Life Cycles

Demian Entrekin · August 30, 2010 · Short URL:

how a customer life cycle compares with a project life cycle


How different is a customer life cycle from a project life cycle? Or, said another way, how similar are these two cycles? 

I’ve been working on a concise management model for a customer life cycle, and I invariably compare this to it’s relative, the project life cycle. Here’s a visual of the customer version: 


From Business


The obvious similarity; they both are macro processes for tracking the specified entity from cradle to grave. But there are other similarities that we can sift through: 

>> they both provide a rigorous management framework that offers step-by-step check points for defining, understanding, prioritizing, and assigning resources to create value 
>> they both create clear break points, or milestones, that allow us to make sure that we are not continuing to throw good resources after a bad effort 
>> they both provide clear go/no-go break points which force the management stakeholders to decide what’s in and what’s out 
>> they both are geared toward making sure that certain criteria are met that align with the goals of the organization – this one requires that the actual criteria are defined and followed: is this a good customer for us? Is this a good project for us? 
>> perhaps most importantly, if your business is to deliver projects, then one could easily argue that the project life cycle is simply a sub set of the customer life cycle; in other words, when you engage with the customer, you then engage in a sequence of one or more project life cycles 

They are certainly more similar than they are different. At least that’s how I see it. Which then leads me to wonder why more sales execs don’t live and learn the project life cycle. 



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