Naked Project Management, The Bare Facts
by Dennis Lock, 2013
First, we take issue with the author's idea of a typical project life cycle - see Figure 2. We have no difficulty in recognizing the sequence of phases illustrated. However, for an instructional manual, we disagree strongly with some of the labeling. First and foremost, the "Total conception-to-death project life cycle" arrows at the top should more accurately be described as the product life cycle. It is true that in casual parlance the word "project" is often used to refer to the "product", as indeed the author has also done in the text, but this is very misleading for new project management learners.
Somewhere in, or between, phases 1 and 2 should be the delivery of the project's
Business Case. The Business Case is one of the most important milestone documents of a project. That's because it sets out the intent, scope and tentative cost of the project in such a way as to justify the project in terms of this cost versus its expected benefits.
In our view, this is where the project really starts because this is where the expenditure, specifically dedicated to the project, starts being spent. Therefore, the project life span stretches from around phases 1 and 2, and extends to the phase 6 shown in the Figure. Including a reference to the Business Case in the text and showing this project life span in the illustration would have been helpful. This way, the beginning and end of the project would then be more clearly identified, together with "all the bits in the middle".
Figure 2: The author's typical project life cycle
Under business plan the author suggests that: "Every business plan or study should look at how the main project activities will be funded."
This is followed by a useful list of eight suggestions. In our view, this is one of the responsibilities of the project's sponsor and certainly should be included in the project's business case. The bracketing of "The active project phases", the implementation or fulfillment phases, tends to imply that the project really starts with phase 3 (Design (practical) solution).
Unfortunately, such an assertion is rampant in the project management industry and should be thoroughly discouraged. That's because such an assertion misses the project's "front end" and this is where the source of most project failures can be found.
R. Max Wideman
Rodney Turner, author and editor of The International Journal of Project Management,
and Professor of Project Management at Erasmus University, Rotterdam is credited
with defining a project as having a beginning and an end "and a bit in the middle",
5. Lock, Naked Project Management p3.