I put some effort into creating a Project Management Life Cycle specifically for operationally centered projects like migrations, upgrades, and IT integrations. This model integrates very well with the frameworks discussed in this blog. The PMLC has four major activity groups and a separate governance process.

The matrix below details the differences and similarities between this OPs PMLC, the PMI’s PMBoK, and a possible Agile approach. This outlines activity groups and processes; deliverables and artifacts will vary accordingly.

Templates of my project Requirements Package and Example Launch Plan are posted for download, and are meant for use with any standard project model.

Note the best use information. This PMLC is recommended for some projects, but not all. The leadership team should decide on the most suitable project model based on the organization’s own needs.


My 21 Rules PMLC PMI PMBok Agile Approach
Best use:
Tailored to IT and Operations-centric projects like system upgrades and enhancements, migrations, and integration efforts.
Best use:
A tried and true standard style of project management.
Best use:
A framework for teams that need to quickly and tangibly respond to customer needs in an agile environment.
1. Propose *

  • Research
  • Justify 
1. Initiating

  • Integration Management
  • Communications
1. Initiate

  • Varies by context. For example, in Scrum, this is handled by simply maintaining the Product Backlog
2. Plan *

  • Specify & Prioritize
  • Estimate & Schedule 
2. Planning

  • The same management processes as above, plus:
  • Scope Management
  • Time Management
  • Cost Management
  • Quality Management
  • Human Resources
  • Risk Management
  • Procurement
2. Sprint Planning

  • Prioritize & Estimate
  • Add to Sprint
3. Execute *

  • Design & Build
  • Test & Remediate 
3. Executing

  • The same management processes as above.
3. Build, Test, Self-document, and Demo to business
4. Deploy *

  • Release & Validate
  • Transition
4. Closing

  • The same management processes as above.
4. Deploy & Validate
Governance *

  • IT Service Management:
  • Service Level Management
  • Availability, Capacity and Service Continuity Management
  • Financial Management
  • Service Desk
  • Incident, Problem and Change Management
  • Release Management
  • Configuration Management

  • The same management processes as above.

  • Daily standup/Scrum
  • Backlog of features
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

* activity groups and governance process are further described below.

The Propose activities research potential projects and justify them within the context of the organization’s goals and priorities. While an effort is being proposed, it is not yet a project; it is in the process of possibly becoming a one.

The Plan activities specifically detail an approved project’s requirements & scope, communication plan, team composition, budget, schedule and oversight.

The Execute activities design, build and test applications and processes defined in project requirements, with the oversight of project Governance.

The Deploy activities make project services available to customers and successfully transition support, monitoring, and all project artifacts to Service Management.

Governance oversees the other activity groups by providing structured processes for reporting, analysis, and management of project change, budget, risk & issue and progression through the project lifecycle.