Project Management Processes Tutorial

Welcome to the third lesson of the PMP tutorial, which is part of the ‘PMP® Certification Training Course.’ In this lesson, we will focus on project management processes.

Let us look at the objectives of this lesson in the next section.

Objectives

After completing the Project Management Processes lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe Process Group Interactions

  • Recognize the processes aligned with different Process Groups and Knowledge Areas

  • Identify the inputs and actions of Project Management Process Groups

Let us now begin with understanding the Project Management Process Groups.

Project Management Process Groups

The project management processes are divided into five process groups. They are:

  1. Initiating process group

  2. Planning process group

  3. Executing process group

  4. Monitoring and controlling process group

  5. Closing process group.

Diagram- Project Management Process Groups

Note that each of the five process groups is assigned a particular color. This color scheme is followed throughout the course.

The initiating process group is shown in yellow, planning in blue, executing in red, monitoring and controlling in green, and closing in grey.

Let us now take a look at Project Management Process Map.

Project Management Process Map

Given in this section is a list of the forty-nine project management processes, ten knowledge areas, and five process groups.

Table - Project Management Processes Map

There are five project management process groups on the left. They are Initiating Process Group, Planning Process Group, Executing Process Group, Monitoring and Controlling Process Group, and Closing Process Group.

The ten knowledge areas are across the top. They are Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Schedule Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Resource Management, Project Communications Management, Project Risk Management, Project Procurement Management, and Project Stakeholder Management.

The table below shows how each of them is interrelated. You can see that the Project Integration Management processes can be mapped back to all the five Process Groups, while Project Scope Management processes are mapped back to only planning and monitoring process group.

All the 49 processes are described in detail in this tutorial. Each knowledge area is covered in detail as a lesson. It also covers how the processes map to process groups to help you understand the big picture.

Further, the inputs and outputs of each of these processes, tools, and techniques that are used in these processes, and what exactly happens during these processes are also discussed.

Note that in the new release of the Project Management Body of Knowledge Version 6, there are three new processes that have been introduced:

  • Manage Project Knowledge

  • Implement Risk Responses

  • Control Resource

Now let us understand a process map diagram.

Reading a Process Map

The following diagram explains the core concept of each process.

Image- Reading a Process Diagram

Each process group has the unique color code as you can see on the left of the diagram. This will help you to understand which process is a part of which process group.

The inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques are also color-coded as seen by the legend on the left.

The output that supports processes in the same knowledge area and Output that supports processes in the other knowledge area are also identified.

We will look into this process diagram in detail in the upcoming lessons.

In the next section, we will cover each of the process groups. Let us first begin with Initiating Process Group.

Initiating Process Group

The initiating process group formally starts a project after considering the business case and establishing the feasibility of the project.

Typically, the initiating processes will result in the authorization or official approval for a project or a new phase of that project to begin.

Project charter, a document that authorizes a project, is a formal “go ahead” on the project and is issued by the senior management of the organization.

The project charter has information such as the project manager, key stakeholders of the project, what the product or service of the project is, high-level data of risk, cost, and schedule of the project.

The project is officially authorized when the project charter is approved.

Let us now look into the inputs to the initiating process group and the actions taken during this process.

Initiating Process Group: Inputs

The inputs for the initiating process group are explained as given below.

The initiating process group receives various inputs, which include:

  • The project statement of work - This is provided by the project sponsor or whoever is initiating the idea.

  • Agreements - If the project is started under a contract or an agreement, then the contract or agreement is the input.

  • Business Case - If the project is undertaken to meet some business need of the organization, then the business case is the input.

  • Enterprise environmental factors - These include everything that defines the context in which the work of the project will be performed, including the organization structure, culture, and political environment.

  • Organizational process assets - They include all the past data of the organization related to work on similar projects, the process templates, and know-how that can be used by the project manager.

  • Procurement Documents - If the project is being done as part of a contract with an external customer, procurement documents also form inputs to initiating processes.

Now, let’s look at the actions taken in the initiating process group.

Initiating Process Group: Actions Taken

Assessment

  • The project assessment with key stakeholders such as sponsors, senior management, and project management office must be carried out using the available inputs, such as project statement of work, the business need, and agreement.

  • During the assessment, you can consider the historical data from organizational process assets and environmental factors. This helps in understanding the feasibility of the products or services to be delivered based on the assumptions and constraints.

Identification of Key Deliverables

  • After carrying out the feasibility and assessment, you can start identifying the key deliverables such as product, service, or the results to achieve the project goals.

  • Once the project is decided, an important document will be developed called the Project Charter. This is developed by the sponsor, PMO, or senior management.

Development of Project Charter

  • The project charter consists of elements such as project justification—which is the benefits analysis and business values in alignment with organizational strategy, high-level scope, schedule, cost, risk, key milestones, and key stakeholders list. It also identifies the project manager.

  • The project manager needs to participate in the development of the project charter to ensure stakeholders agreement.

