The Project Management Timeframe
One thing, perhaps the only thing of significance, that distinguishes a project,
from corporate "Business-As-Usual" (BAU) is that a project has a beginning at
some time and certainly has an ending, with a lot of work in between. The time
spanning between the start of the project and its completion is the project's
life span. This life span is linear
and progressive simply because elapsed time cannot be repeated. You can, however,
repeat what you do by consuming more time. That's not a time cycle, that's a repetition
So the issue now is: What activity?
Section 3.10 of ISO 21500, quoted at the beginning of this paper, is quite
explicit about what to expect in the realm of managing a project any project.
In other words, these expectations apply to all projects as described in ISO 21500.
But clearly that's not the whole story. What about the "deliverables" referred
to in the penultimate paragraph of ISO 21500, Section 3.10 quoted earlier? That
"By the end of the last phase, the project should have provided all
deliverables" (Emphasis added.)
What we know from practical experience are several key considerations such
- The work involved in creating the "deliverables",
including any necessary intermediate deliverables
is the essential part of the project and typically the largest part and the most
- This work of creating the deliverables varies widely in content according
to the "Area of Application" of the project in question.
- The potential "Areas of Application" are many and various, amounting to many
hundreds, if not thousands.
- Each Area of Application calls for a wide variety of skills, skills that must
be applied in some optimum sequence to be effective and efficient in producing
the required product.
- The application of this "optimum sequence" is increasingly referred to as
the "Methodology" most
suited to the creation of the required product.
- Moreover, depending on the group of skills
involved, different approaches to managing the work are required.
The "considerations" described above make it clear that in the course of any
project we have two main sets of "management" to contend with. The first set is
the management of the project and its particular set of success criteria.
The second set is the management of the creation of the desired product and its
success in terms of potential for benefit creation and the satisfaction of the
In practice, the design of the "Project Life Span" most suited for corporate
control purposes is not the same as the "Methodology" for creating the required
product to customer satisfaction. Nevertheless, the two must work in tandem, with
the Product Methodology sequence filling in the gaps in the sequence of Project
Life Span control.
7. The Project
Life Span is labeled in much literature as the "Project Life Cycle". This label
is illogical because time is not repeatable.
8. Or, in the words of PMI's PMBOK Guide, "to most projects most
of the time."
9. ISO_21500_2012_E-Character_PDF_document.pdf, Section 3.10,
p8 (last paragraph but one).
10. Deliverables may also be referred to as "products" or "outcomes"
or similar, the production of which are the whole purpose of the project in the
11. Often referred to as "Enabling products" or "Enablers".
12. As author Patrick Hankinson suggests in his paper maxwideman.com/guests/explained/note.htm
there are more than 20 such "Methodologies" See "Choosing the right
13. These skills may vary from "brawn to brain work" with the
output varying from Tangible to Intangible. These characterizations only scratch
the surface of these study areas of Stakeholder Management.
14. That is, On Time, Within Budget, and To Specification and
Customer Satisfaction (or words to that effect).
15. That is to say: Congruent with the Phases in the Project