Project lifecycle – a real-life example from a project management course

Project lifecycle – a real-life example from a project management course

The project lifecycle is a frequently discussed topic in project management practices. In this post, we share a real-life example of a project lifecycle related to the development of a new innovative product.

The life cycle is created by a real student enrolled in a project management course and is maximally tailored to the needs of the initial activities of each project management office. The study presented also contains some product-oriented details and is an important part of the overall picture of the project lifecycle in this example. The course is regulated by The Global Regulatory Network and is part of BVOP.org’s Certified Project Manager program.

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The project lifecycle – Sections, phases, and descriptions

1. Analyzing markets and consumers and creating a business model

Defining target groups. The requirement for a smart washing machine excludes certain age groups. The requirement to integrate only with the App Store is very restrictive, given that in certain countries Apple products are not very common, and on the other hand, the trade war of Huawei, Samsung, and Apple (or iOS vs. Android) leads to an additional segmentation. This staging leads to product placement, highly dependent on Apple’s restrictions. At this stage, a recommendation should be made to remove the App Store-only integration restriction and include the Google Play Store.

On the other hand, developing your OS leads to many difficulties, further maintaining a team with non-company specific activity, dependency, as well as mandatory maintenance, OS development, policies for modification, and updating. The existing OSs should be re-examined and a recommendation should be made for the possible use of a standard solution (if any, meets the expected price framework, does not lead to dependencies, etc.)

2. Graphical interface, touch screen, and prototype

This type of UI has to meet several parameters – pad resistance, response, moisture and dust standards, design, and ease of use. Directly related to OS development and product design. Manufacturers need to be identified, competitor models analyzed. Prototyping is a hybrid process that depends on the chosen business model, component suppliers, OS development, and UI. These are concurrent processes that must be carefully planned with the necessary tolerance and buffers. After the prototype production, internal functional tests, stress tests, user tests with users of different age groups should be planned.

3. Native operating system and the ability to install additional applications to it from the App Store

In the decision to create your OS, because of the hypotheses above, the RV of the product and the ROI of local resource development and outsource must be analyzed. For the outsource option, a procedure must be initiated through the appropriate purchasing/logistics department. Development, testing, and commissioning must be planned in detail. This is one of the potential stoppers in the project.

4. Remote control capability

This is a requirement associated with many risks that need to be identified, anticipated, assessed, and mitigated. Providing access to the laundry in question means being connected to the Internet in any way, which implies the availability of internet and customer connectivity, compliance with network security policies, protection against various types of network attacks, and prevention of possible theft of personal data and so on. These requirements are governed by ISO 270001, GDPR, NIS, and other specific US and other countries, so it should be assessed in compliance to analyze that it is better not to limit the remote control to the home network. If not, the cost of penetration testing, certification, new Security officer positions and more should be provided.

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Another example of a project life cycle

We share another sample project life cycle in the form of a list of key activities. After the list, the student has described in detail the activities and the necessary work.

  • Marketing research
  • Preparation of technical documentation
  • Creating a product user interface
  • Production of touch screen
  • Operating system programming
  • Mobile application programming
  • Create an ad
  • Product delivery

1. Marketing Department to conduct marketing research on consumer attitudes, reviews, and results from service centers concerning users of washing machines of modern brands and technologies. To prepare a comparative analysis of the market prices of modern models of washing machines in terms of functionality, reliability, and customer satisfaction.

2. The development department together with the design department to prepare documentation for the creation of the new product model with the relevant parameters, dimensions, and associated equipment to complete and describe the sequence of functions that the machine will perform.

3. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface through which users interact with electronic devices by presenting visual indicators.
The marketing department to conduct market research and launch a procedure for selecting a supplier to develop a specific graphical interface that meets the requirements set for simplification and convenience of the choice of functions and the combination of different options for the operation of the washing machine.

4. The touch screen is a display device that allows the user to interact with the electronics of a machine or appliance using a finger or stylus. They are a useful alternative to the mouse or keyboard navigation in the GUI (graphical user interface).
The Marketing Department to conduct market research and launch a procedure for selecting a supplier for a touch screen that is compatible and meets the requirements and format of the graphical user interface, which will be developed specifically for the needs of the project.

5. In parallel with the development of the user interface, to assign to a partner the development of its own operating system for the product with the possibility of remote control. The capabilities, options, and functions of the operating system to be defined by the development department of the Company. To organize synchronized cooperation between the developer of the graphical interface, the developer of the operating system, and the development department in order to meet the deadlines set in the project plan and defined by the project management processes.

