The project lifecycle is a frequently discussed topic in project management practices. In this post, we share a real-life example of a project lifecycle related to the development of a new innovative product.
The life cycle is created by a real student enrolled in a project management course and is maximally tailored to the needs of the initial activities of each project management office. The study presented also contains some product-oriented details and is an important part of the overall picture of the project lifecycle in this example. The course is regulated by The Global Regulatory Network and is part of BVOP.org’s Certified Project Manager program.
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The project lifecycle – Sections, phases, and descriptions
1. Analyzing markets and consumers and creating a business model
Defining target groups. The requirement for a smart washing machine excludes certain age groups. The requirement to integrate only with the App Store is very restrictive, given that in certain countries Apple products are not very common, and on the other hand, the trade war of Huawei, Samsung, and Apple (or iOS vs. Android) leads to an additional segmentation. This staging leads to product placement, highly dependent on Apple’s restrictions. At this stage, a recommendation should be made to remove the App Store-only integration restriction and include the Google Play Store.
On the other hand, developing your OS leads to many difficulties, further maintaining a team with non-company specific activity, dependency, as well as mandatory maintenance, OS development, policies for modification, and updating. The existing OSs should be re-examined and a recommendation should be made for the possible use of a standard solution (if any, meets the expected price framework, does not lead to dependencies, etc.)
2. Graphical interface, touch screen, and prototype
This type of UI has to meet several parameters – pad resistance, response, moisture and dust standards, design, and ease of use. Directly related to OS development and product design. Manufacturers need to be identified, competitor models analyzed. Prototyping is a hybrid process that depends on the chosen business model, component suppliers, OS development, and UI. These are concurrent processes that must be carefully planned with the necessary tolerance and buffers. After the prototype production, internal functional tests, stress tests, user tests with users of different age groups should be planned.
3. Native operating system and the ability to install additional applications to it from the App Store
In the decision to create your OS, because of the hypotheses above, the RV of the product and the ROI of local resource development and outsource must be analyzed. For the outsource option, a procedure must be initiated through the appropriate purchasing/logistics department. Development, testing, and commissioning must be planned in detail. This is one of the potential stoppers in the project.
4. Remote control capability
This is a requirement associated with many risks that need to be identified, anticipated, assessed, and mitigated. Providing access to the laundry in question means being connected to the Internet in any way, which implies the availability of internet and customer connectivity, compliance with network security policies, protection against various types of network attacks, and prevention of possible theft of personal data and so on. These requirements are governed by ISO 270001, GDPR, NIS, and other specific US and other countries, so it should be assessed in compliance to analyze that it is better not to limit the remote control to the home network. If not, the cost of penetration testing, certification, new Security officer positions and more should be provided.
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Another example of a project life cycle
We share another sample project life cycle in the form of a list of key activities. After the list, the student has described in detail the activities and the necessary work.
- Marketing research
- Preparation of technical documentation
- Creating a product user interface
- Production of touch screen
- Operating system programming
- Mobile application programming
- Create an ad
- Product delivery
1. Marketing Department to conduct marketing research on consumer attitudes, reviews, and results from service centers concerning users of washing machines of modern brands and technologies. To prepare a comparative analysis of the market prices of modern models of washing machines in terms of functionality, reliability, and customer satisfaction.
2. The development department together with the design department to prepare documentation for the creation of the new product model with the relevant parameters, dimensions, and associated equipment to complete and describe the sequence of functions that the machine will perform.
3. The graphical user interface (GUI) is a type of user interface through which users interact with electronic devices by presenting visual indicators.
The marketing department to conduct market research and launch a procedure for selecting a supplier to develop a specific graphical interface that meets the requirements set for simplification and convenience of the choice of functions and the combination of different options for the operation of the washing machine.
4. The touch screen is a display device that allows the user to interact with the electronics of a machine or appliance using a finger or stylus. They are a useful alternative to the mouse or keyboard navigation in the GUI (graphical user interface).
The Marketing Department to conduct market research and launch a procedure for selecting a supplier for a touch screen that is compatible and meets the requirements and format of the graphical user interface, which will be developed specifically for the needs of the project.
5. In parallel with the development of the user interface, to assign to a partner the development of its own operating system for the product with the possibility of remote control. The capabilities, options, and functions of the operating system to be defined by the development department of the Company. To organize synchronized cooperation between the developer of the graphical interface, the developer of the operating system, and the development department in order to meet the deadlines set in the project plan and defined by the project management processes.
6. We have the modern opportunity to take advantage of the functionalities of smartphones and tablets to create an exceptional sense of usefulness, pleasure, and aesthetics for our customers when using a new generation of the product.
The Marketing Department will conduct market research and launch a vendor selection procedure to build a complete concept for developing a mobile application in the App Store, which will allow remote access to all operating system functions and work with the washing machine remotely. You will get real information about the processes that the machine performs at any given time.
The selected provider to provide everything necessary for the publication of the mobile application in the App Store, ensuring constant support of the mobile application after its publication.
