders in this stage of the project life cycle as well.

Read more: Project Management Communication Plan

Project Execution Phase

The Project Execution Phase is where the project team executes and follows through on tasks based on the Project Plan. At this stage, the team spends most of its time coordinating with people, helping to ensure quality work, keeping track of resources, and updating stakeholders.

Sometimes called the Implementation Phase, this is the phase when the project manager tries to manage every task and aspect of project delivery to keep the project on track for the remaining duration of the project life cycle.

The project team focuses on achieving all the objectives set in the earlier phases. At this phase, the project leader likely uses project management software to assign every task to team members. Tools that centralize task information, along with resource availability and team communication can simplify and optimize the needed project management processes.

Quality Assurance documentation, meeting minutes, and Work Orders are some of the documents created during the Execution Phase of the project management life cycle.

It’s also likely that you’ll discover new information that will require a revisit and update of the initial project management plans. Be vigilant with change requests, and make sure that the necessary adjustments are managed.

Read more: Understanding Different Types of Stakeholders and Their Roles

Project Monitoring & Control Phase

The best way to ensure progress and improvement is by tracking and reviewing project performance.

Simultaneously during execution, the project team carefully tracks the progress of the project based on the Project Plan established earlier. Tracking the performance of the project through various metrics is crucial to ensure the project stays on schedule, within budget, and within scope.

The project team keeps track of change management documents, spending records, QA checklists, and team time tracking. They are able to measure where efforts and resources go throughout the project life cycle, crosschecking it with the Project Plan.

Both the Execution Phase and Monitoring & Control Phase are critical times that can determine project success. Aside from monitoring the progress of tasks, the project manager also tries to identify issues or risks, creates a mitigation plan with the team, and reports the project status regularly to stakeholders.

Being diligent in recording and measuring project progress puts the project team in a strategic position. They can identify bottlenecks and initiate essential discussions or project management process improvements.

Having a proactive approach will allow the project team to respond rapidly to any change in the plan. Consistent and appropriate status reporting will update interested stakeholders and provide them the opportunity to intervene in or redirect the project as needed.

If additional planning, time, or resources are needed, you’ll need to communicate them to relevant project stakeholders before it’s too late. You’ll also have the data and results to back up your requests, so you have a better chance of justifying your requests and maintaining their trust despite circumstances.

Read more: 10 Best Project Management Software Buyers’ Guide

Project Closure Phase

In the last project management life cycle phase, all the activities related to its completion are concluded. These may involve the submission of a final deliverable, fulfilling contractual obligations, terminating relevant agreements, and releasing project resources.

The causes of a project closure can be completion, cancellation, termination, or transfer to a new organization. The documentation required to complete Project Closure will differ depending on the situation.

In this phase, the project manager communicates the final project disposition and status to all stakeholders. This phase also ensures to inform participants and stakeholders of any follow-on activities or continuing product life cycle so they can communicate and coordinate with the people in charge.

Regardless of the outcome of the project life cycle, however, it would be good for the team to conduct a project retrospective. During this post-mortem activity, the project team can process new lessons and ensure the improvement of current project management processes for a future project.

During the project closeout, documents to turn over can include various project documentation, final meeting minutes, and other closure reports. These documents can identify and capture lessons learned and best practices for future reference and reuse.

It is a good idea to organize and store project materials in a shared team folder. These materials can provide reference during performance evaluation. The opportunity to continuously test, improve, or reinvent ways to manage the whole project life cycle can help grow the organization and its business.

Read more: How to Host a Good Project Post-Mortem Meeting

VIDEO: Recap of 5 Project Management Phases

Why Are Project Phases Important?

All projects go through each of the five phases regardless of their size.

The decision to officially divide a project into phases is an excellent way to manage the team’s focus, allocate resources, and align the entire project life cycle with clients and stakeholders.

By thinking in terms of phases, the project team ensures that deliverables produced at the end of each phase meet the project’s goals. Managing a project by phase also makes sure that the team is properly prepared for the next phase.

Project life cycle phases provide additional benefits. The approach provides a structured approach for project delivery. Defined activities, outputs, and responsibilities create a clear and common roadmap for the project team to follow.

Defined phases and defined roles show a visible framework easily understood by all team members and stakeholders. Assignment of responsibilities by phase clarifies what the team should only be doing in each phase and helps streamline communication.

Working on projects phase by phase helps track and link progress directly to each phase. Completion of each phase is easily recognizable by all involved.

Another benefit of project management by phase is the progressive evolution of the project. This helps identify areas that need greater attention for a particular phase. It also marks clearly the points and opportunities for structured reviews to support project governance.

While PMBOK recommends assigning project phases according to a project’s life cycle, project teams can follow their own system depending on their industry, organizational policies, and other relevant factors. For example, teams and organizations focused on monitoring the usage of resources can use the critical chain project management methodology.

