Project Management Life Cycle vs Project Management Process



In our previous articles, we have gone over the types of project management life cycle, types of phase to phase relationships as well as the meaning of process groups and knowledge areas but in order to completely understand the fundamentals of PMP (check out our comprehensive YouTube playlist of fundamentals of PMP) we must understand the difference between Project Management Life Cycle or Project Life Cycle and Project Management Process.

Let's define both of these for more clarity,

Project Management/Project Life Cycle


This is basically what you need to do 'to do' the work

In simpler terms, when you are out to create a software you will have to gather requirements and complete a system requirements document. This will be followed by a high level design document, coding, testing and delivery.

But at the same time for a construction project, right after the requirements are signed off, you will move on to create a CAD drawing.

Consider creating a software but working on partial requirements followed by coding, testing and delivering them. And then in the next iteration again delivering some more requirements. This is also a project life cycle which is following the Agile methodology.

The point is, there are different types of Project Management/Project Life Cycles but all of them essentially deal with the activities that are required to be done in order to deliver the project. These activities may have different names and characteristics depending upon the type of Life Cycle in practice

Project Management Process

This is basically what you need to do 'to manage' the work


All projects, no matter what industry and no matter what Life Cycle they follow, will always have the five project management processes viz.
1. Initiation
2. Planning
3. Executing
4. Monitoring and Controlling 
5. Closing

However, an important point to note here is that each phase/activity of project life cycle may involve all project management processes. For instance, collecting requirements itself could be initiated, well planned and executed! And ofcourse it would be monitored and controlled throughout before the final sign off and closure.

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