7. The Marketing Department to prepare advertising materials and to organize an advertising campaign in the media and the press, after confirmation by the Sales Department of the readiness to place on the market the new generation of the product.
8. Logistics Department to prepare the logistics routes for delivery of the product after it is manufactured.
The work was done by a student for his preparation for BVOP project management certification. Reference: BVOP Certified Project Manager Review, https://www.businesspad.org/review-of-the-bvop-certified-project-manager-program/
More references: How to become a certified project manager, World Forge Magazine – ISSN 1933-8848, ISSN National Centre for the USA, https://www.worldforgemagazine.com/how-to-become-certified-project-manager/ and The new certified project manager of the project, 2020, https://mpmu.org/certified-project-manager-of-the-project/
Address from the project manager to the teams
My name is Nicholas Jordan and as you have undoubtedly understood, we will work together to realize the project. A project that for one reason or another is developing far beyond the expectations of both customers and the company’s management. Therefore, my task is to help this project to start and in the end to satisfy all parties, including you. I know it sounds presumptuous and pretentious, but I hope, along with your support, of course, that we can do it. It makes sense for each of you to ask yourself how I intend to achieve this.
First of all, I hope to improve communication with the client so that the exact requirements and wishes of the client reach you. In the short time that I have been here, I have learned that this has been one of the main problems so far, and this, in my opinion, has had a very unfavorable effect on the project executors themselves – ie. on you. Because when you don’t know exactly what is required of you and you don’t have feedback on how much work is done – the motivation of each of you to fall is normal, the desire to work too, and as a final result, the project begins to lame. Secondly, I hope that by better defining the requirements, setting reasonable deadlines, and allocating tasks in a way that makes the most of each of your abilities, things will work out. This is expected to be one of my tasks, but I want to tell you that I will rely heavily on you and your feedback. When there are ambiguities – do not be afraid to ask me to clarify them – whether with customers or with management.
If you think that the deadlines are impossible, or the tasks are meaningless – I am always open for discussion. I am far from thinking that I am sinless and I do everything in the best way (and there is hardly anyone who is. In fact, I knew one, but he lives at the 4th kilometer). So don’t hesitate to point out my mistakes. Ultimately, the task of all of us is to create a product that, if we succeed, I am convinced will increase your satisfaction, not just mine. And as I said a moment ago, everyone makes mistakes, so you’ll probably make them too.
So don’t get angry when I point them out to you and I want you to know that I’m doing it, not because I don’t like or hate you, but because I want us to achieve the common goal. Perhaps this is the time to say that I can understand and accept every mistake – whether out of ignorance, or in a hurry, or from distraction or something else. The only mistakes I do not justify are those of laziness and disinterest. And third – it is very important – not only for me but also for the clients and the management – to receive feedback on the progress of the project.
That is why I want to hold a regular meeting at the beginning of each week, where we can discuss the current tasks, difficulties, and obstacles, to plan the work during the week. Accordingly, at the end of the week, I would like each of you to send me a report on what has been done during the week, problems that need help or some assistance, even if it is possible to anticipate these things a little ahead of time so that we can solve them. – at least some of the problems – even before we get to them and thus not to waste time. Again, if there is something that affects your work and interferes with you, you do not have to wait until Friday to write it in the report or Monday to discuss it at the general meeting. You can come to me at any time. And do not doubt that I will come with you during the week to discuss the current details of the project.
I want to return to our common goal – to complete the project and create a product that our customers will receive. And the main burden of its implementation will fall on you. Because you are the people who create the proclamation. I will not create it, my boss will not create it, the owner of the company will not create it either. Or the client. You are the people whose work people will appreciate over time.
But do not underestimate the role of other parties in this project. I know you think their work is less important than yours. It is certainly less in volume – you are more people after all – but I would not dare say that it is insignificant. Without them, we would not be able to start working on this project at all. Both the client and the owners have invested a lot of time, effort, and money in the implementation of this project. So my wish is for them to remain satisfied. So when things don’t work out for one reason or another, I’ll inevitably discuss it with them. And if we don’t give our best, and that’s clear, and customers and management see it, don’t expect me as a foster mother to always protect you.
Finally – if I may summarize – the steps to bring this project out of the impasse where it currently stands:
Clarifying customer requirements and discussing all issues, current constraints, and any influencing factors with management and the client, as well as with their implementing teams.
Breaking down the tasks and their distribution by teams, as well as setting deadlines for their implementation.
Conducting regular meetings and progress reports on the project.
I know it sounds ambitious, I know some of you have a bitter experience from before. But let’s open a new leaf and start fresh. I cannot promise you that this product will become the greatest product in the world. I can’t even promise that we will sell a product at all. But I can promise you that if each of us (including me) gives the best of himself, the work will be much easier for everyone, the pleasure of work and of what has been done will increase. The probability of creating something working, in the end, will increase enormously, which will please both the customers as users, and the owners – as investors in its creation, and you – as the main contractors.