Chapter 5 – Project Life Cycle, Scope, Charters, Proposals

5.17. Chapter Summary

The project Life Cycle is a series of phases including initiation, planning, execution (implementation) and closure. Some organizations include monitoring and control. Selection of projects is determined by a team of people, usually by executives of the organization. This selection is aligned with the vision, mission, and values of the organization. It is also determined by the resources available and the importance of the project. Human Resources may be involved at the strategic level of decision-making, support at the beginning or the end of the project or be involved in the project throughout the entire project life cycle.

Initiation marks the beginning of the project; planning is when plans are documented, schedules are developed, and deliverables/requirements are defined; execution (implementation) is when the project is put into motion and the work is performed, and closure is when the customer approves the project, reports are compiled, bills are paid, and an evaluation/audit is performed. Monitoring and control involve making changes where necessary based on progress through collection of data.

Human Resources may support the team through the initiation phase by helping the team set goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals is an approach used to establish goals prior to the project beginning. S: Specific, M: Measurable, A: Attainable, R: Realistic, and T: Time-related. They would establish Performance Plans with the team to be monitored and reviewed throughout and at the end of the project. In the Planning Phase, Human Resources could support the team in getting organized and developing work plans. During the execution (implementation) phase, Human Resources may play a less active role; however, they set up Communication Plans and provide “check-ins” between and among the team and Project Manager. They may also help with communication for the distribution of reports. Human Resources could play an active role in the Closure of a project through the evaluation of the team and Project Manager (individual and group). They could also facilitate Lessons Learned and support archiving of documents.

The foundation of a project is defining the Scope (sometimes interchangeable with a Charter), which is the work that needs to be completed to deliver the product/service. The Deliverables include everything that the team needs to produce for the project. The Project Requirements describe the functionality that the final deliverable must have (specific conditions) the deliverables must meet to satisfy the objectives. There are various Project Requirements that include business, functional, non-functional, technical, regulatory, and user requirements. The Charter, if required, is a statement of the scope, objectives, and participants in the project. It provides a list of roles and responsibilities, outlines the objectives, identifies the stakeholders, and defines who has the authority over the project. A request for a proposal is a document released by the organization to vendors to submit a proposal to complete a project that includes pricing, timing, and details on how the vendor would complete a project successfully.

Human Resources may be involved in helping the organization define the Scope, Charter, or Proposal. They may be directly involved with the process, design the templates or facilitate the process for the development of any of these elements of Project Management.