6. We have the modern opportunity to take advantage of the functionalities of smartphones and tablets to create an exceptional sense of usefulness, pleasure, and aesthetics for our customers when using a new generation of the product.

The Marketing Department will conduct market research and launch a vendor selection procedure to build a complete concept for developing a mobile application in the App Store, which will allow remote access to all operating system functions and work with the washing machine remotely. You will get real information about the processes that the machine performs at any given time.
The selected provider to provide everything necessary for the publication of the mobile application in the App Store, ensuring constant support of the mobile application after its publication.

7. The Marketing Department to prepare advertising materials and to organize an advertising campaign in the media and the press, after confirmation by the Sales Department of the readiness to place on the market the new generation of the product.

8. Logistics Department to prepare the logistics routes for delivery of the product after it is manufactured.

The work was done by a student for his preparation for BVOP project management certification. Reference: BVOP Certified Project Manager Review, https://www.businesspad.org/review-of-the-bvop-certified-project-manager-program/

More references: How to become a certified project manager, World Forge Magazine – ISSN 1933-8848, ISSN National Centre for the USA, https://www.worldforgemagazine.com/how-to-become-certified-project-manager/ and The new certified project manager of the project, 2020, https://mpmu.org/certified-project-manager-of-the-project/

Address from the project manager to the teams

My name is Nicholas Jordan and as you have undoubtedly understood, we will work together to realize the project. A project that for one reason or another is developing far beyond the expectations of both customers and the company’s management. Therefore, my task is to help this project to start and in the end to satisfy all parties, including you. I know it sounds presumptuous and pretentious, but I hope, along with your support, of course, that we can do it. It makes sense for each of you to ask yourself how I intend to achieve this.

First of all, I hope to improve communication with the client so that the exact requirements and wishes of the client reach you. In the short time that I have been here, I have learned that this has been one of the main problems so far, and this, in my opinion, has had a very unfavorable effect on the project executors themselves – ie. on you. Because when you don’t know exactly what is required of you and you don’t have feedback on how much work is done – the motivation of each of you to fall is normal, the desire to work too, and as a final result, the project begins to lame. Secondly, I hope that by better defining the requirements, setting reasonable deadlines, and allocating tasks in a way that makes the most of each of your abilities, things will work out. This is expected to be one of my tasks, but I want to tell you that I will rely heavily on you and your feedback. When there are ambiguities – do not be afraid to ask me to clarify them – whether with customers or with management.

If you think that the deadlines are impossible, or the tasks are meaningless – I am always open for discussion. I am far from thinking that I am sinless and I do everything in the best way (and there is hardly anyone who is. In fact, I knew one, but he lives at the 4th kilometer). So don’t hesitate to point out my mistakes. Ultimately, the task of all of us is to create a product that, if we succeed, I am convinced will increase your satisfaction, not just mine. And as I said a moment ago, everyone makes mistakes, so you’ll probably make them too.

So don’t get angry when I point them out to you and I want you to know that I’m doing it, not because I don’t like or hate you, but because I want us to achieve the common goal. Perhaps this is the time to say that I can understand and accept every mistake – whether out of ignorance, or in a hurry, or from distraction or something else. The only mistakes I do not justify are those of laziness and disinterest. And third – it is very important – not only for me but also for the clients and the management – to receive feedback on the progress of the project.

That is why I want to hold a regular meeting at the beginning of each week, where we can discuss the current tasks, difficulties, and obstacles, to plan the work during the week. Accordingly, at the end of the week, I would like each of you to send me a report on what has been done during the week, problems that need help or some assistance, even if it is possible to anticipate these things a little ahead of time so that we can solve them. – at least some of the problems – even before we get to them and thus not to waste time. Again, if there is something that affects your work and interferes with you, you do not have to wait until Friday to write it in the report or Monday to discuss it at the general meeting. You can come to me at any time. And do not doubt that I will come with you during the week to discuss the current details of the project.

I want to return to our common goal – to complete the project and create a product that our customers will receive. And the main burden of its implementation will fall on you. Because you are the people who create the proclamation. I will not create it, my boss will not create it, the owner of the company will not create it either. Or the client. You are the people whose work people will appreciate over time.

But do not underestimate the role of other parties in this project. I know you think their work is less important than yours. It is certainly less in volume – you are more people after all – but I would not dare say that it is insignificant. Without them, we would not be able to start working on this project at all. Both the client and the owners have invested a lot of time, effort, and money in the implementation of this project. So my wish is for them to remain satisfied. So when things don’t work out for one reason or another, I’ll inevitably discuss it with them. And if we don’t give our best, and that’s clear, and customers and management see it, don’t expect me as a foster mother to always protect you.

