Risk management header
products page

Risk management - Project Life Cycle - general points

Project Life Cycle

General points

Different areas

For any project there will be differing areas to consider which will contribute to the overall plan.
For example, technical, financial, location, environmental issues etc.
The systematic approach described above from ‘concept’ through to ‘support’ can be applied to each for a thorough approach.

In other words, we could apply consideration to each of these areas during the ‘concept’ phase, then ‘plan’ phase etc.

Working in parallel

Many projects, especially large ones, could be considered to be made up of more than one smaller project.
If this is the case, the options are to run the projects in series or parallel.
The series option where one completes before another starts will obviously afford the longest completion times.
This approach would only be practical if:

  • The start of one project is dependent on an earlier one.
  • Resource is not available to run projects in parallel.
  • Cash flow constraints either due to payment of fees or releasing finance do not allow parallel flow of projects.

The ideal situation is to run as many of these ‘sub projects’ in parallel as possible if suitable resource and finance is available as above.

When running in parallel each project will need to go through the ‘concept’ to ‘support’ stages. There will be no need to synchronise these for each project and overlap would be expected.
These activities would run in parallel if the activity or output from one project was dependent upon an earlier one.

Another scenario is for the projects to be ‘nested’. This is where a project is considered to be part of a bigger picture.
The overall company ‘project’ will deal more with strategy and how profits are made and in what markets etc.
The ‘nested’ projects could be considered to be the practical ‘projects’ bringing in the revenue.
In these situations strategy and the project management [see ‘The Complete Project Management package’] and [see 'The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2'] process can in effect be separated.

Don’t forget that we will need to consider the RISK between individual projects within an organisation.

Milestone reviews

In an ideal world it would be great if all objectives and other performance criteria were perfect at the start of a project.
However, events occur that may necessitate a modification to these.
When a milestone is reached a review should be undertaken to assess the current relevance of future objectives and performance criteria.
Any changes in the objectives or performance criteria should be carefully considered for their RISK implications.

In this context see comments on ‘horizon planning’ [see Types of plans].


These should be treated as independent projects.
The view of the ‘concept’ and other stage will be slightly modified for the contractor.
If the contractor is largely responsible for the ‘design’ stage the client may cover these in less detailed terms. The detail would be left to the contractor.
The initial interest of the contractor will be to submit a bid in order to gain the contract and we will cover the risks in this area elsewhere [see The contractor].

Decision points

On some projects there may be just one GO / NO GO decision.
The advantage of breaking down a project into smaller parts, each requiring a GO / NO GO / MAY BE decision point is that control will be improved.
Problem areas will not escalate and costs should be better managed.

Non - PRINCE2 information