Q. Explain 5 distinct benefits of using a structured lifecycle approach. (50 marks)
A. One benefit of using a structured lifecycle approach which coincidentally is one of the main benefits which is: Common Approach.
When delivering projects, there are many different approaches a PM/organisation can use. This could lead to lots of different problems if everyone is not using the same approach. There would be no unity and could lead to disjointed projects. Using a common approach would allow everyone within an organisation to be on the same page, following the same direction. This leads to an efficient and effective project continuity. For example, project artefacts, reviews, meetings, communications would follow the same path/approach. This would minimise disruption to a project and any issues identified would quickly be resolved as everyone is following the same logical progression.
This leads onto a second benefit of having clearly defined activities and benefits. Having clearly defined activities and benefits means a united front. Everyone knows what their responsibilities are and where it ends. This provides a clear point of when to stop the project. For example, Person A has to deliver activities 1,2,3. Person B has to deliver activities 4,5,6 however they cannot be done until activity 3 has been completed. Once A and B have done their bits, it will allow Person C to realise the benefits of their activities. As you can see, defined activities can lead to benefits realisation.
A third benefit is being able to understand what resources are required where and when. This leads to an efficient resource utilisation thus, resulting in cost savings, viable project plans and direction. For example, in the project lifecycle, you wouldn’t have a technical resource in the definition phase or concept phase as they cannot off their full value/potential. Therefore you play to their strengths and place their activities in the development phase. This also allows for benefit realisation, effective project costing’s as money is being spent in the right area.
A fourth benefit is that there is a high level break down which allows for detailed planning.
Being able to break down a project by following a structured lifecycle means that a PM and sponsor are able to view the project as a whole and break down into smaller, more manageable chunks. This allows for more appropriate planning for each relevant area. For example,
– concept phase is where the business case is created which includes project feasibility and optioneering.
– definition phase is where the PMP is created off the back of the business case
– development phase is where the requirements are being delivered.
– hand over and closure phase is where the deliverables are handed back to the users
This leads to a fifth benefit of being able to know when reviews can take place. Reviews ensure that the project remains viable and fit for purpose. If following a structured lifecycle approach, a review would be undertaken at the end of each phase. For example at the end of development phase, a review could take place to check if deliverables have been met and expectations have been satisfied. If not, the project could then repeat until it passes the review checks.
27 mins! :@ not good enough, I am worried I will run out of time on the paper.
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A very good answer, well done. Just a few changes to this paragraph. Your description resembles the detailed schedule and not the high-level stages of a project as we see in a typical lifecycle. So I would change this too
This leads onto a second benefit of having clearly defined phases, activities and benefits. Having clearly defined phases means that the overall sequence activites are defined. Everyone knows what their responsibilities are and where it ends. This provides a clear point of when to stop the project at the review gates. For example, the lifecycle shows what level of design has to be completed before procurement can start. This way the project progresses in an orderly way. This is particularly important with complex multi-disciplinary project where no-one person understands the detail of all the work.
Thanks for the feedback!