Breath of Clarity

Environmental Project Management Discussion #1: A

Although the Project Life Cycle (PLC) chart and two figures all depict a project’s course, each graphic brings a different focus based upon its axes. For my project, I would use all of the figures mentioned in the prompt, as well as Figure 1.5.

Figure 1.3 reveals percent of project completed over time. To manage a project from beginning to end, I would start by learning from Figure 1.3 because it essentially shows a slow start is one of the project life cycle’s typical characteristics. It is interesting the stretched S-pattern towards the goal is due to the fluctuating levels of resources during the successive stages of the life cycle (Meredith et al. 2018, 17). So, I would want to prepare for that while devising the project’s schedule.

Figure 1.4 tracks the level of effort required to complete each phase. For scheduling, I am less so concerned with the level of effort it takes to complete the tasks relative to the time it takes to complete the tasks. So, I would use Figure 1.3 or 1.5 for scheduling. However, for budgeting, Figure 1.4 is useful because level of effort is usually measured as resources expended per unit of time (Meredith et al. 2018, 17). Still, though, per recommendation of the text, I would take Figure 1.4 with a grain of salt as it is strategic to increase effort in the early stages to improve the chance of project success (Meredith et al. 2018, 17). Investing resources early will help mitigate some potential risks. Still, there are going to be some project risks difficult to foresee. I would use Figure 1.4 to check whether my budget is on track. After measuring the health of the execution according to budget, I can revise the plan. I would also increase the amount of effort at the beginning of Figure 1.3’s “finish” phase because, at that point, I would have a clear understanding of the resources I have left in the budget. Figure 1.5 shows a project can end definitively instead of gradually. So, I can select efficient means to finish the project.

While, Figure 1.3 and Figure 1.4 both take time into account, the PLC chart only defines the tasks within phases. The PLC chart and Figure 1.4 both separate the project into five distinct phases while Figure 1.3 only separates the tasks into three phases. The PLC chart is a specification of the x-axis in Figure 1.4. In the case of a large, complicated project, I would place contents from the PLC chart into the x-axis of Figure 1.4. It would reveal the resources required to complete each task in the PLC chart. Finally, I would also use Figure 1.3 to check my final schedule, as I can re-divide the tasks from the PLC chart into three sections instead of five and be certain time is appropriately allocated. Combining foci of the three visuals aids is useful in grasping a comprehensive understanding of the process.


Meredith, Jack R., Scott M. Shafer, and Samuel J. Mantel. Project Management: A Strategic Managerial Approach. 10th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2018.

“Project Management Life Cycle.” In University of Denver. 2020.

Comment by Professor Pasquini:

True, resource consume budget. They need to be kept in balance. We will cover “crashing” where more resource than planned are needed to complete a task.

Comment #1:

Original Post by Janice Lauria:

Compare these phases with the phases shown in figures 1-3 and 1-4. What are the differences and the similarities? In your response consider how a project is or should be managed from beginning to end. Also consider such issues as project risks, resources needed and “level of effort” during the project’s life cycle, measuring the “health” of the project during it’s lifetime, and any other issues of importance to the management of a project from its beginning to its end.

For simplicity in this discussion, I will be referring to figures 1-3 and figures 1-4 found in Chapter 1 as the “Book” charts from henceforth and the supplemental reading chart at the “PLC” chart. The book charts and the PLC chart have a few commonalities and differences that reveal the resources needed to run an effective and efficient project. In the book chart, these charts focus much more on visual time versus % completion of the project. In addition, the book charts focus on the concept that if goals of scope, time, and cost are not met at certain times throughout the process/life of the project, then time and progress fail. One interesting feature of this chart is the fact that it focuses on the correlation between effort and and the project’s life cycle process. It reveals that, most of the time, effort usually results in progress. This also rings true of the fact that the more effort put into the life cycle, the less risk there is, which is not revealed in the PLC chart (Meredith et al. 2018, 16-17). Though the PLC chart lacks a visual representation it makes up in detailed written and executed plans for the resources needed to execute the project. It drills down into the detailed scope of each phase of the project based on what each phase of the project needs to focus on to reach the scheduled goal. Though it lacks the effort and risk analysis, it goes into more detail based on the five phases (“Project” 2020). The main similarity between both of these charts is the idea that they measure the health of the life cycle throughout. Whether you take the visual approach from the book or you take the written phase plan from PLC, they both use different resources to measure the health of the life cycle of the project. Either way, they both end up measuring the present goals of the project which are scope, time, and cost throughout its life. All projects should be managed from beginning to end with these features in mind and considering the health of its project life cycle no matter what representation one chooses to use.


Meredith, Jack R., Scott M. Shafer, and Samuel J. Mantel. Project Management: A Strategic Managerial Approach. 10th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2018.

