Category Archives: Project Life Cycle

Project Life Cycle

Performing Project Management Life Cycle

Project Management Life Cycle Change Management

In this latest article, we’re discussed the topic of Change Management.

project management lifecycle is typically undertaken within changing business environments, so it’s inevitable that during the life of your project, there will be some element of change required. Whether a customer requests a change to their requirements, management request a change in priority or team members request a change in roles, you will need an effective Change Management Process to minimize the resulting impact on your project. So here, we have described:

How to implement a “Change Management Process”

Change Management is the process of monitoring and controlling changes within a project management life cycle. By managing the implementation of change, you can:

  • Reduce the impact of changes to the project
  • Identify new issues and risks as a result of changes raised
  • Ensure that changes do not affect the project’s ability to achieve its desired objectives
  • Control the cost of change within the project

Change Management is comprised of the following processes:

Step 1: Identify Changes

The first step in the change process is to identify the need for change. Any team member can suggest a change to the project, if he or she believes it is needed to keep the project producing deliverables to the customer’s specified requirements. After identifying a need for change, the team member records relevant information on a Change Request Form (commonly called a CRF), describing the change, and identifying drivers, benefits, costs and likely impact of the change on the project management life cycle. The CRF is forwarded to the Project Manager for review and approval.

Step 2: Review Changes

The Project Manager investigates the change to identify the reason for it and its impact. Then he or she decides whether it is critical to the successful delivery of the project. Changes which are not critical to project delivery should be avoided whenever possible to prevent “scope creep” (i.e. the gradual increase in scope throughout the Project Lifecycle).

If the change is deemed critical to success, the Project Manager either approves the request or seeks approval for the CRF raised. In some cases, the Project Manager has the direct authority to approval minor change requests; however, in most cases the Project Manager needs to seek CRF approval from the Project Board.

Step 3: Approve Changes

The Project Board reviews the details in the CRF to determine whether or not the change should be implemented. Based on the level of risk, impact, benefits and cost to the project, it may decide to decline, delay or approve the change request.

Step 4: Implement Changes

The Project Manager approves all changes, which are then are scheduled and implemented accordingly. After implementation, the Project Manager reviews the effects of the change on the project to ensure that it achieved the desired outcome, when the change is then closed in the Change Register.

Throughout the Change Management Process, the Project Manager can monitor and control changes to the project managemeny lifecycle by keeping this Change Register up-to-date.

There you have it. By completing these 4 steps, you can carefully monitor and control project changes, to increase your likelihood of success. If you would like to use a suite of templates to complete each of these activities quickly and efficiently, then read about the Change Management Kit. This kit includes all of the project management templates, forms and processes required to perform these steps efficiently. Learn more…

Project Life Cycle

Project Management Life Cycle Phase Reviews

Phase Reviews in the Project Management Life Cycle

As a Project Manager, would you like to review your project management life cycle to see if it’s on track?

At regular points during the Project Management Lifecycle, you’ll need to perform a formal project review (otherwise known as a stage gate review), to determine whether your project is on track. To help you do this, we’ve described how to:

How to Perform Project Reviews Efficiently

There are many ways that a project management life cycle can be reviewed to determine its current status. These include:

  • Quality Assurance & Control Reviews
  • Project Audits & Independent Reviews
  • Post Implementation Reviews
  • User Acceptance Reviews

But the most important type of project review is completed at the end of each project phase, it’s called a “Phase Review”.

A Phase Review is a formal review of the project undertaken by the Project Manager, to determine whether the project is currently on schedule, within budget and has generated all of the required deliverables to date. The results are documented in a Phase Review Form which is presented to the Project Board, to gain the approval to proceed to the next phase in the Project Lifecycle.

You need to complete a Phase Review at the end of each phase, to allow your board to determine whether your project has achieved its objectives to date and is ready to proceed to the next phase.

So how do I complete Project Phase Reviews? Here’s how to do it…

Step 1: Identify your Review Criteria

The first step is to identify the criteria that you’re going to review the project against. Examples of review criteria are:

  • Have the business benefits been defined?
  • Was the feasibility of the solution determined?
  • Is the project on schedule as per the Project Plan?
  • Is the project within budget as per the Financial Plan?
  • Has the project produced the required deliverables?
  • Have there been any substantial changes?
  • Are there any critical project risks?
  • Are there any high priority issues?

Step 2: Complete the Phase Review

Having defined your review criteria, you’re now ready to conduct your Phase Review, to determine whether the above criteria have been adequately satisfied. To perform the review, you will need to assess the project’s performance against the project plan, financial plan and quality plan. You will also want to check that all of the deliverables have been produced and that the quality targets have been met.

As well as determining whether the project is currently on-track, the review should also check that the project team have all of the resources needed to complete the project. For instance, if you need additional support, funding, people, equipment or materials, then this is the time to ask for it from your project board.

Step 3: Fill-in a Phase Review Form

You need 3 phase review forms at your disposal:

  • Initiation Phase Review Form
  • Planning Phase Review Form
  • Execution Phase Review Form

Complete the relevant form, depending on the phase you have just completed within your project. The form will help you to summarize the results of your phase review. You will need to clearly communicate the current status of your project, if you wish to obtain all of the resources needed to proceed to the next phase in the project lifecycle.

Step 4: Gain Approval to Proceed

As the Project Manager, you’ll then present your Phase Review Form at a board meeting held specifically to discuss the current status of the project and decide on its continuation. At this meeting, you will present:

  • The original project vision, objectives, scope and deliverables
  • The deliverables completed by the project to date
  • The progress of the project against the delivery dates
  • Any areas of slippage, in terms of time, cost and quality
  • Any key issues and risks that require attention

The Project Board will assess this information and reach one of the following conclusions:

  • Approve the project to proceed to the next phase
  • Request additional work be undertaken to complete this phase
  • Delay, transfer or close the project

Completing a Phase Review is a critical step in delivering a successful project, as it gives your Project Board more control and it helps you to share with them the responsibility for the delivery of the project.

By taking these 4 steps, you can ensure that your project progresses smoothly through each of the project management life cycle phases, with the full support of your Project Board.