Project Management Processes and PMP Process Framework

As a matter of fact, project management processes are very important to further understand the project management knowledge areas and PMP process groups.

Furthermore project management processes and the PMP process framework introduce some key terminology for the rest of the PMP preparation material.

So let us first understand what Project management process is and how it is fitting into the PMP process framework.

Indeed most of the projects have similar common problems. So PMI has standardized specific and unique processes to resolve these common project management issues.

As part of the PMP framework, each of the project management process categorizes into exactly one of the project management knowledge areas and one of the PMP process groups.

This post describes about what project management process is, components of the PMP framework and the process categorization in detail.

From PMP exam perspective, and also from real life project management perspective understanding the concepts of project management processes and the PMP framework is very critical and essential.

So what are we waiting for?

Let us start with the very basic question. What a process is?

What is Project Management Process?

Eventually a project management process is composed of three elements – inputs, tools and techniques and outputs.

Project Management Process

A project management process takes specific inputs, converts these inputs to specific outputs, using tools and techniques appropriate for that process.

As mentioned above every process is unique and performed to resolve a specific problem in the project. So every process has at least one input and one output.

Inputs

Eventually inputs could be specific information or any artifact, which may also be an output of some other process.

Tools & Techniques

Tools and techniques are methods, practices and tools to convert the inputs to outputs.

Outputs

On the other hand outputs may be documents, information, result or a product. Again output of one process can be an input to other process.

Just in case, if you are not aware of PMP Fundamentals required for the PMP exam, please read through my recent blog post on “PMP Basics – All the PMP Fundamentals you need to know”.

Project Management Processes and PMP Framework

Eventually there are 49 Project management processes defined in PMBOK 6th edition. All of these 49 processes classify into 10 project management knowledge areas and 5 PMP process groups.

Indeed a knowledge area is a logical mapping of process pertaining to a subject, whereas process group is a grouping of processes based on its function or the actual work being done.

In other words, PMP process groups are the high level actions that you take on a project, whereas the project management knowledge areas are project management topics you need to understand and learn.Project Management processes and PMP framework

To reiterate again, each project management process belongs exactly to one of the 10 knowledge areas and one of the 5 PMP process groups.

The sequence in which the project management processes perform determines based on the inputs and outputs.

So if the output of a process “p1” is an input to another process called “p2”, then “p1” process must be perform before the process “p2”.

Since projects are always progressively elaborated, each process may need to be repeated more than once by revisiting them again at the later stage of the project.

PMP Process Groups

In the next few blog posts, we will go through each knowledge area in detail. The rest of this blog focuses on significance of each process group and what type of activities would be logical or required to perform in each process group.

Project Management Processes – Process Groups

 PMP Process Groups - Project Management Processes

Initiating

In many organizations, the most neglected process groups are initiating and closing.

So, due to the lack of project management knowledge and experience, organizations tent to ignore the activities in the initiating process group.

However this is a key pillar for success of the project as the activities are very much essential for any project.

The key activities in this process group are:

  • Identifying a project manager – Indeed a project manager is essential from start to end of the project duration.
  • Identify the initial stakeholders – Identify the stake holders known during sales or proposal or even before that.
  • Understand the high level project requirements, business case, and quantitative objectives set in the business case.  Also handshake with the relevant stakeholders on the existing risks, assumptions, constraints available at this point of time.
  • Project feasibility study, if applicable.
  • Determine Organization Process Assets – Understanding the organization quality processes, templates and tools and information about historical projects which are similar to that of the current project.
  • Determine Enterprise Environmental Factors – Understanding the factors that can influence the project in any manner.
  • Project charter – Eventually sponsor prepares the charter. In some cases, someone from the senior management group prepares the project charter. In other cases, project manager himself prepares the charter. Ultimately the sponsor is the person to authorize the project charter, irrespective of who prepares the charter.

Planning

Eventually as a project manager you need to plan everything thing on the project, well in advance.

Furthermore a project manager needs to ensure all the relevant stakeholders of the project agrees or approves the plan.

Indeed planning is a process group, where you start documenting all your plans pertaining to each of the knowledge areas.

In other words, you would make a project management plan document which would integrate all the sub-management plans, namely

  • Integration management plan
  • Scope management plan
  • Schedule management plan
  • Cost management plan
  • Quality management plan
  • Resource management plan
  • Communications management plan
  • Risk management plan
  • Procurement management plan
  • Stakeholder management plan

Eventually at the end of planning process group you would finalize the project management plan which integrates with all the above mentioned sub-management plans.

Then get a final acceptance of the plan from all the relevant stakeholders and then conduct a kick off meeting.

Executing

Indeed executing is the process group where you and your team do the actual work.

Eventually the project manager always has to follow the project management plan to execute the project.

The key activities in this process group are:

  • Do the actual work according to project management plan document
  • People management – Encourage, motivate people and make sure they focus on the work all the time.
  • Implement approved change requests
  • Report work performance data to stakeholders and manage their expectations.
  • Quality management and issue management

Monitoring & Controlling

Eventually project manager compares the actual execution with the project management plan and ensure there are no gaps between plan versus actual.

Furthermore project manager performs all the activities to ensure the project is on right track all the time.

So Monitoring and Controlling

  • Starts in execution phase, by comparing the “actual work being done” with the “plans” made in the planning phase
  • Sometimes project may also move from monitoring & controlling to Initiation. For example if the project business case changes due to the market changes, then project may move from monitoring & controlling to initiating phase. In this case the charter will also undergo the change.
  • Once all work completes as per the plan then project moves to closing process group.

Though the monitoring and controlling process group starts in parallel or slightly later than execution process group activities, it scatters across all process groups.

So through out the project, the project manager monitors and controls all the process groups namely initiating, planning, executing and closing.

Closing

As a matter of fact once the project completes execution and monitoring & controlling process groups then finally project moves to closing process group.

In the closing process group you actually see the project meets all the mentioned project requirements and objectives.

If so then get a final acceptance of the project deliverables from the customer.

So the key activities focused as part of closing process group are

  • See whether project meets all objectives and requirements. If so, get a final acceptance of the project deliverables from the customer.
  • Conclude all other open contracts and procurements and settle the financials, if any.
  • Get feedback from the customer on the project.
  • Handover the project (all relevant documents and deliverables) to the customer.
  • Train the users at customer site, if applicable in the project scope.
  • Conduct Lessons Learned session and distribute the same.
  • Archive all project documents and lessons learned to organization process asset library, so as to use them for next upcoming or other ongoing projects in the organization.

Project Management Knowledge Areas

Here the 10 knowledge areas that are available as per PMBOK 6th edition.

  • Integration management plan
  • Scope management plan
  • Schedule management plan
  • Cost management plan
  • Quality management plan
  • Resource management plan
  • Communications management plan
  • Risk management plan
  • Procurement management plan
  • Stakeholder management plan

Conclusion

To conclude with in this post we have seen, what the project management processes are?

Then we learned about project management processes and the classification of project management processes into project management knowledge areas and PMP process groups.

In the next few blog posts, we will cover each of the project management knowledge areas in detail and the processes associated with each of the knowledge areas.

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