“Project Management Life Cycle.” In University of Denver. 2020

My Comment:

Hi Janice,

I agree with the emphasis you’re placing on a key difference between the book charts and PLC charts being the presence of a graph versus a list to depict the project’s course. Since the book charts are represented in graph form, both are showing a dependent variable’s progression over the independent variable of time. Even though the PLC chart is represented as a table with columns, it is essentially an organized list. It also does not take time and cost into account. As Professor Pasquini mentioned, I imagine the PLC chart would be useful for a large, complicated, lengthy project because the PLC chart format’s strength is planning scope.

I am interested in looking closely at the statement from your initial post saying, “the book charts focus on the concept that if goals of scope, time, and cost are not met at certain times throughout the process/life of the project, then time and progress fail”. I saw the book charts more so as a way to estimate the amount of time and resources respective phases of the project take. Particularly in the face of unforeseen risks arising mid-way through the project, I consider the chart can be adjusted as a manager progressively completes the tasks. For example, if a project manager increases purchasing of resources at the beginning stages, then the level of effort will be less during the execution phases than originally planned. Measuring the health of a project throughout its lifetime is opening the possibility to change the chart as time goes on and deciding to keep going despite things not progressing as planned.

You bring up a great point in terms of the chart’s assumption that effort equates to progress. I see investment evaluation as being a key role of the project manager. Insofar as any illogical investment decision is carried out, it can bring massive delay to the project and disrupt budget planning for the rest of its duration. A paper from the Journal of the Operational Research Study investigates why and how investment evaluation should be embedded in project management using the example of organizations purchasing information systems (Irani 2010). The essay also touches on challenges facing project managers seeking to evaluate their investments (Irani 2010). The paper then presents investment evaluation as its own four-phased process within the entire life cycle (Irani 2010). In order to prevent delay, a project manager needs to consider the time it takes to carefully refine budgeting decisions throughout the cycle.


Irani, Z. 2010. “Investment evaluation within project management: an information systems perspective”. The Journal of Operational Research Study. 61 (6): 917-928.

Response by Janice Lauria:


Great points. I think either view is correct. No matter what way we view the charts in the book, it appears that the charts can be adjusted and manipulated via the manager as project continues through its life to accomplish the goals that are intended and the challenges it faces. To your point and based on the article you provided to, much of this is going to be based on a multitude of factors including but not limited to risk, upfront investment, and the originally-intended goals of the project. Great discussion and I agree with you that there are different ways to evaluate these charts to ultimate lead to completion of the project (Meredith et al. 2018, 20).


Meredith, Jack R., Scott M. Shafer, and Samuel J. Mantel. Project Management: A Strategic Managerial Approach. 10th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2018.

Comment #2:

Original Post by JoAnn Rizkallah:

The project management life cycle consists of five phases. Those phases are initiation, planning, execution, control, and close out. Figure 1-3 covers the same basic premise for a project life cycle to include a startup phase, organization phase, work phase, and end phase (Meredith et al. 2018). This figure displays the cycle with a slow start, quick completion of work or momentum, and a slow finish. This figure seems to linger in the execution phase, while the control and close out phases are delayed. Figure 1-4 shows projected effort versus time in cycles. The cycles identified here are conception, selection, planning/scheduling/monitoring/control, and evaluation/termination (Meredith et al. 2018). This figure seems to linger more in the execution and control phases with a sharp decline in the close out. Both figures are closely related to the five phases as there is a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end. However, the time spent in each phase and effort seems to be lacking. It is not as gradual or smooth transition in either figure. They seem to peak and sharply decline or vise versa.

All projects carry risk. Each project management team should complete a project risk assessment and have a solid project risk management plan. Part of a risk management plan is making sure the stakeholder is aware of the risk and prepared for the possibilities. Risk is categorized by probability and impact to the project and recommendation on handling each risk is detailed. The risk can be mitigated, transferred, or accepted. Either way a project manager must consider risk for each project.

To measure the health of a project a project manager should deploy a quality assurance plan. This plan can help the project manager measure quality at defined stages and ensure the project is being completed to the expected level. If a predefined plan is followed, there is less likely to be a surprise at the end of the project. The project manager has the opportunity to ensure quality is met by continually measuring quality throughout the project life cycle. That also give the project manager the ability to correct any problems that may arise before the end of the project.

Meredith, Jack R., Scott M. Shafer, and Samuel J. Mantel. Project Management: A Strategic Managerial Approach. 10th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2018.

My Comment:

Hi JoAnn,

Particularly, the peak and sharp decline in figure 1.4 is interesting. The level of effort decreases so sharply after the peak considering figure 1.3 depicts a relatively slow finish compared to the middle phases. The text explains it in great detail comparing figure 1.4 to figure 1.5. The peak is important to discuss because it highlights a key difference between projects. Some projects end without being dragged out as shown in figure 1.5. However, in the case a project is being dragged out, why is more effort not put into the end of the project to speed it up? Or, is the reason for delay at the end of the process less so solved by putting more effort in compared to the middle phases? Perhaps, at the end of a project, the budget may be scarce and not allow for additional resources to speed up the rest of the process. Further, as mentioned in the post above by Alexis, the project can end in a variety of ways causing additional work to be needed at the site