Project Life Cycle Phases

 Life Cycle of Project

project life cycle

In every project, the work progresses go through four phases, namely Conceptualization, Design, Execution (or construction) and Finish (C-D-E-f). The different domains many address these phases by different nomenclature, For example, in the software industry. Conceptualization phase may be termed as Requirements Gathering phase; phase may be termed as System Design phase; Execution phase may be termed as Coding and Testing phase; and Finishing phase may be termed as System Implementation phase.

Let’s discuss these phases in detail:

Conceptualization: In this phase, the problem statement is defined, and a solution is conceptualized that can solve the given problem. In other words, the requirements are defined by the business stakeholders, and the project team conceptualizes the solution that can meet these requirements.

Take the case of a software package being developed. The 'Business Analyst' understands the business needs of the software, the features and functionalities that need to be a part of the solution to conceptualize the application logic, process flow, etc.

Another example could be of an architect conceptualizing what a building should look like, based on the requirements given by the owner of the proposed building.

Design: On the basis of the concept created during the previous phase, detailed design of the solution is developed in this phase.

In case of the software, on the basis of the requirements given by the stakeholder, system design is performed detailing each component of user interface layer, application logic layer, and database layer Server and bandwidth capacities for the proposed system are also designed. Thus, in this phase, specifications are released.

These become the basis of system to be implemented and procurement of system components to be done.

In case of the building, on the basis of the drawings and the models created by the architect, structural designers detail out the foundation size, columns, beams, slab sizing, etc. As a result, detailed design of every component is developed because this drawing will become the basis of construction work and needs to be precise and complete.

Execution (or Construction): Based on the detailed design of the component, construction of the project deliverable is started. In other words, during this phase, the deliverable of the project is created.

In case of the software, coding work begins here. The developers create the various modules as per the design, and the testers perform the various types of test to ensure things are made as per the design.

In case of the building, the civil engineers, contractors, masons, carpenters, painters, electricians, etc. work together to construct the building as per the detailed design. The work is checked during the construction to ensure every component is being built as per the design.

Finish: In this phase, the deliverables are finalized and made ready to be handed over to operations. For instance, the software is tested for functionality and bugs during User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Building is inspected by local legal bodies for adherence to the norms and standards of safety, facility, etc. and declared fit for occupancy.

Every project has to go through these four phases for completing the work to be done in the project, but a bit of issue can arise in the clarity of requirements and availability of funding or willingness of the stakeholders to go the whole hog at a time without being aware of the workability of the business idea. Let's look at the following cases, which represent the different models of projects, and understand how the project needs to be carried out in different ways in each of them.

1) A building is to be constructed where requirements are completely clear and fixed. Since the requirements are pre-determined upfront, the project can further be carried out in a predictable manner. The life cycle or model used for such a project is called predictive model.

The software industry refers this model as Waterfall model.

2) A banking software is being built, in which new functionality may be required to be added every 3 to 4 months, but what these functionalities are, is not clear in the beginning and will emerge as users become accustomed to the software, and request more features and functionality.

In such a case, you can predict what is to be done only up to a certain point in the life cycle of the project. The clarity emerges after some time. Such projects are built in an iterative manner. In the first iteration, the solution is conceptualized on the basis of the requirements conceived at that point in time. Designing is done accordingly. This functionality is built, tested and put into production. After some time, the user demands some additional features. Then, the whole cycle is repeated in the second iteration, and the third and so on. The same product is enhanced in functionality as and when more requirements emerge.

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