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Project Management Process Groups

Project Management Process Groups

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Project Management Process Groups

By understanding Project Management Process Groups, you will be able to link processes to one another.  According to the PMBOK 5th Edition, the process of managing projects comprises of 5 processes that are linked by their results.  This means that processes are dependent, the output of one process is the input to another.

The Project Management Process Groups will allow the project manager to logically group inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques together.  This will allow the project manager to deliver the project according to requirements within the allocated budgets and within the time constraints.

A great benefit of this approach is that the structure can be used at multiple levels.  This means that the structure could apply to Programme levels, Project Levels, Activity and task levels.  This allows for an integrative approach that can easily adapt to various elements.


It is known that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, that step takes place during the Initiation Process Group.  During this phase of the project management process groups, the starting point of a project becomes clear and makes the go/ no-go decision.  While labor and costs will have a low impact on this process group, the requirement for information will be high.  This is due to the maturity of the project that has not yet progressed to the point where in-depth knowledge regarding the project “unknown unknowns” has become available.  That means that during this phase the project carries a low level of risk.


At this point, the project charter will be in the project manager’s possession.  The project charter authorizes the project and provides the project manager with important information.  This information is critical towards the planning process group since it details aspects such as the scope of work and deliverables.  Planning should be as detailed as possible and must integrate the Project Management Knowledge Areas to deliver a comprehensive Project Baseline Plan.  The Project Baseline Plan document is the output of this process group and will be used to measure the project performance.  It also provides the details and requirements according to which the project will be executed.  This allows the project manager to compose a plan that will optimize all aspects of the project delivery.


The Execution Project Management Process Group entails the coordination of the workforce to complete the project work.  Instructions are issued to ensure that the activities are executed according to the project baseline plan.  This process group will have the highest levels of labor and carries significant costs.  This naturally results in a high level of risk due to the investment to date, thus; the project manager will need to be careful about scope creep and other risks during this phase.  This means that diligent monitoring and controlling will need to take place.


To ensure that the project meets the objectives of the project, the Monitoring and Controlling Project Management Process Group is critical.  This requires that the project manager continuously monitor the performance of the project.  This allows for variances to be identified and for the corrective actions to be taken where required.  The project manager will need to be an effective conflict manager and communicator to ensure that this process group is managed effectively.


As they say, all good things come to an end, and projects are no different.  Especially when considering that one of the characteristics of a project is that it has an end date.    The Closing Project Management Process Group focusses on this aspect of the project.  The closing process typically sees the customer accepting the work that has been done.  Any penalties that the project may have incurred would be clearly defined here.  This also sees product testing and/ or commissioning taking place.  Once the customer has accepted ownership, they will be able to operate or benefit from the objectives that have been delivered.

The Project Management Process Groups are similar to other management processes such as Fayol’s Management Process, the Estonian Process, and others.  The PMBOK, however, have structured them appropriately to streamline to activities for more efficient processing within a project environment.  By being able to effectively use these project management process groups, projects can be optimized to ensure a qualitative delivery.


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