Project Management Life Cycle and Its Phases

By Imran Syed

Last updated on Feb 2 2022

Project Management Life Cycle and Its Phases

Understanding Project Management Life Cycle

We all are aware that a Project has a clear beginning and a precise end. This makes it all the more essential to have a well-defined life cycle. Life cycle is useful in the creation of clear and time-bound entry and exit points through the phases of the project. It is a crucial part of the project development cycle.

The time-boxing of the stages helps ensure that we are on the right the right track and can deliver on time. One of the main goals of every project is keeping a healthy balance between the three constraints: Time, Cost and Quality. The more balanced the project, the more likely its success.

Whatever project you're working for, the project management cycle can help both you and your team members. It helps in narrowing the focus of the project and ensuring that its goals are in check. It is also pivotal by helping finish the project within the timeframe and on budget, with the least amount of unexpected events!

PMI is the world's biggest non-profit membership organization for professionals in the field of project management. It has established the highest standards for program, project, and portfolio management, and provides education and certifications. The highest level of accreditation from this association is called the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate.

Project Management life cycles are an organized framework of five phases of project management life cycle designed to aid project managers in finishing projects with success.

The main task of project managers is to develop a comprehensive knowledge of the stages of managing projects. Knowing and planning in accordance with the five Project Management life cycles provide steps that will help you organize your projects to ensure that they run smoothly without a hitch. This basic project life cycle definition illustrates how logical it is to have one.

It is much easier for an experienced project manager to handle all of the details that are currently involved in the project when it is divided into different phases. Each phase is goal-oriented and comes with specific attributes and features. It also contains the products deliverables that will be reviewed towards the conclusion of the project management life cycles. It is often illustrated in the form of a project life cycle diagram in order to make it easier to follow.

In accordance with the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), Project Management life cycles must be able to define the following elements:

  • What tasks must be done?
  • Who will take part in the team?
  • What are the deliverables of the project?
  • How can you assess how each stage is performing?


A life cycle of project management as described within the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) by the Project Management Institute (PMI) comprises of five stages. The project life cycle consists of these five stages which divide up the project into easily achievable smaller steps to aid the project completion.

 Five Phases of Project Management Cycles

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


Initiation in Project Management Life Cycle

Project Initiation is the primary Project Management life cycles phase in which the project begins. It gives an outline of the plan and the methods required to achieve the desired outcomes. This is the stage where the viability and value of the project is determined. It is a crucial part of the project life cycle 5 phases.

The project manager starts the meeting by analyzing the stakeholders and clients' needs and goals. It is crucial to dig deep into the smallest details in order to comprehend what the plan is. Once you have made a decision to move forward with the project, it can proceed to the next stage and that is to put together the team of project participants. It is important to pay heed to these project life cycle phases chronologically to get the best out of it.

Project Management Lifecycles kick off with the vital Phase of Initiation.The entire basis of why you should be developing/delivering a product, service or an event is formed with the Project Initiation.

It is vital to know the fact that a project manager must be properly appointed to the project. This is also a sign of executive intention.In a sense, he's the primary resource allocated for the task.

The project manager should determine the business argument for the project and make sure that the outcomes are aligned with the strategic goals of the company. Also has to create the initial budget and timeline as well as involve the important stakeholders, sponsors, and identify the team members to work on the project when the business plan is accepted. While learning the technical aspects of the topic is important, it would do well to come up with project life cycle examples to better understand the concept for oneself.

Project Charter is considered to be the most crucial document for any project since it includes:

  • Vision and mission of the business
  • Benefits and goals of the project
  • List of stakeholder
  • What is the scope Project
  • Project deliverables
  • The project is not without risk.
  • Budget for project and resources


Start the process of managing projects by identifying the project's objectives and deliverables

Begin by speaking with your clients or stakeholders to learn about their requirements. Try to find out the things that matter to them, the projects they've worked on in the past, and what they'd like for in the coming years.

Then you can proceed to develop the concrete goals and deliverables your team will be accountable for in accordance with the nature of the project and the resources available.

It is important to record the key takeaways you learned from these initial meetings you'll be required to keep an outline of the agreed-upon deliverables at the closing stage of your project.


Outline project limitations, risks, dependencies, and priority

After you've identified the goals of your project at a high level then it's time to consider all the factors that could affect the success of your project, which includes:

  • Risks: Factors that can negatively affect the costs, timeline, goals, or results of the project.
  • Dependencies: Relationships with tasks, activities.
  • Limitations: Limiting factors like technology, resources, time, and costs.

