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Project Life Cycle - Essay Example

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According to Project Management Institute "a project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service."[1] Patel and Morris have stated, "The life cycle is the only thing that uniquely distinguishes projects from non-projects." [2]
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Project Life Cycle
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Project Life Cycle

The Project Manager requires various general management skills[4] during the different phases of the project.
Initiation and Scope Definition, comprises determination and negotiation of requirements, feasibility analysis, and process for the review and revision of requirements. Planning follows and includes process planning, determining deliverables, effort, schedule and cost estimation, resource allocation, risk management, quality management, and plan management.
The project manager's role is to verify the requirements, bring in the experts and revalidate requirements and technical feasibility. He needs to baseline the requirements, cost, schedule, and quality of delivery to the smallest detail, thus setting up a solid framework to start work on the project. This phase is critical because unless requirements are set and baselines are defined, the project cannot take off.
The project manager needs negotiating skills, estimation and scheduling skills as well as, team building capabilities that help set the base for delivering a project of required quality at a realistic budget.
In the Development phase, implementation of plans, supplier contract management, implementation of measurement process, monitor process, control process, and reporting and the various tasks in an IT project.
It should be noted that although project objectives have been defined, there may surface problems when the actual developments are taking place. This will require the project manager and stakeholder to negotiate change requests that will continue the development of the project smoothly.
About sixty percent of the project life cycle is done during the development phase and internal testing phase where the development team tests the application internally. This phase needs to be on schedule in order that the project deadline is met.
The project manager needs good controlling skills to keep the work going and good negotiation skills to handle change requests as well as risk management skills in order that risk are mitigated. Also he needs to be able to keep the energy flowing and the team unified and happy to enable milestones to be met.
The Implementation phase
The project now moves into the Implementation phase where the IT tasks are Review and Evaluation, which includes the topics of determining satisfaction of requirements and reviewing and evaluating performance. The developed IT application is now deployed or implemented in the client's environment and tested using their parameters. The application is User accepted and then deployed either as a pilot mode or as a full launch.
The project manager needs good negotiating skills in case some major fixes or "bugs" as per IT jargon arises during the transition since he needs to go back to client when budgets are almost over. Often the teams are all tired and are anxious to get the project over with and move on. Keeping up the morale to see the project to completion becomes imperative, and if the project manager is a good team player that really helps.
The Closeout phase
In the closeout phase, the tasks include determining closure and closure activities. The application is running smoothly and the production-support team has taken over. The development team is released. The project manager now documents the project for future reference as well as writes up a lessons-learnt document.
In summary, a good project manager is ... Read More
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