Project Life Cycle vs Product Life Cycle for PMP Exam

Project Life Cycle vs Product Life Cycle for PMP Exam

One of the fundamental knowledge on project management is the understanding of project life cycle and its difference with product life cycle. Though both project life cycle and product life cycle consist of various phases, there are some marked difference between the two and Aspirants may be tested on the understanding of these differences.

Article Highlights

Project Life Cycle vs Product Life Cycle

  • Project Life Cycle: The Project Life Cycle is a collection of sequential/overlapping project phases which are determined by the project control needs of the organization.
    • Projects are usually divided into phases for enhanced overall control of the project by the organization. Project Life Cycle may include, but not limited to: \\
      • Analysis
      • Design
      • Development
      • Testing
      • Launch
      • Closure
    • The project phases may be sequential or overlapping.
    • Project life cycles will be dependent on the industry, the organization or the type of project.
    • Projects within an organization may adopt the same Project Life Cycle definition according to the Organization Process Assets.
  • Product Life Cycle: The Product Life Cycle is a collection of sequential and non-overlapping product which are determined by the control needs of the organization.
    • Product Life Cycle focuses primarily on the product (i.e. the deliverables of the project).
    • Product Life Cycle consists of sequential and non-overlapping phases including:
      • Ideation
      • Creation
      • Introduction
      • Growth
      • Maturity
      • Decline
      • Retirement
    • During a product life cycle, a number of Project Life Cycle may be involved to create, improve, upgrade, etc. the product to match market needs — projects are about bringing changes.

Illustrated Exam

Let’s take the publication of an exam prep book as an example in which the book is the product.

For the Product Life Cycle of the book, the following phases is involved:

  • Ideation — including marketing research, determining the focus/features of the book, sourcing a suitable PMP coach, etc.
  • Creation — the author(s) & editor(s) writing and editing the book and designer(s), typesetter(s) and printer(s) to actually make the book
  • Introduction — marketing and sales, customer services
  • Growth — the book becomes popular
  • Maturity — continual refinement / update based on the latest changes to the exam syllabus
  • Decline — may be due to PMP Exam prep online courses / app become more popular than a book
  • Retirement — cease to be offered on the market, maybe replaced by another type of resources or disappear altogether

During the Product Life Cycle of the Book, a number of projects may be involved:

  • Writing and editing of the Book
  • Designing and typesetting the Book
  • Printing and delivering the Book
  • Marketing the Book
  • Updating and revising the Book

Within each of these projects, different Project Life Cycle may be defined depending on actual manufacturing / control needs. For example, for the “Writing and editing of the Book”, the following phases may be involved:

  • Analysis of readers’ (Aspirants’) needs
  • Design of the arrangement and organization of the book
  • Development of the book content by the author(s)
  • Proof-reading of the manuscripts by the proof-reader(s)/editor(s)
  • Test using part/the whole book by selected Aspirants
  • Closure

How About Project Management Life Cycle?

In the PMBOK® Guide, the Project Management Life Cycle is defined as:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring & Control
  • Closing (phase or project)

Each project phase/project must involve all these project management process groups as defined by PMI in order to successfully carry out the project.

recommended PMP resourcesAdditional FREE PMP resources: 47+ Commonly Confused Term Pairs with detailed explanations. If you found this article useful, you may wish to reference other Commonly Confused Term articles.

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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