On the Subject of Project Life Cycles



By Dr. Kenneth Smith

15 August 2023

Ref: Robert Buttrick’s August 2023 commentary article[1] and Paul Giammalvo’s August letter-to-the-editor[2] about my June 2023 ‘Sophie’s Choice article[3]

Dear Editor,

After reading Robert Buttrick’s commentary on my superficial internet survey in the June 2023 issue wherein I critically highlighted the differences between various organizations project life cycle “phases,” I stand corrected!  PMI’s ‘Five Process Group’ construct — Initiate, Plan, Execute, Monitor & Control, and Closeout — served me well throughout my career; but I failed to remember PMI’s PMBOK is only a Guiderather than a universal standard — and other terminology could be more suited to differing organizational scope, perspectives, context, and/or customary usage.  As my colleague Paul Giammalvo also excoriated me – and others – at length, we should strive to be as grammatically (pragmatically) and semantically clear and correct as possible. Mea culpa.  I apologize for my lapse.

Moreover, my myopic observation that evaluation was beyond the Project Manager’s responsibility stemmed from both the conspicuous absence of evaluative tools & techniques in PMI’s PMBOK, 6TH edition of only five Process Groups, as well as my experience with numerous projects in many different sectors and countries throughout my career.  However, — as Robert enlightened me — although my experience has been extensive, my horizon was nevertheless not completely comprehensive!

Indeed, as he elucidated, some types of projects do include an “Operational Phase – or Stage:  viz. 


To read entire Letter to the Editor, click here

How to cite this Work: Smith, K. F. (2023). On the Subject of Project Life Cycles, Letter to the Editor, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/pmwj133-Sep2023-Smith-on-project-life-cycles-Letter-to-Editor.pdf

[1] Buttrick, R. (2023).  Response to Project Life Cycle * Sophie’s Choice, commentary, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VIII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj132-Aug2023-Buttrick-response-to-project-life-cycles.pdf 

[2] Giammalvo, P.D. (2023). On the Subject of Project Life Cycles, In Response to July Letter to Editor by Piney and June Article by Smith, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj132-Aug2023-Giammalvo-in-response-to-Piney-and-Smith-on-project-life-cycles.pdf

[3] Smith, K. F. (2023). Project Life Cycle * Sophie’s Choice: What’s in a Word? Commentary, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/pmwj130-Jun2023-Smith-project-life-cycle-sophies-choice-2.pdf