Project Management is a structured body of knowledge used in global applications that is governed by five process groups that forge the foundation for Project Management principles. These five process groups help to manage and relate a mixture of knowledge and skills that is required to lead a successful project:
- Initiating (the processes that help define a new project; to ensure the project manager has the authority to move forward)
- Planning (the processes that outline the project’s scope of work, in addition this process group plays a big part with creating all of the planning and scheduling responsibilities)
- Executing (the processes that occur as the project tasks are performed; consider this as the area in Project Management where things are being delivered and created)
- Monitoring and Controlling (the processes that help manage the project’s scope and tracking work that is being carried out. This process group generally goes hand-in-hand with the Executing Process Group and can allow change management to enter the arena as well.
- Closing (the processes that allow the project to be formally closed; transitioned out of the agreed upon scope of work – closure)
The PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) Guide, Sixth Edition, defines a process as “a systematic series of activities directed towards causing an end result such that one or more inputs will be acted upon to create one or more outputs.” Each process has requirements, known as inputs, along with tools and techniques that allow a Project Management practitioner to carry out a process and benefit from the outputs from having done the process correctly. For example, in the process to develop schedule, a few of the inputs would include resource calendars, activity list and activity resource requirements. The outputs for this process would result in having a project schedule, schedule baseline and schedule data.
The five Project Management process groups are not project phases or stages, each have their own focus on an unambiguous purpose, these are considered components of the Project Management framework. Some are one-time processes while others may occur concurrently from one another. The key takeaways here are that there is no single process for performing project management and the five outlined processes are essential components to successfully manage a process.