Project Management Terminology
This article is part of a series on project management terminology and the often confusing terms that are used out of context. Today, we update and re-publish this article on how to differentiate between phase and stage. A similar article we published on how to differentiate between task and project.
We recently had the honor to have Mr. R. Max Wideman publish a guest paper for us with the title, Redefining Project Management; which we are re-publishing as a series of blog articles. This is the third article in the series.
Project Phase and Stage
In a previous post, we discussed the terms Project Life Cycle and Project Life Span, two terms that we often use to refer to a project life from idea to closure. Which is the correct term? We really do not know since there is a major split in the opinions of project management practitioners on the right terminology. In the SUKAD project management methodology, we use the Project Life Span term since in our humble opinion it is the more representative term.
In today’s article, we address the terms project phase and stage. We will also touch on the methodology that we have developed since it involves both terms and which we shall demonstrate in a specific example later in this series of articles.
Phase or Stage
For better control, we divide the project life span (project life cycle) into time segments that we commonly graphically represent per the image below.
While we typically refer to these time segments as phases, others refer to these time segments as stages. North American English speakers prefer phase, with a stage as a subset of phase. However, UK English speakers prefer stage at this level.
However, in the SUKAD project management methodology, (CAM2P
These phases are:
- The Concept Phase (from idea to authorization)
- The Development Phase (from authorization to detailed plan; final approval)
- The Delivery Phase (from final approval to closure)
Further, in the CAM2P
The stages are:
- The Pre-Launch Stage (this is matching the concept phase)
- The Launch Stage (from authorization to project management plan)
- The Definition Stage (from project management plan to final commitment)
- The Implementation Stage (from a final commitment to handover)
- The Operation Readiness Stage (in parallel to implementation and expand to project acceptance; could even start before implementation)
- The Close Stage (from handover to closure)
Finally, the CAM2P
With this article and the previous one, we have defined a project lifespan model that we will use for comparison with the PMBOK process groups.
In the next post, we will discuss, the PMI process groups.
 In the latest update of the methodology, we now use Project Life Cycle since most practitioners are familiar with this term