Every project has a beginning, a middle period during which activities move the project toward completion, and an ending. Normally a project has the following four major phases:Initiation, planning, execution and closure.

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Project Cycle

Project Cycle

Every project has a beginning, a middle period during which activities move the project toward completion, and an ending. Normally a project has the following four major phases:

Initiation, planning, execution and closure. 


The project objective or need is identified in the initiation phase. Project objective can be a business problem or opportunity. In a business case, an appropriate response to the need is documented and recommended solution options are also written down. A feasibility study is conducted to investigate whether each option addresses the project objective and a final recommended solution is determined. Issues of feasibility “can we do the project?” and justification “should we do the project?” are addressed.

The best solution is approved and project is initiated to deliver the approved solution and a project manager is selected or appointed and all the major deliverables and the working groups are identified, and the project team begins to take shape. Approval is taken by the project manager to execute onto the detailed planning phase. 


The next phase is the planning phase where the project solution is further developed in as much detail as possible and the steps necessary to meet the project’s objective are planned. In this step, the team identifies all of the work to be done. The project’s tasks and resource requirements are identified, along with the strategy for producing them. A project plan is created outlining the activities, tasks, dependencies, and timeframes. The project manager coordinates the preparation of a project budget by providing cost estimates for the labour, equipment, and materials costs. The budget is used to monitor and control cost expenditures during project implementation.

After identification the work, preparation of the schedule, and estimation of the costs, the three fundamental components of the planning process are complete. This is the best time to identify and deal with risks of the project. This is called risk management. In risk management, high risks are identified along with the action that is to be taken on each of them, either to reduce their probability or to reduce the impact on the project if it does occur. Stakeholder register is also prepared in this phase

Quality management is also a part of the planning phase. Quality assurance and quality control strategies will be documented and approved by the major stakeholders of the project. 


Project plan is implemented in this phase. Progress of the project is continuously monitored and all the necessary changes are managed according to the best change management plan. During project implementation, people are carrying out the tasks, and progress information is being reported through regular team meetings. The project progress manager uses this information to maintain control over the direction of the project by comparing the progress reports with the project plan to measure the performance of the project activities and take corrective action as needed. Throughout this step, project sponsors and other key stakeholders should be kept informed of the project’s status according to the agreed-on frequency and format of communication. The plan should be updated and published on a regular basis.

Each project deliverable produced should be reviewed for quality and measured against the acceptance criteria. Once all of the deliverables have been produced and the customer has accepted the final solution, the project is ready for closure. 

Closing Phase

During the closing phase, the emphasis is on releasing the final deliverables to the customer, and releasing all the project resources. The lesson learned register is updated accordingly.


Nimra Naveed