  • The project charter approval to gain authority and commitment of the stakeholders is required.

Stakeholder Identification

  • The project charter authorizes the project manager to start further activities. Based on this project charter document, the project manager starts identifying the stakeholders.

  • While identifying the stakeholders, project manager carries the stakeholder analysis by understanding the power, interest, and influence of the stakeholders towards the project.

  • Stakeholder identification is a continuous process. It needs to be carried out at the start of every phase of the project.

Risk Management

  • It is important for the project manager to identify high-level risks using current and past data to propose implementation strategy.

  • The project manager must seek for project charter approval to gain the authority and commitment.

Communication

  • Also during the initiating, the project manager communicates the elements of the project charter to stakeholders to align the expectations and support for the project success.

Let us now look into the Project Initiation in the next section of this lesson

Project Initiation

The ability of the stakeholders to influence the final characteristics of the project product(s) and the final cost of the project is highest at the start and progressively lowers as the project continues.

Diagram - Influence vs. Cost

A key contributor to this phenomenon is the fact that the cost of changes and error correction generally increases as the project continues.

Let us now look into the Planning Process Group in the next section of this lesson.

Planning Process Group

The planning process group determines if the objectives laid down in the project charter can be achieved. It establishes the total scope of effort, objectives, and course of action required to attain those objectives. The planning process group prepares a blueprint of how the project will be accomplished.

Planning Process Group: Inputs

The primary inputs required to carry the planning process groups are:

  • Project charter

  • Stakeholder register

  • Project staff assignments

  • Agreements

  • Organizational process assets

  • Enterprise environmental factors

  • Resource calendar

Project Charter

The project charter helps in the development of subsidiary plans, such as scope, cost, schedule, and risk management plans. A subsidiary plan is a sub-plan within the project management plan, which helps establish how to execute, control, and close the project.

Stakeholder Register

Stakeholder register consists of the list of stakeholders for the project. Using this document, the project manager can discuss with the relevant stakeholders to collect the requirements. The document also helps in getting the team’s buy-in.

Project Staff Assignments

The project staffing assignment document provides the input to who is working on which activity. Agreements help in understanding the detailed scope, budget, and the timeline for the planning purpose, as it consists of terms and conditions.

Organizational Process Assets and Enterprise Environmental Factors

Organizational process assets and Enterprise environmental factors help to identify the elements which can influence to make the project a success.

Resource Calendar

Resource calendar supports in planning the schedule, as it contains information on available resources with their calendar, those who work part-time or full-time, and their leave plans.

Now, let’s look at the actions taken in the planning process group.

Planning Process Group: Actions Taken

By doing the review and assessment of the project charter, you can establish the detailed project deliverables.

Development of the Project Management Plan

The main action that is carried out in the planning process group is the development of the project management plan.

Project management plan

It consists of subsidiary plans and the project baselines.

There are sixteen elements within the project management plan. Out of which, thirteen are subsidiary plans as listed in the section; and the rest are baseline scope, cost, and schedule.

Subsidiary plans provide guidelines on carrying out the activities within the respective knowledge areas, that is, how to execute, control, and close the projects.

For example, schedule management plan provides guidelines on the estimation techniques to be used to develop schedule; and ways to maintain and track project schedules.

Risk management plan provides guidelines for identifying the risk, conducting the risk analysis, and controlling the risk. Further, human resource plan provides guidelines on how to acquire, develop, and manage the team.

Project management plan has to be developed along with the team to obtain approval from the key stakeholders. Kick-off meeting must be conducted to get their buy-in. Note that planning is not a one-time activity. Re-planning, that is, making changes to the plan in response to change requests is also an integral part of planning.

Project Planning

Project planning serves six primary functions:

  • Translating needs into manageable tasks

  • Defining required resources

  • Organizing and coordinating the Project Teamwork

  • Identifying and evaluating potential risks

  • Establishing processes, practices, and procedures for project execution

  • Defining the measure(s) of project success

Repeating the initiation processes at the start of each project phase helps keep the project focused on the need for which it was undertaken. This provides a decision gate at each project phase to help ensure the project is halted if the need no longer exists or if the project is not likely to satisfy the need.

Now, let’s look at the Executing Process Group in the next section.

Executing Process Group

The purpose of executing process group is to complete the work as defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications.

The focus is on stakeholder management, following processes, and ensuring everyone in the project has the same information on the project objectives. The project status is also updated to the stakeholders.

Executing Process Group: Inputs

The primary input to this process group is the “project management plan.”

Other inputs include:

  • Quality metrics, which contain the attributes to be measured

  • Changelog provides information on the status of all the change requests submitted, which helps in communicating with the stakeholders.

  • The approved change requests that need to be implemented

  • The measurements resulting from quality control processes that need to be considered; make-or-buy decisions that indicate which items will be produced in-house and which items will be procured from others

  • Source selection criteria, which indicate how the procurement decisions will be made

  • Work performance reports that show the progress of the project are also the inputs for executing process group

  • Enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets provide data on the necessary factors and limitations to implement the project.

