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PMP Process Groups

Process groups in PMP

There are five PMP® Process Groups used to organize and describe the work of the project. These are interrelated and dependent on one another.

They are:

  • Initiating Process Group
  • Planning Process Group
  • Executing Process Group
  • Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
  • Closing Process Group

For a project with several phases each of these process groups will be used in each phase starting of course, with the Initiating Process Group.

Process Groups – Initiating.

This process groups gives approval for the organisations resources to start work on the project. The products all deliverables from this process group include the project charter and identifying the stakeholders. These feed directly into the planning process group.

Process Groups – Planning.

This process group is responsible for developing the project management plan, and will include alternative options for the way forward, and will be based upon the best option. The project management plan is a living document, and as such will need to be updated throughout the project.

The planning activity includes these main elements; defining activities/tasks, defining the scope, developing the schedule, determining the budget, identifying risks and their actions, acquiring resources, and bringing these and more together to form the project management plan.

Process Groups – Executing.

This is the process group where the project manager implements their plan. It will require the project manager to monitor manage and control the resources, and ensure that the project is on track to deliver the project objectives. Since this process is where most of the work takes place, it is the most expensive and time-consuming within any project. It is also the process group where the team are acquired, devloped and managed. If appropriate, it is where procurements are conducted.

Process Groups – Monitoring and Controlling

This process is where the project performance is captured and measured on a regular basis to dertemine any variances from the project management plan in terms of the project performance baseline (time, cost and scope). An important aspect here is that only approved changes are implemented.

The focus here is on controliing changes (it uses Perform Integrated Change Control), and also recommends preventative action to side-step furture potential problems.

Process Groups – Closing.

The closing process is there to ensure a controlled shut down of the project. It ensures that the end deliverables/products are accepted, that the support environment is in place, that any lessons learned are passed on, documentation is archived, and resources are returned.

One of the most important activities in closing a project is to ensure that the end-deliverable/product has the capability of realising the business benefits contained within the project business case.

To help in this regard, it can be useful for the project manager to facilitate a final planning meeting with key stakeholders and operational staff, and produce a plan containing the necessary resources and timing for tracking benefits up to their final and full realisation.

Key activities here are to obtain acceptance by the sponsor or customer, close out procurements (if used), and conduct a post-project or phase-end review. Any lessons learned should be documented, and the organizational process assets must be updated. A record should be made of any tailoring made to an individual process, and to archive all relevant project documentation.

It is important that the reader understand that these process groups are not undertaken one time only for every project, rather, that iterative and used within the various phases


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David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for US multinationals and now develops a wide range of project-related video training products under the Primer brand. In addition, David runs training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management. He currently lives in Spain with his wife Jude.

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