Project Management Process Groups

The project management processes are presented as discrete elements with well- defined interfaces. However, in practice they overlap and interact in ways that are not completely detailed here. Most experienced project management practitioners recognize there is more than one way to manage a project. The specifics for a project are defined as objectives that must be accomplished based on complexity, risk, size, time frame, project teams experience, access to resources, amount of historical information, the organizations project management maturity, and industry and application area. The required Process Groups and their constituent processes are guides to apply appropriate project management knowledge and skills during the project. In addition, the application of the project management processes to a project is iterative and many processes are repeated and revised during the project. The project manager and the project team are responsible for determining what processes from the Process Groups will be employed, by whom, and the degree of rigor that will be applied to the execution of those processes to achieve the desired project objective.

Project Management Process Groups

There are five dependent Project Management Process Groups which are required for any project. These five Process Groups are performed in the same sequence on every project and are independent of application areas or industry focus. Individual Process Groups and constituent processes are often iterated prior to completing the project. Constituent processes can also have interactions both within a Process Group, and among all Process Groups.

  • Process Groups
  • Processes within the Process Groups
  • Organizational Process Assets and Enterprise Environmental Factors, which are shown as inputs to and outputs from the Process Groups, and external to the processes
  • Arrows or line arrows indicate data or process flow among or within the Process Groups.

The process flow diagram provides an overall summary of the basic flow and interactions that happen among the Process Groups. An individual process may define and constrain the use of inputs to produce outputs for that Process Group. Each Process Group includes the constituent project management processes which are linked by the respective inputs and outputs; so the result or outcome of one process becomes the input to another. It is important to mention that The Process Groups are not project phases. All Process Group processes are normally repeated for each phase or subproject.

The Process Groups are:

  1. Initiating Process Group: Defines and also authorizes the project, or a project phase.
  2. Planning Process Group: Defines and refines the objectives and plans the course of action that is required to attain the objectives and scope that the project has to address.
  3. Executing Process Group: Integrates resources (like people) to carry out the project management plan for the project.
  4. Monitoring and Controlling Process Group: Regularly measures and monitors progress to identify the variances from the project management plan to take the corrective when it is necessary to meet project objectives.
  5. Closing Process Group: Formalizes acceptance of the result (product or service) and brings the project (or a project phase) to an orderly end.

Project Management Process Groups

1. Initiating Process Group

The initiation processes determine the scope and nature of the project. If this stage is not done well, probably the project will not be successful in meeting its defined needs. The key project controls that are needed here are an understanding of the business environment, and also making sure that all of the necessary controls are incorporated. The failures have to be reported and a recommendation should be made for fixing them.

The initiation stage should include a plan that covers the following areas:

  • Analysis of the business requirements in measurable goals
  • Review of the current operations
  • Financial analysis of the costs and benefits containing a budget
  • Stakeholder analysis and support personnel for the ongoing project
  • Project charter containing costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedule

2. Planning Process Group

Following the initiation stage, the project is planned to a suitable level of detail. The main aim is to plan time, cost and resources sufficiently to estimate the work needed and to effectively manage the risk during project execution. Like the Initiation processes, a failure to adequately plan greatly decreases the project’s chance of successfully accomplishing the goals.

Project planning is generally consisted of the following:

  • Finding out how to plan
  • developing the scope statement;
  • selecting the planning team;
  • identifying the deliverables and creating the WBS;
  • identifying the activities that are needed to complete the deliverables and networking the activities in their coherent sequence;
  • estimating the resources required for the activities;
  • estimating time and cost for activities;
  • developing the schedule;
  • developing the budget;
  • risk planning;
  • Getting the formal approval to begin work.

For new product development projects, conceptual design of the operation of the final product may be performed simultaneous with the project planning activities, and can help to inform the planning team during identification of deliverables and planning activities.

3. Executing Process Group

Executing is consisted of the processes which are used to complete the work defined in the project management plan to gain the project’s requirements. Execution process contains coordinating people and resources, as well as integrating and performing the activities of the project in accordance with the project management plan. The deliverables are then produced as outputs from the processes performed as is defined in the project management plan.

4. Monitoring And Controlling Process Group

Monitoring and controlling mainly consists of the processes that are performed for observation of project execution. Therefore, the potential problems can be easily identified in a timely manner and needed corrective action can be taken, to control the execution of the project. The key benefit is that project performance is observed on a regular basis to identify variances from the project management plan.

Monitoring and Controlling process group includes:

  • Measuring the current project activities;
  • Monitoring the project variables (cost, effort, scope, etc.) with a look at the project management plan and the project performance baseline;
  • Identifying needed corrective actions to address topics and risks properly;
  • Influencing the factors that could circumvent structured change control so only approved changes are accepted and implemented

In multi-phase projects, the monitoring and controlling process may also provide feedback between project phases for implementing corrective or preventive actions to bring the project in compliance with the project management plan.

5. Closing Process Group

Closing includes the formal acceptance of the project and the ending thence. Managerial activities include the archiving of the files and documenting everything.

This phase mainly consists of:

  • Project close: Finalizing all activities across process groups to formally close the project
  • Contract closure: Completing and settling each contract (including the resolution of any open items) and closing each contract applicable to the project or project phase

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