What is the project life cycle?

PROJECT MANAGEMENT   |   2 minutes  |   March 16, 2017

If you’re involved in or associated with the project management industry, you will have heard the term “project life cycle” before. But perhaps you’re not sure what it looks like.

The project life cycle consists of 3 to 5 phases. Each phase requires a certain level of effort and recourses, and each is integral to successful project management. Taken together, these phases represent the path a project takes from concept to closure.

A project life cycle tends to follow:

  1. The project definition phase
  2. The project planning phase
  3. The project execution phase
  4. The project close-out phase

Watch this 1-minute video, where Patrick Browning, Head Tutor of the University of Cape Town Advanced Project Management online short course, takes you through what each phase means. You’ll cover concepts like this when you do an online project management course.

Ready to apply the project life cycle at an expert level and advance your skills and knowledge as a project manager?

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All projects can be broken down into distinct phases. Taken together, these phases comprise the project life cycle. The phasing of project related work is one method of managing the uncertainty that prevails in medium to large scale projects. A sizeable project usually consists of a minimum of 3 phases, usually 4 and sometimes 5. The project definition phase confirms what the project must deliver. The project planning phase is used to plan what must be delivered, and how it will be delivered. The project execution phase is where the greatest amount of effort, time and money is expended, in order to complete all the activities defined during the planning phase. The project close-out phase is where the final administrative tasks occur, and this is where the project is reviewed for learning purposes.