Product Life Cycle and Project Life Cycle

Project Life Cycle and Product Life Cycle

Project Life Cycle Product Life Cycle
Project Life Cycle Product Life Cycle

Product Life Cycle and Project Life Cycle

Project Life Cycle and Product Life Cycle are two significant concepts that every PMP aspirants must know. Although they sounds quite similar, they refer different concepts. But what is the difference between them ? Many PMP aspirants ask this question, therefore we decided to write this article to clarify the main differences between these two significant concepts.

Project Life Cycle

Mostly, projects are performed to create a product and once the product is created, the project comes to an end.

Whether you manage a large construction project or a software development project, you follow similar project management processes.  The project life cycle consists of sequential and overlapping phases which are specified and documented for the project management needs of the organization.

The Project Life Cycle typically includes five phases:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Controlling
  • Closing

Project life cycle phases will vary depending on the industry, the organization or the type of project that is being executed. Monitoring and controlling is a part of every process at different phases. All the phases have different characteristics. Projects of the same organization may implement the same phases according to the organizational needs.

Basically, the initiation phase involves creating the project charter and identifiying the project stakeholders.

In the plannig phase the project management plan which creates a roadmap for managing the project is created.

The executing phase involves building the project and performing the project scope.

Monitoring and controlling phase involves tracking project performance and making analysis to understand if the project is on track.

Finally the closing phase comes up which involves practices to hand over the project to the client.

Project Life Cycle Example

Assume that you have a project to create a new software. First, you create the project charter and identifiy the key project stakeholders. Then develop the project management plan and create the project schedule. After that the coding phase starts in which you write the codes of the software. At the end you hand over the software to the client and the project will be closed. This is a simple example for life cycle of a project.

Product Life Cycle

The product life cycle starts with the inception of the idea and ends when the product is expired. Because most of the time products have a limited life.

The product life cycle consists of sequential and non-overlapping phases which are specified and documented by the project management needs of the organization.

Below are the phases

  • Development
  • Introduction
  • Growth
  • Maturity
  • Decline

The development phase starts when the company generates the idea to create the product. This phase also includes the creation of the product.

Once the product is created the introduction phase comes in which the product is introduced to the market.

In the growth phase, potential customers become aware of the product. Therefore sales and revenues begin increase and profits begin to accrue.

In the maturity phase, sales are at the peak but sales growth slows down. During this phase the product gains a wide acceptance by the customers. However profits decrease due to the competition and advertisement costs.

Last phase is the decline phase in which growth becomes negative and profits decline. Because sales amount is not enough to support its production cost.

Depending on the product and market demand duration of product life cycle phases varies. For example development phase of a car may take two years. However maturity phase may take 50 years.

Not all products follow all five stages. Some products quickly decline right after their introduction. However there are many products still in their maturity stage such as COCA COLA.

Generally, The Product Life Cycle phases may involve a number of Project Life Cycles because the product life cycle continues to exist after the project is finished.

For better understanding, let’s review a simple example for the concept.

Product Life Cycle Example

Assume that your company generated an idea to create a software and sell in the market. Then, you completed the coding phase and created the product. First, you introduced this product to the market and started selling. After that sales and profits increased. Depending on the market demand and competition, your growth became negative and profits declined.

Key Differences

There are many differences between these two concepts. Below are a few differences between them.

• The Project Life Cycle may involve overlapping phases while The Product Life Cycle involves non-overlapping phases.
• The Product Life Cycle phases may involve many Project Life Cycles
• The Product Life Cycle focuses on the product . On the other hand, The Project Life Cycle focuses on the project.
• The Product Life Cycle depends on the market conditions and needs. On the other hand The Project Life Cycle may or may not depend the market conditions. The project life cycle plans the steps required to complete the project with specific goals.


Project life cycle and product life cycle are two fundamental concepts in project scope management. Different industries, organizations and project types involve different project life cycles. On the other hand, The Product Life Cycle focuses on the product and does not change based on the product type. Although they refer to different concepts, they are related to each other.

Understanding each concept and having knowledge about their use will help the project management practitioners to integrate both into their business processes with maximum effectiveness.

In this article we discussed project life cycle, product life cycle and their key differences. Note that this is a significant concept for the PMP Certification Exam.

See Also

Production Planning and Control System (PPC)

Project Scope and Product Scope

Project Life Cycle Phases for Project Management

External References


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