Project Phases and Project Life Cycles
All projects are divided into phases, and all projects, large or small, have a similar life cycle structure. At a minimum, a project will have a beginning or initiation phase, an intermediate phase or phases, and an ending phase. The number of phases depends on the project complexity and the industry. For example, information technology projects may progress through phases such as requirements, design, program, test, and implement. All the collective phases the project progresses through in concert are called the project life cycle.
The end of each phase allows the project manager, stakeholders, and project sponsor the opportunity to determine if the project should continue to the next phase. In order to progress to the next phase, the deliverable from the phase before it must be reviewed for accuracy and approved. As each phase is completed, it's handed off to the next phase.