The five project management process groups are useful in providing a quick peak into the structured world of the project manager. These groups include the initiation process group, the planning process group, the executing process group, the monitoring and controlling process group, and the closing process group. Using this framework the project manager is supported to build a viable project framework. The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) book, the “Project Management Body of Knowledge”, is now in its 5th edition and helps to explain the different tools, processes, and knowledge available to the professional project manager.
These project management standards represent some of the best practices documented from professionals actually using these tools. The tools are not a ‘one size fits all’ resource. Instead, the project manager must evaluate which tools are needed and learn how to implement each tool adaptively to fit the unique needs, environment, and constraints of each project.
In many settings the “initiating process group’s” development of the project charter includes many of the details and specifications included in the “planning process group.” Instead of making the PMBOK’s 5 process group model irrelevant this interdependency emphasizes the importance of defining, building, documenting, and leveraging these process tools.
Each group informs and is dependent on the groups that precede and follow it. Similarly, these tools support an integrated approach in which each process group is with the other process groups in mind. Their overlapping nature requires patience when using these tools since a poorly designed project element executed at the early stages of a project will impact everything that follows.
The above graphic contains a description of the five project management process groups. Definitions are offered from the PMBOK (2013) to help explain what the purpose for each process group is. Guiding questions are offered in the third column to establish which questions are answered for each group, followed by a listing of documents and deliverables created by each process group. The most common tools are underlined, although it should be acknowledged that practices will vary by organization and project type.
With this information your project management office (PMO) can begin the process of standardizing its planning, evaluation, and execution efforts.
How does your team select its project management tools? Share your comments below.
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