The life cycle methodology that your project will undertake could take several different forms. The right one for you might not be the one that is used. Many businesses that are rigid in their business plan can sometimes do more harm than good. It is the job of the project manager to state what is needed when he presents the business case before the upper management.
Because of the differences in life cycle methodology, the knowledge of the project manager and his experience is vital to understand what will work. This knowledge is generally gained through experience on the job. Some projects would be best to follow the waterfall methodology, while the spiral may be better suited in others. More than just being aware of them but also knowing the differences between them, can help the project manager guide his work to a successful completion.
With software, the best known life cycle methodology is the Agile approach. This has many different team members placing input into the project constantly. This approach is very advantageous for this application, but in assembling an engine, the waterfall methodology is the only methodology that can be used in the time constraints of most projects.
The correct path that should be taken is best decided by the project manager. If their approach to the life cycle methodology is different than the standard one used by their business, then this should be a part of the business case that has to be presented to upper management as part of the approval process.
It is possible to use practically any life cycle methodology, but to achieve the project under budget and within the time constraints set at the beginning, the right approach should be chosen. This is the best approach, but it is not always known before the project is started. This is where the experience of the project manager is so valuable.
Deciding on the right life cycle methodology before your project begins can make a difference in the results. Think about this decision very carefully.