What is a Life Cycle?

What Does Lifecycle Mean

When speaking of a life cycle or vital cycle, we commonly refer to the span of existence and usefulness of things , or of vitality in the case of a living organism .

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This period is made up of different stages, periods or transits. It generally begins with creation or birth, and culminates in death , obsolescence, or uselessness . From this point of view, absolutely everything has its own life cycle.

Therefore, this term can be used in very different areas of life, from biology (where it is called the biological cycle), divided in that case by type of living being , to marketing (where it is usually nicknamed CVP or PPC) and the world of productivity .

It can help you: Cell cycle

Life cycle of a product

In the world of marketing and commercialization, the life cycle of a product (CVP) is often spoken of to refer to the trajectory that describes the number of sales of a product, since it enters the market for consumption .

In other words, it is the evolution of the product's sales over time , as its consumption dynamics vary and, therefore, so do the sales, distribution and promotion strategies that encourage its purchase. in the different target markets.

This life cycle is different for each type of product . Some have fast launches with high sales in a short period, but most have long periods of maturity, that is, slow but sustained sales over time .

Eventually, when sales decline, the product can either be phased out and its production stopped / replaced by a different version, or it can be relaunched with some promotional effort or some modification that creates new enthusiasm and allows it to restart its cycle.

Life cycle of a project

In the administrative world, projects also comply with a specific life cycle, marked by a set of stages or phases that mark their natural evolution, as it takes shape and becomes a reality.

This circuit can always be interrupted previously, in case the project is abandoned, but if everything goes well, it will lead to the achievement of the general objectives with which it was originally devised.

The stages or phases of the life cycle of a project are:

  • Planning or initialization. This is the stage of studies and analysis prior to the start of the project, in which the objectives are drawn , their feasibility is evaluated, a route plan is drawn up and the basic implements necessary to take the first step are obtained.
  • Execution or development. This is the growth stage of the project, in which it is put into practice, following the previously planned steps, to make the project work. If the previous step was done carefully enough, the failure rates at this stage will always be lower.
  • Control or monitoring. Many projects do not reach this stage, only those that successfully complete the execution will then be able to begin to evaluate their own performance taking into account the variables of the case, such as time, effectiveness, etc., to make a diagnosis. Then, the system can be fed back to planfuture decision-making (a new project).
  • Compliance or closure. Once the previous stages have been achieved, the project will have been successful and can be closed, which is nothing more than the compilation of the pertinent conclusions , and the beginning of a new project to continue, update or correct the one carried out so far.

Life cycle of living beings

The length of the life cycle depends on the type of living being.

In the case of living beings of all kinds, the biological cycle is the circuit of existence that goes from coming into the world to death . It includes reproduction , that is, the gestation of new individuals of the species , which can be considered, at least from the biological point of view, the purpose of life.

The cycle can be very different depending on the type of living being. An animal, a plant, a microorganism , a fungus or a virus , all are living beings that fulfill cycles of different duration, some very short, others of many years. Sometimes they involve different habitats (such as amphibians , which have an aquatic and a terrestrial stage) or even different modes of existence prior to adulthood.

However, these life cycles all fulfill, in their own way, the following stages:

  • Birth. Living beings are born from other living beings, either arising from eggs laid in a strategic place, being born from the entrails of their progenitor, or as the result of a process of division of some nature, in the case of unicellular organisms . In any case, the living being is born first, and immediately begins to feed and grow.
  • Maturation. This is the stage of accumulation of resources in living things, in which they will grow to adult size, even if it means going through some deep physical changes first , as in the case of insects that go through metamorphosis. Throughout this stage the living being learns to live autonomously, to defend itself, it will control a habitat, and it will prepare to reproduce.
  • Reproduction . Individuals that have reached maturity , that is, that are successful adults, will begin their different reproductive dynamics, which aim to perpetuate the species. Some seek mates through various complex mating rituals, others build nests or dig burrows, produce pollen-filled flowers, or simply initiate the biochemical processes necessary to divide in two. Some organisms reproduce multiple times throughout their lives, others hardly ever do so once. It all depends on how long your life cycles are.
  • Death. The inevitable destiny of all life is to perish. When the life cycle time begins to run out, in what human beings call old age, the body begins to show its deficiencies, the result of wear and tear, and begins to be less able to sustain vital dynamics, leading to disease and eventually to the death.

Life cycle of a butterfly

As with other living things, the life cycle of the butterfly includes a metamorphosis.

