Sunday, 20 February 2011

Project Life Cycles and Project Management

This used to be a simple question - not providing simple answers though - of understanding the planning, the design, the build and the implementation phases of a project. These underpinned a company's approach to developing projects. They were based heavily on IT inspired phases of software development as this was the closest to interactive media development.

So for the early years, the Waterfall approach dominated and for many this approach still does. If you need reminding about the Waterfall life cycle take a look at SoftDevTeam's site and their Life Cycle Selector software tool description. We don't know anything about the tool itself, by the way, but the diagrams and summary advantages and disadvantages descriptions of the spiral, waterfall, incremental, evolutionary prototyping, rapid application development, and V-shaped models of software life cycles , are illuminating. Some are new for us but then we've not been in pure software development.

Check out more definitions of models at Business E-solutions.

The planned and designed inherent Waterfall approach is iterated by Alex Baker recently in Life Cycle Stages of Website Design Process, but it is dependent on the client stating the business goal and requirements – something that proves pretty hard most of the time.
Another take on a life cycle comes from Jason Montague, An Agile Project Lifecycle, and he has a visual denoting the process. He also explains difficulties he's met in organisations when trying to explain the usefulness of using Agile processes. Remember that Agile tried to address the 'refining' of requirements that often occurs during interactive projects. The strict Waterfall software approach did not allow such changes and caused conflict between client and developer, so Agile techniques may help overcome some of the difficulties.

There are masses of Waterfall versus Agile debates still going on in cyberspace if you care to Google it, but few solid answers about the life cycle of an interactive project whether website, mobile, iTV or whatever. Shame, I'll keep looking periodically though and let you know if I find any answers. Meanwhile, how is anyone managing any project!

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