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The Project Management Life Cycle Phases

What are the 5 phases of project management 

The phase names are very intuitive , they are  

 1. Initiating

 2. Planning

 3. Executing

 4. Monitoring and Controlling

 5. Closing

As per PMI - these are not phases but process groups.

"Project Management is accomplished through the application and integration of the processes which are grouped in the 5 process groups"

Lets look at some questions that you can ask, for each phase to ensure that you have covered the basics

project management life cycle phases
 1. How to start a project

As is understood from the diagram, before initiating processes, there are other steps to be looked at. 

Here are some questions to answer before you can move to initiating

•What is the problem?

•What solutions/options have been considered

•Based on feasibility, benefit, effort, risks etc

•What has been decided to be done and why (Business Case)

•What (SCOPE)

•When (TIME)

•Who, budget? (COST)

•How, success measure (QUALITY)


Simply put - do you have a signed/approved project charter?

2. Project Initiating phase questions

You now actually start work on the project

  1. Who are you? Which documentation says so? Who knows?           (charter)

  2. What are you assigned to achieve, with what constraints? (charter/ business case)

  3. Who will you directly work with (project team)

  4. Who are your stakeholders? (stakeholder register)

  5. What information already exists around, have you read it

    • This type of projects

    • This project

  6. Who will decide what? (governance)

3. Project Planning phase questions
  1. How will you go about executing the project?

  2. What resources do you need, are they available?

  3. Do you know in detail what you need to achieve?

  4. How would you want to break down the work in smaller manageable packets?

  5. Do you have a committed schedule, is it realistic?

  6. How would you know, that you can move to the next stage?

  7. What are the risks of being able to achieve project objectives?

  8. How will you get everyone on the same page?


Simply put - do you have a project plan. Project plan and project schedule are used interchangeably ...unfortunately they are not interchangeable. A project schedule is just that - schedule- what when who for each activity. Project plan covers risk, issues, quality, scope, cost etc plans (how will you manage them) 

4. Project Executing, Monitoring & Controlling phase questions

This is the phase where you execute the project management plan, you created in the planning phase to achieve project objectives

Monitor against the plan and take steps to ensure that you stay on the plan

  1. How is the project going?

  2. Are you on plan – time, cost?

  3. Do you have the resources you need?

  4. Do you know what you need to do next?

  5. Any new risks? any materialized risks?

  6. Do stakeholders know what you are doing? What’s their feedback?

  7. Any changes to scope, schedule, costs?

  8. Are you in line to deliver you scope ? 

5. Project Closing phase questions
  • Have you achieved what you set out to achieve?

  • Can you confidently tick the objectives? Do your stakeholders agree?

  • Do you have factual proof of success, did you report it out?

  • Is the BAU team ready to take over?

  • Does the BAU team have all the required documents?

  • Are documents signed off?

  • Did you do lessons learnt– what went well/ not so well?

  • Did you save the project documents in the right place?

  • Ready to celebrate success?

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