The life cycle of a butterfly is similar to that of many other insects, and can be organized into the following stages:

  • The egg. When adult butterflies reproduce, they lay eggs of different shapes, within which a tiny caterpillar grows. These eggs have all the contents and nutrients that are needed for a new individual to grow, which, once it is time to be born, breaks the egg membrane and comes out into the world in the form of a small and hungry caterpillar.
  • The Caterpillar. The caterpillar is a larva, that is, the first autonomous stage of the butterfly's life, in which it has a cylindrical, elongated shape, of different colors and textures depending on the species. The unique mission of these multi-foot terrestrial larvae is to eat and grow, until they have accumulated enough food resources to begin their metamorphosis , that is, their transformation into an adult. To do this, she must change her skin several times before she is ready.
  • The chrysalis. When it is time to mature, the caterpillar looks for a suitable site and begins to weave a chapel, known as a chrysalis. There he locks himself up and isolates himself from the outside world, without the need for more food or water , as his body undergoes a rapid and violent series of changes.
  • The adult butterfly. Eventually the chrysalis begins to crack, and from its interior emerges an animal very different from the one that entered: an adult butterfly, winged, with a rigid and chitinous body, ready to live adult life, reproduce, and restart the cycle.

Life cycle of a plant

The life cycle of plants begins with germination.

Plants, in general, have long and slow life cycles, the stages of which depend on the type of plant we are talking about. Let us remember that some reproduce in a sexual way, through flowers, seeds and fruits, and others in an asexual way , through shoots, rhizomes, spores and other mechanisms.

But broadly speaking, the life cycle of plants goes through the following stages:

  • Germination. The seeds, spores or sprouts that have the necessary resources to be born, will do so gradually, through the slow development of the structures necessary to nourish themselves (roots) and then to photosynthesize (leaves).
  • Increase. New individuals grow and conquer space around them, as they photosynthesize and develop their body structures, such as branches, a strong trunk that supports it, etc. Depending on the species, this stage can take a few weeks, or dozens of years, and is never really interrupted. Plants grow until their last moment of life, or at least until the available resources allow it.
  • Reproduction. When biological resources allow it, the plants will begin their reproduction, either sexual or asexual . In the first case, it will be through flowers, as the wind or the action of animals (such as bees) allow the exchange of pollen and sex cells between one plant and another, producing fertilization. Then seeds will be produced and, in certain cases, fruits surrounding them, and thanks to animals that devour them, or to the action of the wind and other elements, these seeds will be spread over other territories, allowing new plants to be born far from the parent. In other cases, the plants will simply produce new shoots, or spores for the wind to scatter, or different asexual reproduction mechanisms that will start a new identical individual.

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Human life cycle

Each stage of the human life cycle has its own particular characteristics.

The life cycle of human beings is much simpler than that of other animals , since we do not go through any type of metamorphosis. Our life cycle is summarized in:

  • Birth. As we know, humans are born to our mothers, after they have passed through the nine months of pregnancy and are fully formed, ready to start an independent life. Then we are expelled from the body of our mothers through the birth canal, although still in a very defenseless state, because our body still requires a lot of care to reach the fullness of its functions.
  • Childhood. Childhood is our first stage in the world, and it goes from birth to entering adolescence . During this stage our body will constantly grow and get ready at full speed, so it is the ideal stage of learning : we learn to walk, we learn to speak, we learn to recognize ourselves in the mirror, and many other activities that will accompany us for life.
  • Adolescence . Eventually, a little beyond the decade of existence, our body will have grown enough to initiate a series of physical, mental and biochemical changes that will aim to prepare us for reproduction. Although adulthood in human terms comes much later, an adolescent is already physically ready to father another member of his species, and this is manifested in the physical differentiation of the two sexes (male and female), as well as a series of changes of a social, emotional and psychological nature, which will hardly finish occurring when we are well into adulthood, and which meanwhile tend to translate into a lot of impulsiveness and imbalance.
  • Adulthood. Maturation of the human body occurs somewhere between the ages of 20 and 30, although these limits are not always exact or precise. In any case, at this stage the human being begins to take his place in society and in the world, is capable of leading his life in a responsible way, and may have plans to reproduce. Adulthood is the most balanced stage of the human being, as their energy and rationality levels finally begin to equalize.
  • Old age. The decline stage of life, in which the body begins to resent its many years of use, and strength begins to decline. This stage usually occurs after 60 years of age, and depending on the individual it can be more or less gentle. Many people get sick or suffer from ailments.
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