Having a deep understanding of the various stages of the project and career lifecycle is important when it comes to developing new project. Knowing the stages helps in computing the feasibility and viability of a new project.
You will be better able to answer these questions:
- Is it worth developing this project?
- Will it survive in the market?
- If it does survive, when can we expect to make money off of it?
Typically, in an agile project lifecycle, a project manager can run a series of small experiments to get answers to these questions. Here are some reasons why the project lifecycle is important.
Estimation, Planning, And Forecasting
Once you’ve decided that a project is feasible and that it is worth going ahead with, then comes the next stage: project planning and forecasting. This is where in-depth knowledge of the project lifecycle can assist in making plans and preparing forecasts for revenue, margins, market size, and customer base.
There is a school of thought that says that all this planning is in vain since no one has a clue about whether a project will succeed. However, the very act of working on a project roadmap by planning, estimation, and forecasting forces a project manager to think hard, ask difficult questions, and examine hidden assumptions that are unaddressed. Forewarned is forearmed.
Additionally, I don’t know of a single executive leadership team in any organization that has approved large project budgets relying only on the project manager’s say-so and hunches, so it is a necessary exercise anyway.
Personally, I always prefer an appointment with my dentist to a budget approval process, but if you come across such an executive team, be sure to let me know! I’ve taken a large sip of my elixir of immortality, just in case.
Marketing Planning And Approach
Different stages of the project lifecycle require specific marketing approaches. For instance, in the introduction phase, customers have no clue about the project, so marketing needs to introduce the project to potential customers and educate them about its benefits.
During the maturity phase of the project, marketing primarily relies on project differentiation to promote sales. When projects approach end-of-life, discounts and rebates are often offered which attract customers who would not otherwise have bought that project.
Communication Between Teams
project management requires a multidisciplinary approach including design, engineering, marketing, sales, and support just to name a few. Working with multiple teams invariably brings about the challenge of communication and coordination.
The benefit of the project management lifecycle is that it allows all teams to work with a unified paradigm so that it is easier to coordinate for success.
Concurrent Project Development
All projects reach the end-of-life phase. Therefore, it is important for companies to have a pipeline of concurrent projects to ensure that they maintain or increase levels of revenue and market share.
At the same time, it is important to ensure that new projects do not cannibalize existing ones. The project management lifecycle helps to synchronize project development to optimize the life of each project in its project portfolio.
Product Lifecycle vs. Project Lifecycle
There is often confusion about the difference between the product lifecycle and the project lifecycle. I’ll attempt to clear some of the confusion around this topic:
- A project is defined as an endeavor undertaken to create a service, product, or result. The project lifecycle has a definite beginning and end with a clearly defined scope and resources.
- The objectives of the project lifecycle and the product lifecycle are quite different. A project is used to achieve a pre-defined outcome that may or may not be a product.
- The product lifecycle may use many projects to achieve its goals, but the reverse is usually not true.