Projects always have a beginning and an end, as do phases and how these points are defined will vary. The project lifecycle phases will follow a generic sequence – Concept, definition, implementation and handover and closeout. The extended lifecycle includes two further phases – Operations and Termination.
The APM lifecycle phases are:
Concept – Establishes the need, problem or opportunity for the project. Feasibility is completed during this phase to establish whether the project is viable and aligns with the business strategy. This phase is overseen by the sponsor. A project manager may be appointed to develop the business case, which will provide justification for undertaking the project in terms of evaluating the benefit, cost and may include investment appraisal.
Definition – Further evaluates the preferred solution and options to meet the solution. This phase includes the production of the Project Management Plan and all the subsidiary plans such as risk management and the quality plan. The primary output is the project management plan, which documents the entirety of the project and what it will produce.
Implementation – this phase implements the projects strategy and plan. This phase can be divided into two parts – Design and Build – these are called stages. This allows for a design/build engagement with a design gate review in between. The primary output of this phase is the product of the project.
Handover and Close – this is the phase which delivers the project to the sponsor and the business. The project is now complete in terms of delivery of a capability that will allow benefits to be achieved. Acceptance is the key output as this will signify the users’ acceptance of the products into operational service.
Operations – this phase will include the ongoing support and maintenance of the projects deliverable. This phase allows the project team to focus on realising the benefits.
Termination – This phase concludes the operational life of the deliverable and completes the disposal of it in an effective manner. The final disposal may take place many years after the initial project and can be very costly! In fact the disposal stage can be a project in its own right. It is unlikely that the original project team will be involved in the disposal phase but it does not mean that they can ignore it. The initial product should be conducted in a way that makes disposal as straightforward as possible.