Explain five distinct benefits of using a structure life cycle approach.
Five distinct benefits of using a structured life cycle approach are as follows:
1. Following a structured life cycle approach provides a logical progression for a project to follow. As part of this, key activities during any given phase are defined in advance providing a coherent structure for the sponsor, project manager and team to work through.
2. A structured life cycle with defined phases and reviews allows for the project to be checked at various points. This has the benefit of making sure the project is continuing to deliver on or towards the anticipated benefits without the costs increasing. The regular reviews provide points at which the project can be stoped if it is no longer relevant or required.
3. A structured life cycle also defines what resources will be required when throughout the project. This helps the organisation to manage its resources, ensuring what is required is available at the correct time for the project.
4. A structure life cycle with defined phases and reviews will help to increase the stakeholders confidence in the project. Due to the fact the results of the regular reviews will be reported, the stakeholders and wider organisation can read the results of the reviews and take confidence that the project is being run in a way that will lead to effective results.
5. A structured life cycle approach helps to identify what aspects of the project require more attention when. For example, the identification of risks must be properly and fully allowed for in the early stages of a project to allow for the most effective mitigation of any potential risks. Similarly, the structured phase and reviews mean that an appropriate amount of attention is paid to the project early on so that it gets through the gate reviews; early, effective detailed planning will help contribute to a successful project.
List five key phases of a typical life cycle and describe the activities undertaken during each one.
Five key phases of a typical life cycle are as follows:
4. Handover and Closure
5. Benefits Realisation
The activities undertaken during each of these phases are as follows.
Concept During concept the business case fro the project will be developed and written by the project sponsor. This will involve feasibility, the identification and evaluation of different options, engagement of stakeholders and ultimately a decision on which option to go for based on the potential benefits versus the anticipated costs.
The project manager may also begin the Project Management Plan during this phase but they key output is the business case. This will be examined by other senior members of organisation at a Gate Review to decide if the project will go ahead.
Definition The main out put of the definition phase is the Project Management Plan, developed and owned by the project manager. This takes the option chosen in the business case and further develops it to establish the how, when, who and what of the project. During this phase the success criteria of the project will be defined, and more detail on the project provided and defined to establish firmer costs.
A Gate review at the end of this phase will analyse the Project Management Plan and determine if the project will go ahead.
Development This is the phase during which the project is delivered. This may be broken down into different stages, each with their own outcome and with a review. However, these stage reviews may not be as formal as Gate reviews. Ultimately, at the end of the development phase the project deliverable will be ready to be handed over to the users.
Handover and Closure During this phase the finished product is commissioned and handed over to the users. The project will be closed administratively and the project team disbanded. Post project reviews will be held as part of this phase, which allows lessons learned to be taken from the project and applied elsewhere in the business.
Benefits Realisation This phase is managed by the project sponsor as the project manager and project team will no longer be involved. During this phase the sponsor works with the users to ensure the benefits of the project outcome are being realised using benefits realisation reviews.