Project Management Life Cycle

Effective use of project management processes, techniques, tools and resources (people, materials, equipment and money) facilitate successful delivery of projects.

Generic Frameworks

The current de facto project management methodologies are the PMI® (Project Management Institute) PMBOK® and PRINCE® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments, currently PRINCE2®). There are other variations and customized versions from different organizations. However, the most popular and widely adopted is the PMI® methodology, referred to as PMBOK®.

PMI Methodology – An Overview

Project Management Institute (PMI®) developed the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) as a general guide for managing projects. PMBOK® includes five process groups and nine knowledge areas, combined to facilitate structured approach to project management. Figure 12 is a representation of the PMBOK® methodology. It shows the key elements and their overlapping dependencies. The overlaps shown are not exact but realistic timing and dependencies of the key elements. It includes the following:

  • Five process groups – Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Monitoring, and Closing.
  • Nine knowledge areas – Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Time Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Human Resource Management, Project Communication Management, Project Issue/Risk Management and Project Procurement Management.

Each process group and knowledge area consists of sub-processes and work packages, which are represented by inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. The knowledge areas and the processes or sub-processes within them are applied to and fall within one or more of the five process groups.

project management methodology PMI

project management methodology PMI

 Figure 12 – Project Management Institute® Methodology

Prince2 Methodology – An Overview

PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2®), second major version, is a project management method, which includes the organization, management and control of a project. PRINCE2 is a registered trademark of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), United Kingdom.PRINCE2 established 45 sub-processes categorized into eight processes:

  • Starting Up a Project (SU)
  • Planning (PL)
  • Initiating a Project (IP)
  • Directing a Project (DP)
  • Controlling a Stage (CS)
  • Managing Product Delivery (MP)
  • Managing Stage Boundaries (SB)
  • Closing a Project (CP)

PMBOK® and PRINCE2® are the most popular generic project management methodologies. Organizations tend to stick to a preferred method that they are used to and work for them. The purpose of this discussion is not to go into debate about which method is preferred, but to recognize the existence of structured project management methodologies and their contributions to delivering projects successfully.

It is very important to know that projects are unique endeavours, and the blind application of a generic methodology (PMBOK® or PRINCE2®) may not produce the desired result. Considering the generic nature of these methodologies, organizations have customized versions to manage industry specific projects.

Even the use of the customized industry version or a part of it may need to be adapted to the specific need of each project, on a case by case basis. The main goal is to identify and apply a fit-for-purpose method to accomplish the desired result. This requires skills, experience, maturity and commitment of the business and project management professionals. It takes good practices, for organizations and professionals, to mature.


Figure 13 shows the representation of the PRINCE2® methodology.

Going forward, the practical approach to project management, through the effective application of the generic methodologies, techniques and tools, and good practices, will be discussed. 


project management methodology PRINCE2

project management methodology PRINCE2


Figure 13 – PRINCE2® Methodology


Practical Project Management Approach

Practical project management is accomplished through effective application of good practices, using fit-for-purpose processes, techniques and tools. The practical project management processes are customized version of the generic industry frameworks, with creative elements that create value. Some organizations have customized methodology, which specify mandatory and optional deliverables or artifacts. The flexibility of the methodology should promote creativity without compromising the consistent use of the processes, techniques and tools. Consistency ensures effective team interaction and successful projects delivery.

Sole reliance on processes, techniques and tools may fall short of delivering projects successfully except they are consistently used in a disciplined way through good practices. Good practices require discipline and commitment of the stakeholders in order to provide, effectively manage and use project information. Every aspect must demonstrate value through the relevance of the project information and results. It is important to focus on relevant information because stakeholders will only pay attention to what they considered valuable.

Figure 14 shows a practical project management methodology framework. It shows the gating and supporting processes for project management and product delivery management, and the interactions between them. This framework fits within the service life cycle (discussed in chapter 10). It establishes clear dependency and scope for project management and product delivery management process groups.

For small projects (definition depends on the organization, for example a project between 30 to 90 days delivery window), some gates, steps and deliverables could be omitted or waived, compressed or consolidated to ensure quick and timely delivery, without compromising key project delivery discipline and good practices. This is organization dependent. For example, a simple term of reference may suffice for project charter and plan, and the governance approvals may be less strict.

practical project management methodology

practical project management methodology

Figure 14 – A Practical Project Management Methodology

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