Mudassir Iqbal

In the project world, understanding the differences between Project Life Cycle, Product Life Cycle and Project management process groups is crucial for successful execution. The Project Life Cycle encompasses the stages a project goes through, from initiation to closure, while the Product Life Cycle refers to the stages a product undergoes, from development to retirement. Each cycle has distinct phases and deliverables, which impact project planning and execution strategies.

Product Life Cycle

Product progress through a series of stages from beginning to growth and decline/retirement. This structure is referred to product life cycle which is often associated with changes in the marketing situation. It highly impacts the marketing strategy and the marketing mix. The product life cycle signifies the number of profits a product produces over time, from its initiation to the point where it is finished.

five stages of a Product Life Cycle

The five stages of a Product Life Cycle comprise of development, introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.

During the development phase, the product is not sold yet, though there is no profit generated. In the introduction phase, sales are relatively less since people have just tried out the new product. Eventually, sales will increase in the growth phase while the peak of sales is during maturity level. Ultimately, the decline phase occurs with the shift of market trends or if better alternatives become available. There is no definite time for the lifecycle and it might take months or more. For instance, a popular electronic device may remain in the maturity phase for years.


A product life cycle is a theoretical map of where a product’s sales are and how they can be supervised. If a business believes its product is stepping into the decline phase, it will perhaps develop a plan either to revitalize the product or terminate production. However, this is not intrinsic in the product life cycle. On the contrary, a project life cycle refers to an action. It maps out the steps required to complete a project with certain targeted results. Keep in mind that the product life cycle concept has some limitations. A product doesn’t always follow a smooth and foreseeable bell curve from starting to decline phase. At times, a product may appear to be in the decline phase and subsequently return to the maturity phase. This can be primarily due to a competitor leaving the market or a successful project renovation strategy. Considering the project life cycle management, you always need to look out for scope creep. This is the potential of projects to continue to grow in breadth to the phase where they never get completed.

Relation of Project, Product and Project Management Process Groups

Product, Project and Project Management
Product, Project and Project Management

Project Life Cycle

A project life cycle is the series of phases that a project passes through from its start to its completion. Project Life Cycle is typically divided into four stages i.e. initiation, planning, execution, and closure. This four-step process is followed by almost all project managers when going through these stages of project completion. Certain methodologies even comprise of the fifth phase, regulating or monitoring. The path takes the project from the beginning to the end. The phases can be sequential, iterative, or overlapping.

Phases are time-bound, with a start and end or control point (sometimes referred to as a phase review, phase gate, control gate, or other similar terms). PMBOK 6

This Standard Project Life Cycle provides you with a certain framework for effectively managing projects within a business. Project managers often conduct detailed research to figure out the best practices for running projects. It is found that following a Project Life Cycle is crucial for any services organization.

The project life cycle has some characteristics

  1. Risks are higher at the beginning. Stakeholders have a higher influence at the beginning of the project
  2. Cost and Resource requirements are low at the beginning of the project

Project Life Cycle and Project Management Process groups

Project, Project Management Process Groups
Project, Project Management Process Groups

Project Management Process Groups

Project Management Processes are developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) comprising of five processes to acquire the unique requirements of the project.

Project Life Cycle


  1. The product life cycle may not have a definite end whereas the Project life cycle has
  2. The product life cycle may have many projects under it.
  3. Product life cycle phases do not overlap or iterate/repeat whereas Project Life Cycle can be Predictive, Iterative, and Adaptive
  4. The project life cycle differs by industry, organization, and project type and encompasses sequential and overlapping phases.
  5. The product life cycle is longer than the project life cycle
  6. Process Groups are not Project Life Cycle Phase
  7. Each Project phase could require all the Project Management Process Group processes

Further Readings

  1. PDCA 
  2. Agile Project Management

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