Six phases of a big project

The six phases of a big project is a cynical take on the outcome of large projects, with an unspoken assumption about their seemingly inherent tendency towards chaos. It can be seen as a parody of the traditional process groups in a project lifecycle. The list is reprinted in slightly different variations in any number of project management books[1] as a cautionary tale.

One such example gives the phases as:[2]

  1. Unbounded enthusiasm,
  2. Total disillusionment,
  3. Panic, hysteria and overtime,
  4. Frantic search for the guilty,
  5. Punishment of the innocent, and
  6. Reward for the uninvolved.


  1. ^ Popik, Barry (16 September 2011). "Six Phases of a Project ("Enthusiasm, disillusionment, panic…")". Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  2. ^ Holland, Winford E. (2001). Red Zone Management: Changing the Rules for Pivotal Times. WinHope Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-9671401-8-8.