The Six-Phase Comprehensive Project Life Cycle Model Including the Project Incubation/Feasibility Phase and the Post-Project Evaluation Phase


Russell D. Archibald, Mexico/USA
Ivano Di Filippo, Italy
Daniele Di Filippo, Italy

A holistic systems perspective of projects and programs is required today to achieve the full benefits of systems thinking in project management. To achieve this perspective, the need to establish a Comprehensive Project Life Cycle definition and to promote its application on all important projects is first presented. This Comprehensive Project Life Cycle Model recognizes that there is always a Project Incubation/Feasibility Phase prior to the currently existing Project Starting Phase of most project management (PM) standards, and also recognizes that there must be an additional Post-Project Evaluation Phase after the standard Project Close-out Phase.

These phases are defined and discussed for two basic types of projects: 1) delivery or commercial projects and 2) transformational projects.  It is recommended that this Comprehensive Project Life Cycle Model be considered for adoption as a standard for important projects. While many PM practitioners and authorities limit the scope of ‘project management’ to the traditional start-plan-execute-closeout phases, projects begin their existence before the traditional start phase and their products or results continue to exist and must be evaluated after the projects are closed out.

The authors assert that these before and after phases must be recognized as belonging within the domain of project management. Regarding the Post-Project Evaluation Phase the need to differentiate between ‘project success’ and ‘project value’ is discussed….

Part 1. Introduction

A company that wants to compete in the international market knows the importance of adopting a Business Process Management (BPM) model as a holistic management approach. The BPM Model is the set of activities needed to define, optimize, monitor and integrate business processes in order to create the desired outcome for each stakeholder. In addition to driving a company’s on-going operations, Business Process Management (which includes the concept of Business Performance Management) (Ref. 1) drives its projects and programs, integrated with their multi-project portfolios to achieve high performance developmentthat is characterized by new success criteria, where project management metrics are based on performance indices as shown by a matrix between KPIs and CSFs (Ref. 2):

  • Key Performance Indicators(KPIs) are commonly used by an organization to evaluate its success or the success of a particular activity in which it is engaged.
  • Critical success factor (CSF) is the term for an element that is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission successfully, and for ensuring the success of a company. Critical success factors are those few things that must go well to ensure success for a manager or an organization, and therefore they represent those managerial or enterprise areas that must be given special and continual attention to bring about high performance.

In achieving improved success in project, program, and portfolio management there are two desirable goals:


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About the Authors

Russell D. Archibald

Russell D. Archibald: PhD (Hon) ESC-Lille (Fr), MSc (U of Texas) & BS (U of Missouri) Mechanical Engineering, PMP, Fellow PMI and Honorary Fellow APM/IPMA (member of the Board of IPMA/INTERNET 1974-83), held engineering and executive positions in aerospace, petroleum, telecommunications, and automotive industries in the USA, France, Mexico and Venezuela (1948-1982). Russ also had 9 years of active duty as a pilot officer with the U.S. Army Air Corps (1943-46) and the U. S. Air Force (1951-58.) Since 1982 he has consulted to companies, agencies and development banks in 16 countries on 4 continents, and has taught project management principles and practices to thousands of managers and specialists around the world. He is the author of Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects, 3rd Edition 2003, also published in Russian, Italian, and Chinese, plus other books (in English, Italian, Japanese, and Hungarian) and many papers on project management. Web site: http://russarchibald.com Contact: [email protected]

Ivano Di Filippo

Ivano Di Filippo: Team leader of Genial Software, a high performance expert team; ISIPM PM certified, Member of Professional Italian Project Manager list held by ISIPM. Ivano has over 20 years of experience as a consultant and project manager in business information systems development. During three years of study with the medical faculty at La Sapienza University in Rome he developed a strong interest in subjects concerning human behavior and human mental processes, and has continued over many years to cultivate and develop this interest by applying the cognitive psychological theories as an important key to success in the numerous projects he has directed. Contemporarily he studied computer science to become a web site programmer and IT programmer as applied in project management. Ivano has 25 years with Radiotaxi 3570 Company, Rome, Italy, (the largest Radiotaxi company in Europe and perhaps the world) and at present he is in charge of human resources in its Operations Control room.  In addition to the operations control personnel he daily interacts with company customers as well as the company members/taxi drivers who number over 3,500. Ivano is the author of “When Does a Project Start? The Critical Buffering Theory” in the ISIPM Magazine Il Project Manager, published by Franco Angeli (see References.) ISIPM Project Managers Professional list: http://www.isipm.org/albo-professionale/catalog?search=Di+Filippo Web site: www.genialsoftware.it  Contact: [email protected]

Daniele Di Filippo

Daniele Di Filippo: Graduate Student at Roma3 University (Rome, Italy) in IT Engineering, concluded an internship at NTT Data Company and received his bachelor degree in IT Engineering in July 2012. Member of Istituto Italiano di Project Management/ISIPM. He is studying for his Master Degree and researching to realize a project named Aurora that belongs to the Transhumanism context. Part-time free-lance writer.

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