The best way to describe the project management process groups is by walking through a project at a high-level. You’ll then see why each process group is required and how it helps you deliver a project successfully.
Project management processes are grouped into the following project management process groups:
- Initiating Process Group
- Planning Process Group
- Executing Process Group
- Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
- Closing Process Group
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When a project begins you need to develop a project charter and identify project stakeholders. Both developing a project charter and identifying stakeholders are processes within the Initiating process group. These processes involve developing a document that formally authorizes a project, documenting project objectives, and documenting the interests, degree of involvement, expectations and needs of project stakeholders.
Note: For large projects, the initiating processes may be repeated for each phase.
After you’ve gotten authorization to start a project, you can start planning for it. This will involve revisiting the objectives, defining scope, creating time lines, performing costing, planning for quality and human resources, establishing a communications plan, and risk management. If you perform all the processes of the planning process group, you’ll have created key documents, such as the WBS, project network diagram, project schedule, and risk register.
With all the necessary documentation in place, the executing process group kicks in. The real work takes place in this process group. Therefore, human resources are acquired and a team is created based on the skills required. Training is also provided to ensure there is no skill mismatch. For a list of project management training sources, refer to the article titled Top 10 Sources of Project Management Training.
Monitoring and Controlling
As you are planning and executing, the processes in the monitoring and controlling process group work in the background. Essentially, what this means that if the execution is not going as per plan, the processes within this process group will kick in and correction steps are taken. For example, if the cost performance index of the project is not what it should be, you will need to take corrective measures. Similarly, as you execute the project new risks may be identified and mitigated. Usually these events occurring during project execution leads to performing the processes in the planning process group all over again!
Therefore, do not assume that once you are through with one process group, you won’t need to revisit it. It’s a cyclic interaction between the process groups until the project scope is delivered and you have entered the Closing process group.
The last process group is the simplest, if you have delivered as per client expectations. Here, you will seek acceptance of project deliverables by the stakeholders and then document lessons learned and archive the project.
In this article, you learned the fundamental project management management process groups. Your next step should be to learn the processes within each process group, such as the processes for project risk management.