Extensible classic ‘control-oriented project lifecycle’ that incorporates project steering, project management and workstream processes. 10 min read.
Project Lifecycle Model
Shown below is a classic ‘control-oriented project life-cycle,
- Product Control: Lifecycle acting on the product, i.e., the deliverable of the project.
- Project Control: Lifecycle acting on the project, i.e., the processes of making it deliverable.
This model reinforces the need to check that,
- The product that is being made fulfils its specifications all along the implementation phase.
- The project progresses satisfactorily to get the deliverable on-time and on-budget.
This model also highlights that the risks associated with the product (related to the product specification) and those associated with the project (related to the materialisation of the product) should be handled differently because their consequences concern different project phases.
Project Lifecycle Framework
An overlay to this simple model involves consideration of the following,
- Project Steering ‘Tollgate’ Process
- Project Management Process
- Project Workstreams
Project Steering Process
To move from one project lifecycle phase to another project, tollgates are used. A tollgate is a formal, planned, and predefined decision point where the Steering Committee and Project Sponsor make a decision regarding the direction of the project and its use of approved resources.
At each tollgate, the project’s expected value is assessed in relation to the risks. Based on this assessment, it’s decided how much will be invested in the project (or its next phase) and the conditions for this investment.
Based on the business risk and opportunity understanding, tollgates involve making one of the following decisions,
- Close the project down.
- Continue according to current plans.
- Change the scope or conditions of the project.
Project Management Process
Project management involves the planning, scheduling, execution, and control of project activities to achieve performance, cost, and time objectives for a given scope of work, while using resources efficiently and effectively.
For simple projects, project management may cover an entire project while for larger and more complex projects, project management may only cover the current phase, with the information of the current phase feeding and refining the subsequent phases.
The management of a project follows the Deming PDCA cycle, i.e.,
Project Work Streams
Project work streams reflect the work of the different teams involved in delivering a product and the lifecycle they follow to produce a tangible deliverable. Not all work streams are required across all project phases with some work streams e.g. business analysis being favoured more in the definition phase than during execution.
An important criterion is identifying and managing cross workstream dependencies, where the output of one workstream is used as an input to another workstream, which is then transformed into a new output that has intrinsic value to the project.
Workstreams are controlled using milestones which defines an agreed outcome for a given time and cost. The monitoring of which is used to identify project progress, status, and performance. Milestones are supported by Work Package Scope statements that defines the likely work that needs to be performed, which is then used by the team to report weekly progress and issues.
Successful projects require a project culture based on a common terminology and project methodology with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that are common to the organisation. While each project is unique, structuring your project using the above framework will help set you up for success.
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