Projects have always been very important and critical for organizations in terms of capacity building and creating new value. But ensuring the success of a new project has never been easy. It became critical at this point to standardize project management methods by putting together a set of best practices and project management guidelines.
Project management has become much more structured in recent years, consisting of a set of well-defined processes. Project management processes ensure that all projects are managed in a unified and consistent manner, increasing the likelihood of project success.
Project is a unique endeavor to create a unique product, service or result. The entire project life cycle is seen as consisting of number of phases or stages. Dividing the project lifecycle into number of phases helps in bringing clarity about the project work for better managing the uniqueness and newness of a project.
Project management thus involves managing the entire project life cycle, phase by phase, by using progressive elaboration. The project phases in general can be defined as:
- Initiation phase,
- Planning phase,
- Implementation phase and
- Closing phase.
Thus, project management can be viewed logically as processes used to manage the project’s initiation phase, planning phase, implementation phase, and finally closing phase.
Project management processes are classified into five categories, as shown below. Each management process group is used to manage the project phase that corresponds to it. The process groups are as follows:
- Initiating Process Group (used for managing the initiation stage of a project or a phase)
- Planning Process Group (Used for managing the planning stage of a project or a phase)
- Executing Process Group (Used for completing the actual work of the project or a phase)
- Monitoring and Controlling Process Group (Used for monitoring progress, check variances and taking corrective actions, to keep the project on track)
- Closing Process Group (Used for logically bringing a project or a phase to an orderly end)
We can try to understand the various activities and process that will happen under each of the project groups.
- Initiating Process Group
Initiating processes are used to properly kick off a new project or phase. The project manager must clearly understand the project’s or phase’s goals and objectives. In addition, the project manager must obtain formal approval from senior management before beginning the project or phase. The project feasibility study within the constraints may also be checked to ensure the project’s feasibility. The project manager will also identify all project stakeholders who will be involved in some way with the project.As per PMBOK guide 6th edition, there are 2 initiating processes in this group.
- Planning Process Group
Planning is a major and comprehensive activity in project management. An integrated project plan is required. Elaborating the project requirements and scope, developing a detailed project schedule,WBS Dictionary, cost estimation and budgeting, developing resource estimation, communication plans, risk response planning, procurement planning, and stakeholder engagement plan are all part of the planning process. All subsidiary plans are created and integrated into a master plan.There are 24 planning processes as per PMBOK guideline latest edition.
- Executing Process Group
To carry out the plan, execution processes are used. All of the project tasks identified in the plan are carried out as planned. The appropriate resources are brought on board, and specific tasks are delegated to them. Appropriate suppliers and service providers are also chosen, and specific project tasks are assigned to them. The project’s deliverables are created by the team and the suppliers. The project manager is also responsible for team building, communication, quality assurance, and stakeholder management, with the goal of completing all project deliverables.Executing processes include 10 processes as per PMBOK 6th edition.
- Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
Monitoring project progress and identifying variances on a regular basis is critical to project management. Taking recommended corrective action, preventive action, and defect repairs to correct the variances is equally important for keeping the project on track. The progress of the project is measured against the baselines of scope, time, cost, and quality. Change requests of various kinds are also monitored and controlled. These processes run concurrently with project execution processes throughout the project lifecycle.These are processes are on-going throughout the project lifecycle parallel to project executing processes.
- Closing Process Group
The closing process group ensures that all project or phase activities are properly closed. The project deliverables are handed over to different types of stakeholders. Lessons learned are catalogued. All project documentation is archived to ensure that it can be accessed in the future.