Build Lifecycle

Maven 2.0 is based around the central concept of a build lifecycle. What this means is that the process for building and distributing a particular artifact (project) is clearly defined.
For the person building a project, this means that it is only necessary to learn a small set of commands to build any Maven project, and the POM will ensure they get the results they desired.
There are three built-in build lifecycles: default, clean and site. The default lifecycle handles your project deployment, the clean lifecycle handles project cleaning, while the site lifecycle handles the creation of your project's site documentation.
A Build Lifecycle is Made Up of Phases
Each of these build lifecycles is defined by a different list of build phases, wherein a build phase represents a stage in the lifecycle.
For example, the default lifecycle has the following build phases (for a complete list of the build phases, refer to the Lifecycle Reference):
validate - validate the project is correct and all necessary information is available
compile - compile the source code of the project
test - test the compiled source code using a suitable unit testing framework. These tests should not require the code be packaged or deployed
package - take the compiled code and package it in its distributable format, such as a JAR.
integration-test - process and deploy the package if necessary into an environment where integration tests can be run
verify - run any checks to verify the package is valid and meets quality criteria
install - install the package into the local repository, for use as a dependency in other projects locally
deploy - done in an integration or release environment, copies the final package to the remote repository for sharing with other developers and projects.
These build phases (plus the other build phases not shown here) are executed sequentially to complete the default lifecycle. Given the build phases above, this means that when the default lifecycle is used, Maven will first validate the project, then will try to compile the sources, run those against the tests, package the binaries (e.g. jar), run integration tests against that package, verify the package, install the verifed package to the local repository, then deploy the installed package in a specified environment.
To do all those, you only need to call the last build phase to be executed, in this case, deploy:
mvn deploy
That is because if you call a build phase, it will execute not only that build phase, but also every build phase prior to the called build phase. Thus, doing
mvn integration-test
will do every build phase before it (validate, compile, package, etc.), before executing integration-test.
There are more commands that are part of the lifecycle, which will be discussed in the following sections.
It should also be noted that the same command can be used in a multi-module scenario (i.e. a project with one or more subprojects). For example:
mvn clean install
This command will traverse into all of the subprojects and run clean, then install (including all of the prior steps).