All projects have a beginning and an end, which is usually a preset due date determined by the project team and management. The process from the beginning to end is the life cycle of the project. There are many different types of life cycles; however, the most common type is the stretched-S project life cycle. The stretched- S cycle has a pattern of slow-rapid-slow progress to the end of the project. The cycle begins with conception which is the start-up phase. During this phase a project manager is selected as well as the project team and initial resources; this is also the time when the important project program is organized.
Once all aspects of the conception phase is established the real work begins and momentum is gained quickly. The momentum continues until right before the project should be at the end of life. However, this is often the time that the project tends to drag. The textbook describes this as the stretched-S, slow-rapid-slow progress previously discussed. This is sometimes due to changes in resources and/ or the final tasks are not being completed in a timely manner. Once the hurdles of completing the final tasks are overcome the project can come to an end and the project is terminated.
The end results could be a new house or possibly a new version of computer software. Once a project is completed data such as lessons learned and metrics of time spent for resources to complete subtasks can be collected. In previous personal experience, the data is collected throughout the project life cycle from what the expected time will be and at the end of how long it actually took. These types of metrics are valuable when a similar project is presented in the future. Management c an properly align resources and plan around daily operations to keep things running smooth.