Workflows and Lifecycles work independent of each other, but they're also great when used together.  One does not replace the other- each has its own value in project management.

The biggest difference is is that the workflow acts as an automated to-do list, capable of sending out documents and emails, or reminding you to do so. Whereas the lifecycle displays what has already occurred. 

Another difference between the two is that you can only have one Lifecycle per project, but you could have many Workflows.

A Workflow is a step-by-step detailed list of tasks, whereas a Lifecycle mainly functions as a visual aid and shows the high level stages a client would go through. Think of a Workflow as a list of actions that need to be taken to complete a project or part of a project, and a Lifecycle as a tracking device for your progress on that project.
 
It is not unusual for a Workflow to have 15+ steps in it.  Whereas, a Lifecycle generally only has 4 to 7 stages.

Here, you can see how the stages in a Lifecycle could correlate to steps in a Workflow. 

The Lifecycle progress bar will reflect the progress of the project.  As the Workflow step is completed, the Lifecycle stage will turn green.

You do not need to assign a Lifecycle to carry out your Workflow, just as you do not need to assign a Workflow to track progress on your Lifecycle. However, when they join together, results are maximized. 



KeywordSearch:  Workflows, Lifecycles, Difference, Stage

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