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Project Management Life Cycle


Project management as a function has its own distinct processes typified by the life cycle chart.

Planning is erroneously perceived as a phase in project management. This would be true only if one could freeze the change on all five-project variables (time, scope, quality, resources, budget). Under such a scenario, projects can be planned once, up front and the outcome (the project plan) followed to the completion of the project. Since this is rare if not quite impossible in real life, it does make sense to say that where there is change there is a definite need to revamp the project plan to incorporate or deflect the changes, thus reflecting reality. In other words, planning is an iterative process, which is on going through out the life of the project. The format and degree of detail in planning is a function of the size and complexity of the project and the degree of control required.

During the execution process, monitoring project performance is crucial to the project. It represents the vehicle for capturing progress, measuring variances and change through out the life of the project. Proper project management requires the development and implementation of project specific monitoring processes and procedures to be utilized when managing a project.

Control is the decision making mechanisms available in an Organization that can be brought to bear on a project to address problems and issues as they arise to insure a successful delivery of the project goals and objectives. Control can be established utilizing a combination of specific formal and non-formal meetings (status, progress reporting and product reviews etc.). 

Closing the project includes a set of policies and procedures that need to be defined to close a project, archive it and obtain end user acceptance and sign off.

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For the purpose of making these calculations, I will use an hypothetical project example (but it could also be a task or phase). "A company has contracted a service provider to deliver a project in 10 working days (80 hours) for the estimated cost of $10,000 and a work effort of 200 hours. The contract is Time and Material, this means that the company pays the provider for the number of hours actually required to perform the service. So, the provider has no incentive to minimize the number of hours expended on the service. The less efficient the provider is, the more money it makes!"
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The term weighted average means that the equation uses weighted factors to calculate the expected task duration.
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