Project Life Cycle for Service Providers


In the last few articles, we have been discussion a project management methodology, which we base on a project life cycle / project life span model. This methodology is from the perspective of the project ‘owner’, the organization that is requiring and developing the project, whether through internal resources or external providers. In today’s article, we cover a similar concept – the project life span as a model for a service provider.

We initially published this article on PM World Today, online journal, in August 2011 and we are republishing here on our blog.


Most service providers, any type of service, may follow a project life span approach to deliver a service to a client but when does their project life span start? For some it can be at contract award. However, can we treat the business development period, before contract award as a project?

At SUKAD we have developed a project management methodology, which we call: the Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects (CAM2P™). Can we use this methodology for a service project?

Why not?

This article explores how and a service provider or contractor can use a project management methodology (life span) during the business development period.

The Basic CAM2P™ Model


From the above basic model, we can customize it  to fit a Service Project, which we explain below.

The Service Project Model


Project Life Span for Service Project

In this graphics we divide the project into two major phases and each phase consists of many stages. One might also consider these two phases as two subsequent projects since the second part will not exist if we do not get the contract. We prefer to view the service provider work as two phases of the same project. These phases are:

  • Business Development Phase (before contract award), and
  • Service Delivery Phase (post contract award).

Please notice:

  • There is a gap between the stages, dedicated for client reviews. However, on the phase level we embedded the client decision period into the Business Development Phase, since this period is still typically led by the business development team.
  • Also notice that we are not showing all deliverables; only the three most significant one at the interfaces.
  • We are showing various gates; some of these might not be necessary.

Who will fill the Project Manager role

In reality, once the service provider management decides to proceed with a proposal, they are likely to appoint a business development manager (BDM) or a proposal manager. For ‘small’ service projects the BDM can actually fill the role of Project Manager and would be responsible for the project from the start all the way to closure. However, on larger and more complex projects, the BDM could handle project management until contract award and a new project management will take over after contract award.

Business Development Phase

Pre-Launch Stage

  • A request for proposal (RFP) come to service provider; this is equivalent to the idea statement in the basic model
  • The provider management can decide if they accept the RFP or not (SG1). The criteria for acceptance could consist of various factors.
  • Even though all service providers are to provide services to clients, they still need to consider if the project is feasible and if yes (SG2), provide input to business development to proceed.

Project Launch Stage

  • Management will appoint a project sponsor and a business development manager (BDM)
  • BDM will work with the prospective client to fully understanding the expectations and requirements; supported by professional services (PS).
  • Once requirements are clear, Business Development & Professional Services will need to align at SG3.
  • The BDM will develop the proposal with professional input from Professional Services.
  • PS will have the final review and decision on the proposal professional/technical aspects and BD will have the final say on the price.
  • Service Provider submits the proposal at SG4.

Client Review

  • The prospective client will take time to review the proposal
  • During this period there might be more clarifications and / or negotiation
  • Leading to either a contract award or a loss
  • If a loss, service provider proceeds to close their project
  • If a win, service provider will close the business development phase and project will go into the next service delivery phase.

Service Delivery Phase

Phase Launch / Set-up

  • Most often this stage might be nothing more than reviewing the contract to ensure that all is clear and no discrepancy from the proposal. For consultancy projects this might be more involved.

Definition-Design and Develop

  • If the contract is a standard package – then we skip this stage.
  • If not a standard package, then we might have to perform design or other work
  • Most of the effort here is by professional services.


  • Professional services will deliver the service per the clients’ requirement and contract.
  • This could be short or long stage
  • If required; maybe there is a need for post implementation follow up

Project Close

  • Determine if there are any close out activities for the clients (evaluations, close out report, etc.)
  • Prepare administrative & financial closure at service provider (internal)
  • Capture lessons learned
  • Finalize close out report
  • Time to celebrate and wait for the money!