Tag Archives: Project Management

E2: The Project Management Life-cycle

Carrying on from last weeks post on the CIMA E2 subject “Project Management”, today I will be looking at the the four D’s that Maylor identified as the the project management life-cycle and what each stage means.

Maylor – The Four D’s

Well managed projects, as identified by Maylor, will plan to go through the four discreet stages mentioned below in their life cycle.


The beginning of the project is the most crucial as defining the scope and deliverable’s is the foundation of any successful project. Without a clear define stage the project team will effectively be working with their eyes closed.

There are several smaller steps or areas to consider:

  • Purpose: what is the purpose and goal of the project?
  • Project Team: the project team needs to be defined and organised.
  • Feasibility Study: the aim here to prevent unfeasible projects to get the green light. Key risks are identified and consideration is given as how to manage the associated risks. The BEST categories can be used for the feasibility study.
  1. Business – meets the business needs.
  2. Economic – costs v benefits of the project.
  3. Social – effects on people such as motivation.
  4. Technical – is the project technically possible to complete.
  • Business Case: once the feasibility test has been carried out the results are documented in the business case which is then given to the project sponsor or the project board for approval.


The second stage of the project life-cycle is the design stage and will require more resources than the define stage and will also take longer time to complete. The idea behind the design stage is gather feedback and research the possible solutions and associated resources and materials required to complete the project.

Here are the different steps in the design stage of the project life-cycle.

  • Research: surveys and research are conducted to clarify the project details and to assess the potential problems.
  • Position Analysis: the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis can be used to  examine all areas of the project with a focus on the threats and risks of the project. For example, to develop the solution an expertise in IT programming might be required and the company has no experts in this area. So external contractors will need to be hired to address this problem.
  • Task Planning: by now there is a clear set of objectives but a set of detailed tasks need to be defined and planned. Now is the time to do that – tools like gant charts or network charts can be used to monitor the progress of the project tasks.
  • Options Generation/Evaluation: the possible approaches to achieving a successful project are generated and evaluated.


I’ve highlighted the Deliver box in green above to illustrate the fact this will take the most time and require the most resources in the project life-cycle. It covers the end to end of process of putting the meat on the bones of the project – project start-up all the way to project hand-over.

  • Start-up: now the project team is assembled and objectives are clear with detailed tasks the work can now begin on the project.
  • Execute: quite simply, the project team will be executing the activities defined.
  • Monitor: the project manager will be responsible for monitoring the progress of the project and addressing any roadblocks or concerns raised by the project team.
  • Completion: this should involved finalising of all of the deliverable’s, closing the project down (project team appraisals, paying bills, returning resources etc.)
  • Hand-over: the outcome of the project should be handed over to the end customer.


Now the project has been handed over to the customer the final stage of “Develop” takes place. It’s a relatively short stage but very crucial to understand the lessons learnt.

  • Review: the project is reviewed and if all stakeholders were satisfied with the results and the delivering of the project.
  • Feedback: the lessons learned of the project should be formally documented and reported to the sponsor. They are also used for to improve the delivery and efficiency of future projects.

Successful Projects

To get a flavour of successful projects that have been carried out and how the fared through the project life-cycle, I have gathered a couple of examples below that make for interesting reading.

Automotive Industry: Company reduces HR expenses by 66% in seven months.

London 2012 Olympics: The construction programme for London 2012

E2: Project Management

What is Project Management?

Project management is a topic that crops up in the E2 syllabus and the official definition from CIMA can be seen below:

“The integration of all aspects of a project, ensuring that the proper
knowledge and resources are available when and where needed, and above
all to ensure that the expected outcome is proceeded in a timely, cost-
effective manner” – CIMA Terminology

Project management is human activity that achieves a clear objective against an agreed timescale. The follow types of activity can be seen as “projects”:

  • A one off event.
  • A budget and set of resources to achieve a specific goal.
  • A project manager organising the project.
  • A clear objective with an agreed timescale.

The Project Management Institute (PMI)

Was setup in 1969 and is a non-profit professional organisation for project management and has around 500,000 members and counting.

They provide a framework and set of standards that project managers should adhere to. The PMI also offer a host of different courses and accreditation’s their members can take and they range from CAPM (Certified associate in project management) to the PMP (Project management professional).

For more information on the PMI you can visit their website here.

9 Key Areas of Project Management

The PMI have identified the 9 key areas of project management that need to be understood and managed correctly if projects are to be successful.

They are the core objectives of the project and they need to be met.

  • Scope: In order to provide clarity and ensure team members stay focused, a clear scope of what the project covers and doesn’t cover is crucial. Otherwise tasks can wonder off track and lead to non-value added time.
  • Time: Another key objective is time. The project should have a realistic time frame and act as a deadline for when activities need to be completed. It’s no use have an open ended project otherwise results will be never be achieved.
  • Cost: The project board and directors will be keen to keep costs under control too, otherwise the benefits gained in the project may not outweigh the expense occurred in delivering the results to the business.
  • Resources: The right resources and expertise should be allocated to the project otherwise the delivery will be in danger.
  • Quality: The end customer will want to receive the required quality they was set out in the deliverable’s. If the quality is not met then the project will deemed to be a failure.
  • Procurement: The materials purchases need to be kept under control and also the quality needs to the be maintained. A focus on procurement is crucial for the project manager.
  • Integration: The project should be well managed and integrated into the business at every possible stage. There needs to be sufficient control and well planned tasks.
  • Communication: Possibly the biggest point to consider, ALL stakeholders need to be well informed and communication to the end customer and business should be clear, concise and on a regular basis.
  • Risks: They need to be understood by the project manager and minimised at every opportunity.

Who are the Stakeholders?

The project manager is responsible for co-coordinating and communicating to the project stakeholders on a regular basis. But they also need to consider the importance of each one and act accordingly.

Here are a few of the stakeholders to be considered.

  • Project sponsor
  • Project board
  • End Customer
  • Board of directors
  • Project team
  • Suppliers

Stakeholders who hold little interest and power will require minimal effort and time invested into them, whereas the stakeholders with a lot of power should be at the forefront of the project managers mind.

Stakeholder Mapping

Mendelow’s Matrix is used to map the important of the stakeholder so the project manager can see what action he needs to take with each group.


For example, the end customer would be considered to have HIGH power and HIGH interest so, according to Mendelows Matrix, should be Managed Closely.

Whereas the project team would have HIGH interest but LOW power so they will would fall under the Keep Informed category. This of course is dependent on the project itself and the dynamic of the company but you get the idea on how this works!

Project Success

In order to achieve the goal of a successful project all of the points above need to be considered and the appointment of the project manager and coordination of the project team members are crucial.

Project Manager – needs to have excellent communication skills and will need to inspire his team to achieve the results required. They will also need to be able to present and communicate to a range of different stakeholders.

The Project Team – will need to be well organised and familiar with the project management process. They will also need to be team players and be able to identify problems and risks and build solid working relationships with a range of different departments and areas of the business.

If projects are beginning to wonder off track then the project manager can go the project sponsor or board and look for further support. This could be in the form of more resources, expert advice or a change in scope or deliverable’s of the project if they are deemed to be unrealistic.

All in all, the project team will need to have the right blend of experience, skills and be able to create a good team spirit to achieve the results required.