Read next: Key Project Management Terms and Concepts

Throughout the project lifecycle, there are a variety of tools that can be used to limit stress, automate workflows, and keep the project moving successfully. 

Gantt Charts

Gantt charts are a powerful planning tool that can help teams visualize individual deadlines against task dependencies and overall project progress. This type of chart can be especially useful early on in the project lifecycle, particularly the planning stage. 

Example of Gantt chart

Project Management Software

Project management software solutions are likely the most well-known tools in project management—and for good reason. Within one application, users can set task deadlines, view project overviews, extract data about project progress, automate workflows, and more. project management software

Collaboration Tools

Whether it’s a remote team, in-office, or a hybrid blend, collaboration is one of the most important elements of running a successful project. While some project management software solutions offer built-in collaboration tools, utilizing the power of other tools that are directly centered around team communication, such as Slack, can ensure the team has a central space to communicate updates. 

Slack's team chat features

Throughout the project lifecycle, the project manager takes ownership of the project and relays updates to team members. As each phase of the project progresses, the project manager will facilitate discussions, track progress, and address any roadblocks.

The project initiation phase is arguably the most important phase of the project lifecycle, as this is when the project is conceived and approved so that work can begin. During this phase, it’s common for a team to present a proposal in order to gain approval for the project.

Read more: Project Proposal with Template

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Responsible Leadership in Projects: A Literature Review

  • Conference paper
  • First Online: 21 May 2024
  • Cite this conference paper

project management life cycle literature review

  • Elisa Guardiani 14 ,
  • Edoardo Favari 14 &
  • Paolino Fierro 15  

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering ((LNCE,volume 493))

Included in the following conference series:

  • International Workshop “A Multidisciplinary Approach to Embrace Complexity and Sustainability in Megaprojects

The study aims to highlight the growing impact of responsible leadership in projects and temporary organizations, examining the existing literature on the subject to validate shared definitions and understand implications for project management goals and behaviors.

Responsible leadership has increasingly become a trending subject in academic literature over the last 20 years, especially given that many scandals in the business world have been traced back to ethical decision-making issues. The practical implications of responsible leadership in project management have only recently started to be studied and analyzed. Project managers often encounter various types of ethical issues related to transparency, relationships, optimization, and political or legal questions. However, there are currently few empirical studies on how these problems arise and are addressed.

After highlighting how ethical decision-making has gained prominence in recent years, this article seeks to review the existing literature on the subject and understand the meaning and impact of responsible leadership for project managers, team members, and stakeholders.

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Guardiani, E., Favari, E., Fierro, P. (2024). Responsible Leadership in Projects: A Literature Review. In: Cantoni, F., Corazza, L., De Nito, E., Di Nauta, P., Favari, E. (eds) Complexity and Sustainability in Megaprojects. MERIT 2023. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, vol 493. Springer, Cham.

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    Several of the papers in this literature review discussed project management education and practitioner development (⁎Berggren and Söderlund, 2008, ⁎Crawford et al., 2006, ⁎Louw and Rwelamila, 2012). Education is one of the main areas to address if we want to set RPM on the agenda and to imprint future and current project managers and ...

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    APPLYING A LIFE CYCLE APPROACH TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT METHODS David Biggins BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY - Poole, United Kingdom Høiby Anne Lene BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY - Poole, United Kingdom ... Boehm et al 2012). The literature underlines the need for organisations to change in order to survive with projects being used to facilitate change. As ...

  7. PDF Projects and Their Management: A Literature Review

    Although the understanding of what constitutes a project and what doesn't continues to be a topic of debate. This paper attempts to provide literature search on what is a project, its classification, characteristics, its life cycle, phases, tools etc. Keywords: Projects, Project Management Every one of us is a manager of projects!

  8. Life-Cycle Project Management: A Proposed Theoretical Model for

    Concurrent construction and life cycle project management. ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 12(4), 62-72. Crossref. Google Scholar. Jaafari A. (1998, August). ... Literature review . Administrative Traditions and the Anglo-American Democracies. Show details Hide details. B. Guy Peters. Public Sector Human Resource ...

  9. Project Management Methodologies: A Review of the Literature

    A project management methodology in simple terms is a "must-have" to avoid failure and reduce risks, because is one of the critical success factors, such basic skills of the management team. This is the simple way to guide the team through the design and execution phases, processes and tasks throughout the life cycle of project management.

