The Concept of Project Life Cycle
The underlying assumption of a project management is that the composition of a project management (PM) team must reflect the needs of the project. Such needs typically change over the course of the project’s life cycle. Moreover, project members may enter or withdraw from projects due to various natural reasons. Clearly, projects undergo changes due to the changing composition of teams in its life cycle. Hence, the method of managing the team too alters with the changing composition of the projects. It is important to understand is meant by project life cycle before we understand how to manage a team over the span of a project life cycle.
As the lifecycle of the project changes, so do the requirements and the composition of the team. Literature has defined team as a small group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. As project’s lifecycle develops so does, the lifecycle of the project teams. Teams are more effective when members can combine their individual talents, skills, and experiences via appropriate working relationships and processes. We discuss a team building model in this context that describes how teams at each stage of their life cycle evolve through this process have been proposed by Tuckman (1965).
Based on an extensive analysis of groups located in one place, Tuckman identified four distinct stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, and performing. During the forming stage, team members share information about themselves and their task explicitly through discussions or implicitly through non-verbal cues, such as status symbols or physical traits. Efforts to resolve these issues often surface differences of opinions, and in the storming stage, conflicts emerge as team members work to identify appropriate roles and responsibilities.
Groups able to resolve conflicts move to the norming stage. In this stage, teams recognize and agree on ways of working together, strengthen relationships, and solidify understanding of member obligations, all of which increase levels of trust, mission clarity, and coordination. Finally, teams reach the performing stage during which team members work toward project completion, actively helping and encouraging each other.
A project life cycle represents the linear progression of a project, from defining the project through making a plan, executing the work, and closing out the project.