What Are the Project Management Process Groups?

Part 3

Earlier Parts

In Part 1 explained the differences between project life cycle and project life span.
In Part 2 we discussed the differences between phases and stages and how each term is used.

Part 3

In today’s post, we will address the group of project management processes, a term made popular by the PMBOK Guide, published by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Process Groups

The following are the main points related to process groups:

The process groups is a term used to refer to groups of processes.
Each group consists of two or more processes.
This term is made popular by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) since it is a foundation element in the PMI Project Management Framework, which is described in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).
The process groups are used to help us manage a project or a phase of a project.
These process groups are called: Initiation, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing.
They are derived from the quality cycle of plan-do-check-act.
Together, these process groups have 42 processes; per the 4th edition of the PMBOK® Guide.
If we are not mistaken, the five process groups have been around since the original PMBOK® Guide was published in 1996 (as a guide); the same groups.
However, the number of processes within these groups has changed over time; current version has 42 processes; earlier versions had more or less processes.
It is also possible that specific processes can shift from one process group to another; between subsequent editions of the standards.

How to use the process groups?

Basically the processes of these process groups repeat in every stage of the project. we apply them during stage initiation, stage planning, stage execution, stage closing, and stage monitoring and controlling (throughout the stage). Once we conclude a stage and move to the next one, we repeat the processes.

What are some of the processes

As we mentioned there are 42 processes. What are some of them?

Let us focus on risk management processes; as an example. In risk management there are 6 processes; 5 of them are planning processes and ideally they are sequential. For example, there is a process to establish the risk management plan. Next there is a process to identify risks. Once we identify risks there is a process to prioritize the risks bases on qualitative analysis… and so on.

Closing Comment

Through the above we have only focused on explaining the process groups in as simple terms as possible. For further reading, refer to the PMBOK® Guide.

In the next post we will focus on comparing Phases/Stages with Process Groups and discuss a common misunderstanding and a common misuse of these concepts that a large number of project management practitioners, even those who hold certifications, are making.

Stay tuned!

Mounir Ajam

Mounir A. Ajam is eager to awaken the giant of project management within individuals, organizations, and nations! He is an international speaker, author, consultant, executive coach, volunteer leader, entrepreneur, and social entrepreneur.

Mounir experience is global and has had the opportunity to work and live in the United States, United Kingdom, South East Asia and West Asia. Mounir is the co-founder and CEO of SUKAD FZ-LLC a leading provider of Integrated Project Management Solutions that is based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

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