  10. PDF Agile Project Management and Project Success: A Literature Review

    The agile project life cycle model [5] Agile Project Management and Project Success: A Literature Review 407. systems are not appropriate anymore for the complexity of today's projects. Williams [8] considers it necessary to have a project complexity definition to be able to cope with

  11. The Role of the Project Life Cycle (Life Span) in Project Management A

    Manpower, resources, and commitments transferred to other organizations. The Role of the Project Life Cycle in Project Management Page 5 of 22 In this table we see clear signs of the evolutionary nature of a project and the purpose of establishing a project life span model.

  12. PDF A systematic literature review concerning the different ...

    Keywords Sustainable project management · Systematic literature review · Sustainability · Project management JEL Classications M10 · M14 · O22 · Q01 · Q56 ... economic and social aspects of the life-cycle of the project's resources, processes, deliverables and eects, aimed at realising benets for stakeholders, and performed in a ...

  13. Sustainable Project Management: A Conceptualization-Oriented Review and

    Today, more than ever, achieving sustainability of business activities, intertwining social, economic, and environmental perspectives, is one of the most challenging objectives for companies. Project management processes are no exception. This paper aims to contribute to the current research knowledge through a systematic review of the literature on the integration of project management and ...

  14. Hybrid project management

    Abstract. Hybrid project management is an approach that combines traditional and agile project management techniques. The goal is to benefit from the strengths of each approach, and, at the same ...

  15. What Is The Project Life Cycle: The 5 Phases Explained

    The PMI (Project Management Institute) has defined these five project management process groups, or project management phases, which come together to form the project life cycle. Project Initiation. Project Planning. Project Execution. Project Monitoring & Controlling. Project Closure.

  16. PDF 2/1/04 The Role of the Project Life Cycle (Life Span) in Project

    The Role of the Project Life Cycle (Life Span) in Project Management A literature review by R. Max Wideman (Updated February, 2004.) Introduction Patel and Morris have stated that "The life cycle is the only thing that uniquely distinguishes projects from non-projects".1 If that is true, then it would be valuable to examine just what role the ...

  17. 5 Phases of Project Management Life Cycle

    Project phases are smaller portions of a project that represent distinct goals or milestones in the larger project lifecycle. Within the project lifecycle, there are 5 project phases, as defined by the Project Management Institute: Project Initiation. Project Planning. Project Execution. Project Monitoring and Control. Project Closure.

  18. Project risk management: A review of an institutional project life cycle

    This is article is a pragmatic desktop a nalysis of. institutional risk project management as a. requirement of institutional social transformation. and governance for the effective and efficient ...

  19. Sustainability in Project Management Practice: A Literature Review

    The intersection between sustainability and project management has received significant attention in literature. Organizations have come to acknowledge the importance of incorporating sustainable practices in their business operations, particularly through their projects. However, integrating sustainability concerns poses challenges, that require the development of methods, tools, and ...

  20. A systematic literature review concerning the different ...

    When reviewing the literature, it is obvious that various definitions of sustainable project management already exist. Tam (2010, p. 176) defines sustainable project management as "the promoting of positive and minimizing of negative sustainability impacts (economic; environmental; and social) within the process by which projects are defined, planned, monitored, controlled and delivered such ...

  21. PDF Sustainability in project management: A literature review and impact

    to project management. The emerging literature on this topic provides strong indications that considering sustainability impacts project management processes and practices. However, the standards for project management fail to address the sustainability agenda. This article provides a structured review of 164 publications, covering the

  22. Agile Project Management and Project Success: A Literature Review

    Abstract. Agile project management (APM) has recently emerged as a new and different way of managing projects. Some experts are already voicing the opinion that APM will become the project management of the 21st century. However, so far APM has not impacted project management as much as it should have. Its focus was mainly on IT projects.

  23. Projects and Their Management: A Literature Review

    Bristol- BS16 1QY, UK. Tel:+ 44-1 17-328-3461 E-mail: [email protected]. Abstract. Over the years and more importantly in the r ecent past projects have been used as a delivery. mechanism ...

  24. Sustainability in Project Management Practices

    The intersection between sustainability and project management has received significant attention as organizations recognize the criticality of incorporating sustainability practices into their projects. However, incorporating sustainability considerations presents some challenges, requiring the development and adoption of methods, tools and techniques tailored to address sustainability at the ...

  25. Atlassian Jira Reviews, Ratings & Features 2024

    2501 in-depth reviews from real users verified by Gartner Peer Insights. Read the latest Jira reviews, and choose your business software with confidence. ... (95 Reviews), in Collaborative Work Management (31 Reviews), in Resource Management Software (21 Reviews), in Marketing Work Management Platforms (1 Review) ...

  26. Responsible Leadership in Projects: A Literature Review

    1 Responsible Leadership as Research Topic in Literature. In the last 20 years, there has been a growing interest in the literature about Responsible Leadership, encompassing a combination of themes: from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), ethical issues in business, and ethical decision-making, to sustainability and stakeholder management.