If you are able to identify these issues early on, you can cut off a lot of issues early, before they disrupt the entire timetable for the project.

The structured risk breakdown similar to the one shown below can assist in identifying and evaluating every risk that you face in your venture.The risk breakdown is an organizational representation of risks, beginning with the most important risks, and later breaking it down into smaller risks.It is a crucial instrument for managing project risk.


Project Feasibility Study 

Before an executive is able to give the green light for an initiative that could cost hundreds of thousands, it is likely that they'll want to conduct an analysis of feasibility. It is a part of agile project life cycle. What exactly is a feasibility study within project management life cycles? It helps determine if the project will succeed at all. It's usually conducted before the first steps are initiated in any project, which includes making plans. It is perhaps the most significant element in determining whether the project is able to proceed. The study determines the project's market (if relevant) and highlights the main goals of the project and outlines potential roadblocks and suggests alternative solutions and also considers the time , budget, legal and manpower requirements to decide whether the venture feasible and also beneficial for the business to take on.  It is one of the most pivotal steps of project development life cycle.

While project managers might have a different role in who conducts their feasibility studies, they could provide crucial guidelines once the project begins. Managers of projects can make use of the feasibility study to gain a better understanding of the project's parameters, the business goals, and risk factors that are in play. This would be considered to be a part of project management initiation phase.

Learn how to conduct project feasibility study in seven steps


Five Different kinds of Project Feasibility Studies

This should not be confused with project management's 5 phases. The technical resources utilized by the business should be inspected. This helps businesses determine the technical resources that are adequate to accomplish the task, and whether the technical team is able to execute the plans.To determine the technical viability of a system, factors such as the hardware, software and other technical requirements that could arise are considered.

  • Technically competent resources are readily available. Having the appropriate mixture of resources assigned on the job is essential.A real skills mapping of the requirements is conducted to ensure that all the resources that have the required skills are in place to perform the tasks of the project.
  • The required technologies are in place: We must determine and review the appropriate technology, including software and hardware and equipment licenses, approvals from regulatory authorities when applicable, etc.are in place to complete the project.

Economic Possibilities

When determining the economic viability it is important to take into account the these aspects:

  • The sponsors should have sufficient amounts of capital to invest in: If we do have enough technology and resources We must make the needed investments to keep the resources.It is vital for us to get the support of the sponsor for the implementation of the project.The absence of funds can cause delay in the project and/or failure. A costs-benefit evaluation of the proposed project is often included in this report and helps businesses evaluate the feasibility of the project as well as its cost and benefits prior to investing funds.This also acts as an impartial evaluation of the project to improve the credibility of the project by helping decision makers identifies the positive economic advantages to the business.

Legal Possibility

The business must be in compliance with all relevant regulatory and statutory requirements and regulations

  • Protection of data or social media laws: It must be confirmed that no privacy laws governing data are infringed, e.g. when dealing with sensitive data projects. Any associated non-disclosure agreements etc. should be carefully scrutinized and implemented for the undertaking.
  • Zonal laws: If we plan to build a mall in the area, we have to be sure that the zone is granted the necessary permissions to construct malls. A feasibility study could determine that the location of the company's dream isn't zoned for this type of business.

The assessment will determine the possibility that any part of the project is in violation of any rules, for example, the laws governing zoning, data protection laws or social media law. Let's take an instance that a company wants to construct an office building in an exact site. A feasibility study might reveal that the proposed location for the company isn't a suitable location specifically for the type of business.

Operational Potential

This type of assessment requires an investigation to analyze and find out if and how much the company benefits from completing the project. Operational feasibility studies are also a way to determine the ways in which a plan of action can meet the requirements defined in an analysis stage. The process involves researching to determine if -- and in what way the project plan can satisfy the requirements of the company. Operational feasibility studies analyze how a plan is in line with the specifications set in the requirement analysis phase. Implementing the project can rely heavily on understanding the operational potential and therefore it is crucial in context of project management life cycles.

Scheduling Possibility

This is the most vital factor for success of the project. Since the project could fail if it's not completed in time, in determining feasibility of scheduling we estimate the amount of time it will take to finish and also, we must determine whether we've the estimated time needed to put into the project.

The scheduling of feasibility assessments is essential to the success of a project; after all, the venture is likely to be a failure if it's not completed in time. The company estimates the time frame it will take to complete the project when planning feasibility.

