Project Management Process Groups

Project Management Process Groups
Project Management Process Groups

Project management process groups are logical grouping of various project management processes. This grouping of processes helps to achieve a specific project objective. In fact, these five project management process groups accommodate 49 different project management processes. The five project management process groups are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling and closing. This blog post briefly describes the project management process groups.

Project Management Process Groups Common Interactions

The five project management process groups have dependencies. As a matter of fact, prior to completing the project, project team performs activities from these process groups or individual processes in each project.

These individual process groups can also have interactions within a process group and among process groups. The nature of these interactions varies from project to project and may or may not be performed in a particular order.

These process group highly interact with one another. Moreover, the five process groups are independent of application area or industry focus.

Specific inputs and outputs link different project management processes. Also, the outcome of one process becomes the input to other process but not necessarily in the same process group.

 The Five Project Management Process Groups

PMBOK sixth edition defines project management process groups as:

logical grouping of project management inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs.

The following paragraph enumerates the five Project Management Process Groups (or Process Groups).

  • Initiating Process Group
  • Planning Process Group
  • Executing Process Group
  • Monitoring & Controlling Process Group
  • Closing Process Group

#1 Initiating Process Group

In the first place is initiating process group. It consists of processes that help to set the vision of the project.  This process helps to answer the question; what is needed to accomplish the project?

The initiating processes, gives project manager the required authority to apply organizational resources to the subsequent project activities.

This group consists of those processes performed to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase.

Initiating processes includes the following:

  • Define initial scope of the project
  • Commit initial financial resources.
  • Identify internal and external stakeholders who will interact and influence the overall outcome of the project.

The key purpose of this process group is to align the stakeholders’ expectations with the project’s purpose, give them visibility about the scope and objectives, show how their participation in the project and its associated phases can ensure that their expectations are achieved.

It is always advisable to divide large complex projects into separate phases. In such projects, the initiating processes are carried out during subsequent phases to validate the decisions made during the original Develop Project Charter and Identify Stakeholder Processes.

Generally projects have little or no control over initiating processes. This is because, mostly the initiating processes are performed at the organizational, program, or portfolio level.

#2 Planning Process Group

Secondly, the planning process group consists of the following:

  • processes performed to establish the total scope of the effort,
  • steps to define and refine the project objectives, and
  • processes that develop the course of action required to attain those objectives.

The key objective of planning process group is to develop the project management plan and the project documents necessary to carry out the project activities.

The key benefit of this process group is to delineate the strategy and tactics as well as the course of action or path to successfully complete the project or phase.

A well managed planning process group enables easy stakeholder buy-in and engagement. These processes express – How this will be done? This process group sets the route to the desired objective.

#3 Executing Process Group

In the third place is the executing process group. It consists of processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications.

This process group involves the following:

  • coordinating people and resources,
  • managing stakeholder expectations,
  • as well as integrating and performing the activities of the project in accordance with the project management plan.

During project execution, results may require planning updates and re-baseline. The processes of this group consume a large portion of the project’s budget.

#4 Monitoring & Controlling Process Group

The fourth process group is monitoring & controlling process group. It consists of processes required to track, review, and orchestrate the processes and performance of the project; identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and initiate the corresponding charges.

The key benefit of this process group is that it helps to measure project performance and analyze it at regular intervals, appropriate events, or exception conditions. It further enables to identify variances form the project management plan.

The monitoring and controlling process group involves:

  • Controlling changes and recommending corrective and preventive action in anticipation of possible problems
  • Monitoring the ongoing project activities against the project management plan and the project performance measurement baseline
  • Influencing the factors that could circumvent integrated change control or configuration management so only approved changes are implemented.

#5 Closing Process Group

Finally, the fifth process group is the closing process group. It consists of processes performed to conclude all activities across all project management process groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations.

The closing process group verifies completion of the defined processes within all of the process groups to formally close the project or phase. It also formally establishes that the project or a project phase is complete.

In addition to the above, this process group also formally establishes the premature closure of the project. Prematurely closed projects may include, for e.g. aborted projects, canceled projects, and projects having a critical situation.

In specific cases, when some projects cannot be formally closed (e.g. claims, termination clause etc) or some activities are to be transferred to other organizational units, specific handover procedures may be arranged and finalized.

At project or phase closure, the following may occur:

  • Obtain acceptance by the customer or sponsor to formally close the project or phase
  • Conduct post-project or phase-end review
  • Record impacts of tailoring to any process
  • Document lessons learned
  • Apply appropriate updates to organizational process updates
  • Archive all relevant project documents.
  • Close out all procurement activities ensuring termination of all relevant agreements
  • Perform team members’ assessments and release project resources.

Project Management Process Group – Conclusion

As shown above project management process groups logically organizes different project management processes. To summarize, it is important to mention that, the project management process groups should not be confused with different project phases.

Also read: Project Phase Understanding its Nuances

The following paragraph summarizes the activities at a high level in all five process groups:

  • Initiating Process Group – What is needed to accomplish the project?
  • Planning Process Group – How this will be done?
  • Executing Process Group – Perform project work
  • Monitoring & Controlling Process Group – Are we on track?
  • Closing Process Group – Conclude all activities

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