Like other common manufacturing and service enterprises, projects are combinations of people, equipment, and material, designed to produce together certain predetermined results. Projects, however, are not characterized by a continuous output at a given steady rate such as in mass production and process enterprises. Instead, a project constitutes a transient system, aimed at the attainment of a single objective, followed by project termination. This article addresses the argument that common elements across diverse project life cycle patterns can be delineated and defined to an extent permitting the development of guidelines for the project manager which can be universally applied with a given degree of certainty. A four-phased life cycle concept is introduced, focusing on the pattern of manpower utilization. This is supported by (a) previously established management theory concepts, and (b) a twelve project sample-based survey.