Finally – if I may summarize – the steps to bring this project out of the impasse where it currently stands:
Clarifying customer requirements and discussing all issues, current constraints, and any influencing factors with management and the client, as well as with their implementing teams.

Breaking down the tasks and their distribution by teams, as well as setting deadlines for their implementation.
Conducting regular meetings and progress reports on the project.

I know it sounds ambitious, I know some of you have a bitter experience from before. But let’s open a new leaf and start fresh. I cannot promise you that this product will become the greatest product in the world. I can’t even promise that we will sell a product at all. But I can promise you that if each of us (including me) gives the best of himself, the work will be much easier for everyone, the pleasure of work and of what has been done will increase. The probability of creating something working, in the end, will increase enormously, which will please both the customers as users, and the owners – as investors in its creation, and you – as the main contractors.

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4 Comments

  1. Here is my idea for an exemplary life cycle:

    acquaintance with the documentation available so far
    meetings with stakeholders who will be involved in the creation of this product
    market and consumer analysis
    developer analysis
    creating a scope of the project and possible participants in it
    determining some preliminary budget based on the analyzes
    creating a Business case
    creation of Milestone plan – agreed with all participants in the project
    resource planning – agreed with all project participants
    conversations with external/internal developers
    creating a business model/prototype of the product
    presentation to the director, as well as next steps
    budget approval
    signing contracts with external suppliers
    preparation of business and functional specifications
    product development
    technical work on the creation
    product testing
    troubleshooting
    presentation to the director, as well as next steps
    pilot product launch
    monitoring how the product behaves and collecting feedback from customers
    preparation of a proposal for the director for placing the product on the market
    preparation of a proposal for closing the project
    presentation to the director and decision making
    marketing activities

  2. Here is an exemplary life cycle from me:

    Preparation for the needs of the project
    Defining the goal of the project – Imposing parameters on the desired result and expectations from the overall implementation of the project.
    Market research – Preparation of a comprehensive report concerning the product – are their similar products on the market and how to distinguish the new product from them. Are there any patents imposed on similar products that would limit the implementation of the project?
    Identification of main problems that would hinder the implementation of the project and a plan for their limitation, elimination, and avoidance.
    Determining the project budget – Preparation of a financial report for the needs of the project. The report includes a plan of project costs, the necessary resources, justification for its use, risk assessment, and comparison between future costs incurred in connection with the project and estimated revenues from it, ending with a final estimate of estimated costs and revenues.
    Determining the Deadline for project implementation
    Preparation of a basic plan and scope for project action.

    Development

    Preparation of technical specification of the product – Complete model of the product described graphically and in writing.
    Technical parameters of the product – Dimensions, weight, design, logo,
    Specific parameters-Graphical interface, touch screen, own operating system, installation of additional applications to it, remote control.
    Preparation of a report and plan in connection with the technical work of creation – Gathering teams with the necessary specialists to build the product, setting a deadline for completion of the first model of the product, and identifying risks and obstacles to its implementation.
    Designation of control bodies that monitor the progress of the project.

    Technical work on the creation

    Identification of participants in the process – persons are determined who will manage, answer, coordinate, control, and implement the process. The overall work is controlled by external control for the groups.
    Distribution of teams by working groups and set tasks – Depending on their field of activity and competence, the participants in the process are divided into working groups/teams. Each group/team is assigned a specific task and the deadline for its completion. Each team interacts with the others and each task is related to the others.
    Building an operating system – building by a company team or a study to hire specialists.

    Product testing

    Product testing – after the work of the work teams is completed, the product is tested. Testing of all product features and programs.
    Preparation of a report – Preparation of a detailed product report – whether it meets the safety requirements, whether it covers the pre-prepared requirements of the initial design, risk assessment, possible errors that the system would give, product life assessment.
    Proposal for improvement – Based on the prepared report a proposal for improvement of the product is made beforehand. Clearing errors and irregularities in the product – technical and design.
    Repairing the product – Final development of the product in connection with the report and proposal.
    Final testing of the product – The product is tested after the changes are made and a final report is prepared for it.

    Marketing

    Market re-examination – The place of the product on the market is studied.
    Preparation of a plan for presentation – Advertising, brochures, presentation in the public space. Choice of approach to presentation.
    Presentation of the product on the market

  3. Market and consumer analysis

    If our goal is to break into the local market, we must first analyze the market and consumers. You will focus on the middle and above middle class. The survey is not mine, to cover only these users, I will lose time and money if we analyze the users below the average base. In the analysis I need to understand, I need to know if consumers would trust the product.

