PMP Topics: Adaptive Life Cycle

There are three life cycle models that project management professionals rely on to complete a project: predictive (or waterfall model), iterative and incremental, and adaptive (or change driven method or agile method). The Adaptive Life Cycle is gaining popularity, especially in the IT industry. As you prepare for the PMP exam, here are some things you should know about it.

When Should You Use the Adaptive Life Cycle?

The Adaptive Life Cycle is advantageous when:

  • You expect rapid changes throughout the project
  • It’s difficult to define the scope and requirements of the project
  • The product isn’t understood very well
  • What Are the Stages?

    The Adaptive Life Cycle is similar to other models, because it follows the same stages:

  • Planning
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Code/ Testing
  • Sometimes, these stages happen sequentially. Other times, the stages overlap or occur parallel at times.

    How Does It Differ from Other Life Cycle Models?

    The Adaptive Life cycle consists of very rapid iterations. So, rather than completing the stages for the entire project, you need to complete the stages for each iteration. Thus, you restart the process every 2-4 weeks.

    The projects tend to have a fixed time and cost. The scope for the entire project, however, is not defined. Instead, the scope is broken down. Then, you prioritize each requirement to determine what you’ll focus on for each iteration.

    How Does the Rapid Iterations Impact the Project?

    One of the biggest advantages to the Adaptive Life Cycle is that it allows more change every 2-4 weeks without increasing costs. You determine the change during the planning stage for the following iteration. As an added bonus, while making changes in each iteration, risk naturally decreases.

    After completing each iteration, customers provide feedback. This gets customers more involved and engaged with the process. Also, the feedback allows changes to improve the product and increase customer satisfaction.

    Adaptive Life Cycle requires greater communication and collaboration. Since the process needs to be completed within a very rapid period of time, it’s important to get everyone involved and focused on meeting the goals and increasing customer satisfaction.

    As you prepare for the PMP exam, think about how you’ve used life cycle methods in your work. Maybe you work in an industry or on projects that wouldn’t benefit from the Adaptive Life Cycle. However, you’ve worked through the stages. Consider the similarities and differences with the Adaptive Life Cycle. Making these connections will help you remember this information for the exam.

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