IT Project Life Cycle

An IT project provides an IT solution to a business problem/opportunity; it should have defined objectives, named deliverables, and a unique endeavor.  The project needs a start date, a target finish date, and a defined budget and resources.  The IT project management is usually guided by a methodology framework based on four key life cycles.  These project life cycles intersect and overlap one another throughout a project:

1. Project Management Life Cycle
2. Project Approval Life Cycle
3. Procurement Life Cycle
4. System Development Life Cycle

Each life cycle touches a key aspect of a project. These life cycles ensure repeatable processes with extensible sets of artifacts for each major set of activities.  Lifecycles are defined as follows:

Project Management Life Cycle – articulates the stages and key tasks that are a part of all projects regardless of the end product.

Project Approval Life Cycle – articulates the key tasks in seeking approval to initiate a project and to receive the funding/resources needed.

Procurement Life Cycle – articulates the stages and key tasks of projects where goods and/or services will be purchased from vendors and includes executing the procurement plan.

System Development Life Cycle – articulates the phases and key tasks involved in building the end product of the project. Any number of Software Development Life Cycles (SDLCs) can be used.

The sum total of these tasks and activities does not follow a simple linear path. Combined, the four disciplines with their unique set of activities provide clear checkpoints. Documentation requirements (also referred to as artifacts) associated with these disciplines facilitate the minimization of risk while maximizing the multidisciplinary project teams’ attention on creating value for the organization.

Software development projects touch upon all these areas. Any methodology in alignment with the Project Management Institute (PMI) standards incorporates repeatable processes and artifacts for all activities in the framework. The goal is to prevent Project Managers and their teams from reinventing the wheel and to assist them in becoming successful and effective in implementing IT projects. The rigor and thoroughness of a well thought out methodology mapped to these life cycles enables the Project Manager to focus attention on monitoring and controlling.

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