Understanding the Phases of Project Management Life Cycle with Flowcharts

“First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” ~ Aristotle

The Project Management Life Cycle represents a framework that allows skilled personnel to manage any type of project. This form of management is vital because it drives the attainment of productive outcomes, reduces the scope of wastage from any project, co-ordinates the actions of various stakeholders, drives an adherence to timelines, and frames the successful closure of a project. In modern times, a Project Management Life Cycle operates through five phases; these include concept and initiation, definition and planning, launch or execution, performance and control, and closure of project. In this context, we may regard the flowchart diagram as an ideal tool to map the Project Management Life Cycle and examine its constituent parts, their interactions, and the outcomes thereof.

The heavily visual nature of the modern flowchart allows designers to visually describe the components of the Project Management Life Cycle. The first phase in said lifecycle pertains to the conception and initiation of a certain project. Ergo, designers must input the objectives, purpose, scope, and a draft schedule into this phase of the illustration. This section of the illustration may emerge as a preface to the master diagram; it may manifest in the form of a series of planned actions, each of which branches into sub-stages that delineate a variety of preparatory actions. The various stakeholders of the Project Management Life Cycle must participate in the creation of this sub-illustration and volunteer inputs that make for a robust first phase. Intelligent designers may seek inputs from veteran project planners as part of their efforts to effect an inclusive vision.

Further to the above, project leaders working on an illustration that defines Project Management Life Cycle must locate the intrinsic value offered by the successful completion of a certain project. This value must find prominent representation across multiple stages of the project initiation phase. It acts as a catalyst and a validator that justifies the business case for initiating a certain project. Therefore, designers must work to position multiple place holders that describe the value from different perspectives. In addition, this section of the Project Management Life Cycle flowchart gains greater heft when stakeholders of every hue provide inputs into its formation. For instance, business managers and project associates may offer certain inputs that elevate the quality of this primary stage of the Project Management Life Cycle. These inputs gain extra value when we consider their potential to provide an added impetus to the rationale underlying the master illustration.

The definition and planning stage of the Project Management Life Cycle offers enormous scope to conduct a granular examination of the moving parts of a certain project. This phase, when depicted inside a flowchart diagram, can depict the scope and budget of a project, a schedule that depicts the breakdown of work to be assigned and completed, a communications plan, paradigms of risk management, etc. Designers can work to allocate specific duties to a range of stakeholders; this can emerge in the form of a distribution image that informs readers about who, what, where, when, which, and why of work allocation. This section of the Project Management Life Cycle diagram must also project a detailed image in terms of budgets required to complete assigned tasks. The source of such monies, the frequency of payment cycles, and any audit requirements must figure prominently inside this section of the Project Management Life Cycle diagram. Further, the outlines of strategic planning and implementation planning must echo in this section of the master illustration.

Risk management represents a contentious aspect in flowcharts that feature Project Management Life Cycle. Some experts hold the view risk management requires an entirely different diagram that examines the topic from different points of view. Other, meanwhile, contend this aspect must be clearly integrated into master illustrations that describe a Project Management Life Cycle. In any case, risk management mechanisms must identify factors that may disrupt an envisaged project, develop an assessment and analysis of the probability of risk and its impact, create a mitigation program that deals with various risk profiles, and outline the contours of an ongoing risk management program. In addition, veteran project management experts recommend various mechanisms to measure, manage, and monitor risks as these emerge during the progress of Project Management Life Cycle. These factors, when positioned inside a flowchart, instruct readers and project stakeholders on the importance of risk mitigation and its centrality in ensuring the successful attainment of project objectives.

Execution is a critical part of the Project Management Life Cycle and exerts a direct impact on the outcomes of a project. This phase can find depiction in the form of a waterfall; this implies a sequence of vertically stacked stages that delineate the various inputs and activities that power successful execution. For instance, a retail industry operator may fashion an execution roadmap that includes designing the types of retail branches, cement the outlines of a channel strategy, deploy skilled personnel to execute said strategy, analyze and resolve various issues pertaining to project investment, drive strategies to recover the monies invested in a certain retail project, leverage opportunities for business expansion, etc. These stages must find clear representation in the Project Management Life Cycle in the interests of driving momentum while preserving a modicum of control on the part of stakeholders that steward a project. Further to this, project managers must exert their faculties to manage various metrics (such as time, costs, quality, change, communications, and procurement). The skillful management of these metrics heightens the chances of success in Project Management Life Cycle.

An evaluation of project performance is necessary when we assess the success of a Project Management Life Cycle. Diagrams that depict performance must hinge on multiple factors such as benchmarking, the outcome of a measurement program, lead indicators, improvements registered in process performance, efficiency metrics, movement toward goals and objectives, etc. Such diagrams may emerge as a sequence of activities etched in multiple directions inside the expanse of a flowchart. We note effort invested in a project and the tracking of costs represent key elements inside such flowcharts. In addition, the performance of conflict resolution mechanisms must inform and underlie efforts designed to assess project performance.

Project closure follows the stage described in the above paragraph. This stage represents the terminal point of the Project Management Life Cycle wherein project managers may conduct meetings that identify the achievements, strong points, and issues related to under-performance in the course of executing a modern project. Flowchart designers may elect to deploy free hand styles to depict the closure of a project. Learnings and points of instruction gleaned from the entire life cycle may feature in this stage.

The observations, insights, and lines of analyses contained in these paragraphs spotlight the importance of using flowcharts in Project Management Life Cycle. In view of these, project managers may collaborate with designers and other stakeholders in a bid to refine the application of flowchart illustrations to the stated objective. A careful perusal of these illustrations can assist project managers to undertake projects in the future with greater alacrity. At the same time, a higher level of engagement with such illustrations can lead the way to smarter systems of project management; such attainments could result in higher levels of efficiency in managing costs and delivering value to the sponsor enterprise.

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