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Overview of the Project Planning Process Group

written by: Rupen Sharma, PMP • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 10/4/2013

In the Planning Process Group, you will be creating all of the project documents that will enable you to deliver project. This group has the most processes of any other group. Read on to understand the complexity.

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    Recap of the PMBOK5 Process Groups

    The PMBOK5 categorizes project management processes into five groups. These categories are known as Project Management Process Groups.

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

    Let’ start by taking a look at the definition of the Planning Process Group.

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    A Definition

    “The Planning Process Group consists of those processes performed to establish the total scope of the effort, define and refine objectives, and develop the course of action required to attain those objectives." – A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth Edition

    To understand the activities involved, let’s see the processes involved in this process group. The many processes in the Planning Process Group are shown below in a diagram.

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    Overview of the Processes

    Unlike the other process groups, the Planning Process Group has processes from each knowledge area. The following section provides a brief description of each process in the Planning Process Group.

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    Developing a Project Management Plan

    This process belongs to the Project Integration Management knowledge area. It has only one output and that is the Project Management Plan. This plan is developed by reviewing the Project Charter and outputs from several other processes, such as the Communications Management Plan and the Cost Management Plan. The Project Management Plan is used by over 20 other processes, such as Plan Schedule Management and Control Risks. Therefore, it is a critical artifact.

    Plan Scope Management, Collect Requirements, Define Scope, Create WBS

    These processes belong to the Project Scope Management knowledge area. Some outputs of these processes are:

    • Plan Scope Management: The outputs of this process are Scope Management Plan and Requirements Management Plan. The Scope Management Plan describes how the scope is defined, validated, and controlled.
    • Collect Requirements: The outputs to this process are the Requirements Traceability Matrix and the Requirements Documentation. Significant effort is expended in understanding the stakeholder expectations and needs. Some of the techniques used include prototyping, interviewing, and group creativity techniques, such as brainstorming.
    • Define Scope: The outputs to this process are the Project Scope Statement and updates to the Project Documents. The Project Scope Statement describes the project scope and the documents the project and product scope.
    • Create WBS: The outputs to this process are the Scope Baseline and the updates to the Project Documents. In this process, the scope is divided into smaller chunks.
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    Planning & Managing Your Schedule

    609 3680978 These processes belong to the Project Time Management knowledge area. Some outputs of these processes are:

    • Plan Schedule Management: The only output of this process is the Schedule Management Plan. This plan states the activities involved in developing and monitoring the schedule.
    • Define Activities: The outputs to this process are the Activity List, Activity Attributes, and Milestone List. In this process, work packages are broken down into activities. This is then useful for estimating and scheduling. Rolling Wave Planning is used in the process.
    • Sequence Activities: The outputs to this process are Project Schedule Network Diagrams and updates to the Project Documents. Precedence Diagrams are used in this process.
    • Estimate Activity Resources: Apart from updates to the Project Documents, the outputs to this process are Activity Resource Requirements and Resource Breakdown Structure.
    • Estimate Activity Durations: The outputs to this process are Activity Duration Estimates and updates to the Project Documents. Three-point estimating, which takes three estimates Most Likely, Optimistic, and Pessimistic, is one of the estimation techniques used.
    • Develop a Schedule: Apart from updates to the Project Documents and the Project Management Plan, the outputs to this process are the Schedule Baseline, Project Schedule, Schedule Data, and Project Calendars. The Critical Path Method (CPM) is used in this process.
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    Planning Costs & Budget

    These processes belong to the Project Cost Management knowledge area. Some outputs of these processes are:

    • Plan Cost Management: The only output of this process is the Cost Management Plan. This plan states the activities involved in planning and monitoring project costs.
    • Estimate Costs: The outputs to this process are the Activity Cost Estimates, Basis of Estimates, and updates to the Project Documents. Estimation techniques, such as Bottom-up and Analogous Estimating, are performed here.
    • Determine Budget: The outputs to this process are Cost Baseline, Project Funding Requirements, and updates to the Project Documents.
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    Quality Management

    This process is part of the Project Quality Management knowledge area. It involves documenting how the project deliverables will adhere to the defined quality standards. Apart from updates to Project Documents, the outputs to this process are the Quality Management Plan, Process Improvement Plan, Quality Metrics, and Quality Checklists.

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    Human Resource Management

    This process is part of the Project Human Resource Management knowledge area. It involves documenting roles and responsibilities, and the reporting structure. The only output is the Human Resource Management Plan.

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    Communications Management

    This process is part of the Project Communications Management knowledge area. Apart from updates to the Project Documents, the Communications Management Plan is another output. The escalation process is defined in this plan.

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    Planning for Risk

    These processes belong to the Project Risk Management knowledge area. Some outputs of these processes are:

    • Plan Risk Management: The only output of this process is the Risk Management Plan. This plan states the how risks will be managed in the project.
    • Identify Risks: The only output to this process is the Risk Register.
    • Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis: The only output to this process is updates to the Project Documents. This process uses a litany of techniques, such as conducting a Risk Probability and Impact Assessment.
    • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis: The only output to this process is updates to the Project Documents. This process uses techniques, such as Expected Monetary Value (EMV) and Decision Trees.
    • Plan Risk Responses: The outputs to this process are updates to the Project Documents and the Project Management Plan. Risks can be negative and positive and it is important to have a strategy for both types.
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    Procurement Management

    This process is part of the Project Procurement Management knowledge area. Key outputs of this process are the Project Procurement Plan, Procurement Documents, and the Procurement Statement of Work. It involves identifying potential sellers.

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    Stakeholder Management

    This process is part of the Project Stakeholder Management knowledge area. The outputs of this process are the Stakeholder Management Plan and updates to the Project Documents. The Stakeholder Management Plan contains information on how to interact with stakeholders to ensure the project objectives are met.

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    Key Points

    As you can see, the Planning Process Group can be the most complicated as it contains processes from every knowledge area. However, this stage is critical to the success of your project. After the Project Management Plan and other outputs of this process group are created, you will have a clear and actionable roadmap for project delivery. Don't be afraid to return to the planning process at any point if you find that any artifact needs to be changed or updated during the project life-cycle.

    Differences Between PMBOK4 and PMBOK5

    There is a slight difference between PMBOK version 4 and PMBOK version 5. Several processes have been added to the Planning Process Group and there have been several process name changes. For more on differences, refer to What's New in PMBOK 5.

References

  • A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Edition (C) 2013 PMI