What Project and Development Lifecycle Is

Introduction to Project and Development Lifecycle in Project Management

In this article, I want to throw more light on project and development lifecycles that you need to adopt for managing your projects.


A project lifecycle can be defined as the series of phases that a project passes through from the beginning to the end of the project. The lifecycle itself provides a framework for managing a project in order to achieve a successful outcome for the project.


Also, the project(s) lifecycle can be predictive or adaptive in nature. Within any project lifecycle, we are likely to have one or more phases that are associated with the development of product, scope or result. These are what we refer to as project and development lifecycle.


The project and development lifecycle in a project can also be predictive, iterative, incremental, adaptive or a hybrid model.


Examining Project and Development lifecycle

In predictive lifecycles, the project scope, time and cost are determined in the early phase of the project lifecycle. Any changes to the scope are carefully managed by the Project Manager. Also, predictive lifecycle may also be referred to as Waterfall lifecycle.

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Also, In an iterative lifecycle, the project scope is generally determined early in the project but time and cost estimates are routinely modified as the project team’s understanding of the product itself increases.


Also, iterations develop the product through a series of repeated cycles, while increments successively add to the functionality of the product.


In an incremental lifecycle, the deliverable is produced through a series of iterations that successively add functionality within a predetermined time frame. Also, the deliverable contains the necessary and sufficient capability to be considered complete only after the final decision.


In an adaptive lifecycle also known as agile or incremental lifecycle, the detailed scope is defined and approved before the start of the project iteration. Adaptive or agile lifecycles are also known as change-driven lifecycles.


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A hybrid lifecycle is a combination of the predictive and adaptive lifecycle. Those elements of the project that are well known or have fixed requirements follow a predictive development lifecycle, and those elements that are still evolving follows an adaptive developmental lifecycle.


While looking at all the options that the project manager has to choose from in order to achieve successful outcomes, it is left for the project manager and his team to determine the best lifecycle for each project. The project lifecycle should be flexible to deal with a lot of factors relating to the project. This can be achieved through:


  • Identifying the process or processes needed to be performed in each phase of the project.
  • Performing the process or processes identified in the appropriate phase.
  • Adjusting the various attributes of phases in the project. Such attributes that can be adjusted include name, duration, criteria among others.


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You should also note that project lifecycles are different from product lifecycles which may be produced by a project. A product lifecycle is the series of phases that represent the evolution of a product from concept through delivery, growth, maturity, and retirement of a particular product.



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