Projects follow a certain pattern of work. These patterns are known as life cycles. Deciding the life cycle or the pattern of work your project will follow determines the way you would deliver your product, service or result of the project.
Here are the different types of Project Management Life Cycle
1. Predictive Life Cycle / Waterfall Model / Fully Plan Driven Life Cycle
You might already be aware of the Waterfall Model. This is where the project’s schedule, scope and cost is defined in the beginning itself. A common way of defining this Life Cycle is,
Plan the work, work the plan
Since everything is decided upfront and the plan is ready, the project team puts its best effort to ensure the plan is executed and the impact on it due to changes is minimized. So, as the name goes, Predictive life cycle is where you are predicting what will happen, preparing the best plan possible accordingly and then following it.
2. Adaptive Life Cycle / Change Driven
As opposed to the Predictive Life Cycle, adaptive life cycle is more welcoming to changes. All project activities are performed several times delivering a small piece of the project each time. These pieces are called increments.
At this point, it is important to note that agile is based on delivering valuable increments to the customers as soon as possible.
Since the life cycle is repeated several times, the changes can be easily accommodated in the next iteration without disrupting the work. In addition to providing an opportunity to accommodate changes, each iteration also provide the opportunity to incorporate feedback and even change the scope of the project.
3. Iterative Life Cycle
Iterative life cycle is closer to predictive life cycle. Although iterations are used to accommodate changes in scope, cost or schedule, the project team still tries to plan as much work upfront as possible.
It should be noted that with the iterative life cycle, the approach is to develop the basic functionality or the minimum viability of the product in the first iteration. The subsequent iterations can then add further product features.
4. Incremental Life Cycle
Incremental life cycle is closer to adaptive life cycle. Small, usable pieces of the project are delivered to the stakeholders who provide feedback. It should be noted that the increments (or the small pieces of project) produced must be combined in the final iteration to produce the final product. An iteration in itself could be complete but might not be of much use when it is standalone
5. Hybrid Life Cycle
Hybrid life cycle is exactly what its name suggests. It is a combination of predictive and adaptive approaches. As a Project Manager, it is your responsibility to decide what would work best for your project or your organization.
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