    Creating a business model

    Justification: Reasons or justification of the project, with emphasis on the implementation of the business strategy;

    SWOT analysis – We need to list the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) under the heading “Situation analysis”. Listing weaknesses and threats will avoid repeating previous mistakes.

    Benefits: Benefits expected from the implementation of the endeavor, expressed in measurable terms relative to the situation as it is;

    Risk analysis: We need to create a summary of the key risks and opportunities of the project;

    Project costs: Total expected project costs derived from the project plan;
    Schedule: Summary of the project schedule and the main stages;

    Indicators: Financial indicators, including ROI, IRR, NPV, and Payback period, including a sensitivity analysis of key variables;

    Specific request: A clear statement of exactly what is required of the approval authority.

    Product design

    There are different drivers that consumers can consider when choosing a washing machine: brand, price, aesthetics, performance, and design. If this is a new brand, we must make sure that the design is unique and memorable.

    For example, according to the analysis we will have, we need to create an ideal product design. Let’s take the color – whether it will be available in several basic colors, whether it will be powerful, fast, small, or large.

    Is it environmentally friendly – nowadays if the product is environmentally friendly, can I make a product more sought after?

    People in charge of design need to take these things into account and create the most appropriate design.

    Technical work on the creation

    The team responsible for the technical work of setting up the washing machine must ensure that this product is safe and easy to use.

    Product testing

    Before we put the washing machine on the market, we need to test the washing machine, test all the attachments, and conclude that the washing machine is ready for admission to the consumer. We need to learn how to deliver the product to the consumer. Online or in technology stores and at home, or wherever possible. Our team of analysts needs to research how many laundries are bought online per month and how many in stores to determine which will be the most appropriate place.

    Marketing activities

    Without a proper marketing plan, we may end up with a well-designed washing machine that no one wants to buy.

    We need to record the target product market. How old is the average customer? Is she a woman or a man? Do more single people or large families buy it? We need to take all of these aspects into account when developing a target market for our product. Every washing machine is different, so we have to consider our model very carefully when offering an answer.

    We need to take into account the product, the price, the place of distribution and how we plan to promote it, especially concerning the target market of the washing machine. If we are planning to launch a newspaper marketing campaign, we need to list the overall feel of the ad, who it is targeting, where it will be published, and for how long.

    We need to have sales tracking plans and successful marketing programs under Tracking. For example, with an internet marketing campaign with a banner ad showing the washing machine, the technical team programs a tracking code in the banner ad. That way, if someone clicks on the ad and completes the purchase of the machine, you will know where it came from. By tracking, we can determine which marketing methods work best, which will help with future promotions.

  4. Here is my sample project lifecycle:

    Market and consumer analysis

    As an action after the idea, I see to determine the investment opportunities price of the product, what investment will be needed to implement the project, and what / what will be the sources of funding. Only with good ideas, things do not work out, however, we must ensure that we will have the necessary funds to develop the product. In this case, we must have an up-to-date analysis of the markets (market position) in which we target and the relevant user groups, as well as the geographical location in which the project will operate. Determining the basic relationship “product-market” for the development of the marketing concept

    Creating a business model

    We can start creating a business model after we have defined the goals and analyzed the investment opportunities and defined the project strategy.

    And before we start designing the prototype, we need to set indicative deadlines for the project, draw up a schedule for its implementation, and finally determine the budget. Risk planning and reporting should also be included in the process.

    Product prototype design

    When designing the prototype, we need to know the functional purpose and area of ​​application of the product planned for production. After the research, we have about the wishes of the users, such as design, compactness, etc. we start work. We determine the shape, size, openings, main qualities of the product, contributing to the success, taking into account the actual and potential customers. We also start the project calculation documentation.

    Product design

    It is time to select contractors through a tender or competition for the necessary consumables. After their election, it is time to prepare and sign contracts. It’s time to show a relatively clear vision of our new product. Define the structure of activities and contractors/subcontractors/suppliers. It is right to calculate the budget all the time.

    Technical work on the creation

    If necessary, provide the necessary staff training. It is appropriate to develop a calendar schedule of activities.

    Product testing

    We already have a product. After a series of internal tests for serviceability, etc., and reaching a safe level of work in my opinion is a good idea to provide the product free of charge to people from the company or families selected by lottery. And after a certain period stages to seek feedback on the pros and cons of the new washing machine.

    Possible revisions

    Once we have feedback and information about defects or inconveniences for customers, we should process it to eliminate the defects.

    Delivery of the product among real customers

    We choose distributors and sign contracts with them or sell ourselves.

    Marketing activities

    Use of means to strengthen market positions – either to join forces with other companies or exclusively on their own. Organizing promotions or games with a prize.

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