  • Proposals were given by different sellers from whom you may want to procure some goods or services to complete the project.

Let’s look into the actions taken during the executing process.

Executing Process Group: Actions Taken

  • Acquire and manage the project resources per the human resource and procurement management plans.

  • If the resources are required from the vendors, get them per the procurement management plan using seller proposals. The action required here is selecting the sellers and awarding the contract.

  • Once the team is on board, you need to develop, lead the team, and manage the execution to meet the deliverables. Carry out this action as defined in the human resource management plan.

  • Implement the quality assurance activities using quality audit and process analysis, as found in the quality management plan.

  • Approved changes, corrective and preventive actions, and defect repairs must be implemented as per the project management plan.

  • Implement the approved actions to minimize the threat, which is a negative risk and maximize the opportunity, which is a positive risk.

  • Produce the project progress report and share it with the stakeholders as per the communication management plan. This keeps the stakeholders engaged and informed about the project progress.

  • Maintaining stakeholder relationships is important to the success of a project. It involves ensuring stakeholder expectations are in line with project charter and project management plan and avoids unrealistic expectations from the stakeholders.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

The purpose of monitoring and controlling process group is to measure the project performance per the project management plan and take appropriate action.

This process group tracks, reviews, and regulates the progress and performance of the project; identify the areas where changes to the plan are required and initiate the corresponding changes.

The appropriate action can be in the form of corrective and preventive actions. Monitoring means observing and controlling, that is, to take actions to bring things under control.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group: Inputs

The inputs to the monitoring and controlling process groups are:

  • Deliverables produced during execution

  • Work performance data that tells you about the progress made on the project

  • Change requests that may arise during execution

  • Organizational process assets

  • Project management plan and other project documents

  • The list of selected sellers who will be supplying goods and services to the project is also part of the project inputs.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group: Actions Taken

The specific actions to be performed are:

  • Measure the project progress concerning time and cost and compare with baselines like schedule and cost.

  • For any deviations, recommend the corrective and preventive actions through change requests. These changes will be addressed using change management plan to align with business needs.

  • The output of executing process is deliverables. These deliverables must be verified and validated to check if they are conforming to the standards. If not, necessary actions must be recommended.

  • Ensure that risk management activities are per the risk management plan and the risk responses implemented according to the plan are working.

  • Reviewing the issue log helps in identifying the corrective actions. The issue resolutions documented in the issue log may become an obstacle for some stakeholders to achieve the project goals. This information will bring a common understanding among all the stakeholders through control communications.

  • Capturing lessons learned enables continuous improvement throughout the project. This is one of the important actions to be performed.

  • Monitor the sellers to ensure the procurement activities are carried out according to the compliance and the products are delivered per the standards.

Closing Process Group

A project is considered complete not when the project’s product is delivered, but only when all the closure formalities have been completed.

The closing process group includes administrative activities such as collecting and finalizing all the paperwork needed to complete the project and the technical work to verify that the product is acceptable.

Remember that PMI expects a mature organization and a certified project manager to be diligent about bringing projects to an orderly closure and use the performance data and lessons learned for planning future projects.

The closing process group finalizes the activities across all Project Management Process Groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations.

This process group also includes work related to transferring the project’s product to those who will maintain and use it and return all the project resources to the resource pool.

Closing Process Group: Inputs

The key inputs to this process group are:

  • The project management plan and project documents

  • Accepted project deliverables

  • Documentation about the items being procured for the project

  • Organizational process assets

  • Enterprise environmental factors.

Closing Process Group: Actions Taken

The actions taken up during the closing process group are as follows:

  • Confirm that all project requirements are met

  • Obtain sign-off or final acceptance of the deliverables from the key stakeholders

  • Hand over the deliverables to the stakeholders per the project management plan, and make payment to all parties, update cost records, and complete contract closure

  • Update the lessons learned database

  • Archive the project documents

  • Measure customer satisfaction.

Summary

Let us summarize what we have covered in this lesson.

  • Project lifecycle addresses the question, “What to do to get the work done?” while Project management process addresses the question, “What to do to manage the project?”

  • There are 49 processes in project management grouped into ten Knowledge Areas and mapped to five Process Groups.

  • Initiating Process Group defines a new project or phase.

  • When the project charter is approved, the project is officially authorized.

  • Planning Process Group establishes the total scope of effort, objectives, and course of action required to attain those objectives.

  • Executing Process Group completes the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications.

  • Monitoring and Controlling Process Group tracks, reviews, and regulates the progress and performance of the project; identifies and initiates the changes to the plan when required.

  • Closing Process Group finalizes the activities across all Project Management Process Groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations.

Conclusion

This concludes the lesson on Project Management Processes. In the next lesson, we will discuss Project Integration Management.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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