Lesson 1
1c Project Life Cycle

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Project Life Cycle

Let us follow the project life cycle of a classical project, like the construction of a house, from the very beginning to the very end, and look at it from a generic point of view.

It all starts with an idea (of the house),
followed by discussions about
requirements, features,
and design drafts.
As soon as these are fixed
the project goal is defined,
and we continue with
more detailed design and
planning of time schedule
budget, and contractors.
After design approval
and contract signatures,
actual work on site and off site can begin:
manufacturing (of frame elements, doors, etc.)
construction (of foundation, walls, etc.)
installation (electrical, plumbing, etc.)
and commissioning.
With preliminary acceptance
we wrap up major activities on site,
only minor conclusion work,
like last touch-ups, documentation, etc.
is still to be done.
Handover to the end user
marks final acceptance.

We summarize this in the following graphic, emphasizing major milestones in red color.

Looking closer at the project budget or cost, we observe in most real life projects that we end up with a (much) higher final cost than originally planned before contract signatures.

Major reasons for that cost overrun are:

  1. Unclear project goal(s).
  2. Insufficient plans, because we want to save time and effort for planning in order to quickly start the "real work".
  3. Necessary changes to the original design or project plan, due to unexpected events after contract signatures.

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