After all of these variables have been considered, a feasibility study can assist in identifying the potential constraints to the project for example:

  • The constraints to internal projects include financial, technological and resource limitations.
  • Marketing, export, financial and other corporate limitations.
  • Environment, logistics legislation and regulations and many more are external limitations.


Project Charter

A project charter should be an elevator pitch that outlines your project's goals, objectives, scope and the project's responsibility to gain approval from the key stakeholders of your project. In the document you must give a brief, concise description of the major components of your project before you start. If you create a project charter prior to starting other, more detailed document of project planning it is possible to get the approval, or even course-correction if required. It is one of the crucial stages of project cycle.

An organizational chart is just one of many tools for planning your project that you can make.It's a good way to compare it to other components of planning for projects.

Vision: It is essential to have a clear understanding of the scope of your project.Define each deliverable the project will create.After you've got all of them in order you'll have a firm footing on your plan and now ready to take the next step.

Organize: When creating the structure of your charter there are 4 subsets that you're going to need to recognize.These include end users/customers stake holders, stakeholders, and roles.You must now define the lines of reporting that connect these different roles within the project.Utilize a chart of the project's organization to accomplish this.

Implementation: After vision and structure are established, we have to create a strategy to implement the vision and structure.When implementing, a plan must keep three factors in mind: Milestone dependencies as well as resources.We will discover more about this during the Initiation module.


Most Popular and High Paying project Management Certifications:

PMP® Certification

CAPM® Certified Associate Project Management

PRINCE2® Foundation Practitioner

PgMP® Exam Prep training



Project Team

The team of project managers comprises the project manager as well as the group of people working together to accomplish its goals. It includes members of the manager for project, management team, and others who may not be directly involved in the managing but are involved in the duties that are related to the project. The team is comprised of members from various teams who have a thorough understanding of the subject or the necessary expertise to complete the tasks for the undertaking. The structure and character of a team in a project usually differ, but the job of the project manager as leader of the team is in place. At this point we can deem to have arrived at project management planning phase.

The amount and type of authority that the project manager holds over his members

The majority of project teams are employed for a specific duration. They are disbanded when the project has been deemed to be complete. Because of the particular formation and disbandment, teams for project work typically are part of organizations. A good team is require to execute any of the required phases of the project management life cycles.

Teams in charge of projects need the appropriate mix of abilities as well as personality types to be successful in collaboration.


Project Type

It is important to know the requirements, nature and resources needed to complete the successful execution of the job.It is important to determine whether this project will be manual heavy or one that requires the highest IQ and abilities.Also, we must be aware of whether such a project was ever undertaken by the company and how well-established it is.


Project Sponsor

A project's sponsor acts as the driving force and champion in-house and champion of the program. He is vested in the outcome for the undertaking. They usually belong to the senior management team - people who have an interest in the final outcome of the project. They work in close collaboration with project managers. They establish the goals of the project and take part in top-level project planning. Additionally, they frequently help solve conflicts and get rid of obstacles that arise throughout the course of the project. They also give their approval required to move forward to each phase. It is important to get the project sponsor on board because they can influence any of the parts of the project management life cycles.

Project sponsor duties:

  • Take key business decisions regarding the project
  • Approve the budget for the project
  • Make sure resources are available
  • Share the goals of the project across the entire company



Having knowledge of project management life cycles can be instrumental in helping navigate through various stages of project life cycle. In this ever-fast-moving world of modern technologies and corporate workspace, it is pertinent that one keeps themselves updated in order to stay relevant. Learning project management phases as a part of getting your PMP certification is vital as it adds to the skill set of an able project manager. The role of project life cycle in project management cannot be overstated. It is important to learn this from a reliable source and not be dependent on some project management cycle PDF which you find online. While it is important to get a certification in this regard, it is equally crucial to scrutinize where you obtain the certification from. Getting your PMP certification done from an accredited and well reputed platform, like Sprintzeal, can help add value on top of your certification. It is pertinent to remember that a project life cycle is not learnt and dealt with just for the sake of a work project, but as a way of leading all life projects. Indeed following the project life cycle model can help improve various facets of our professional and personal lives.

Think of this as your project management execution phase and sign-up on Sprintzeal to get PMP certified and gain a new credential to enhance your project management career.

To get full details about the best project management certifications, chat with course expert

About the Author

Sprintzeal   Imran Syed

Having 15+ years of experience in facilitating professional training for clients - Onsite and Public, Imran Syed’s expertise includes both creating content and conducting training for professionals aspiring to get certification in their respective fields. His works are focused on popular project management certifications like PMP, CAPM, PRINCE2, and more.

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