Brief Introduction to Project Life Cycle And Organizational Structures
Project life cycle:
It gives us an outline of the project and the various stages of development the project goes through.
The life cycle consists of phases.
The end of each phase is marked by achievement of a milestone or completion of a deliverable.
A deliverable is a unique and verifiable product of work undertaken within a phase which has to be
reviewed by the sponsor or client upon completion.
A review of performance is held after each phase ends to determine whether the project will go on or be
terminated and to correct any defects in the work done up to that point.
Phase end points are called decision gates, stage gates, milestones etc.
In a Sequential Relationship, when one phase is complete, the next phase may begin. In an Overlapping
Relationship, the next phase may begin before the previous phase is completely finished. In an Iterative
Relationship, which is useful for largely undefined projects, the planning for the next phase occurs
during the current phase. Note that a project may have more than one of these relationships. For
example, the early phases may have been performed sequentially, but due to falling behind schedule,
later phases will be overlapped.
Project stakeholders are individuals or organizations (e.g., customers, sponsors, performing organization
or public) who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests maybe positively or negatively
affected as a result of project execution or successful project completion.
Primary/internal stakeholders are directly involved in the implementation and the development of the
project or are affected directly by its failure or success. They are legally or contractually committed to
Secondary/External stakeholders are indirectly affected by the success or failure of a project and are not
involved in the implementation or development of the project that is they are not legally or
contractually committed to the project.
An organization is defined as the structure and process by which a cooperative group of human beings
allocates its tasks among its members, identifies relationships and integrates its activities towards
Three types of organizational structures:
In this type, an organization is structurally divided into segments with each segment performing
a certain function.
Advantages: division of project work is relatively easier since the organization is already divided
into functional units, also no change in organizational structure is necessary, functional
employees have a permanent home base where they can maintain their normal career paths.
Disadvantages: Functional units may lack coordination, each unit assigns high priority to its own
role and does not take into account priorities of other units, No individual has full responsibility
of the work so there is no one to take proper accountability of the project.
In this type, an organization is divided into segments with each segment handling a different
project than the other.
Advantages: Priorities of each segment are clear, coordination between segments not necessary
A combination of the aspects of a P and F org.
FM has power over staff and makes important decisions regarding proj. work and PM is
usually a coordinator between units or project expeditor.
Both FM and PM have a say over important matters. FM is responsible for assigning
work to staff of his unit and PM is responsible for ensuring the project abides by the
3. Strong /project:
PM has final say over all important aspects of the project and all FMs report to him on
progress of the proj.
Easy sharing of resources and reduction in
Unhealthy competition among PMs over sharing of
Personnel have opportunities of growth within
their functional unit
Dual reporting by personnel can be stressful if PM
and FM have conflicts of interest
Proper accountability of project given to PM in
Conflicts between FMs and PMs may be damaging
Leadership: High commitment to the vision of the proj. , take accountability of the project’s success or
failure, willing to take risks
Communication: Information exchange , external and internal, formal or informal
Negotiations: Able to persuade people to work or invest, establish a dialogue between stakeholders and
able to encourage an amicable agreement.
Problem solving: Identifies problems and makes decision to solve them
Influencing: Identifies stakeholders and influences them to bring about events that lead to a project’s