Execution to perfection
Execution to perfection

What is the Project Management Process?


There are many different ways in which you can organise a specific project. However, there are certain processes that are essential, and there are certain ways of implementing these process that help to ensure a project’s efficiency, effectiveness and success.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has made it one of their prerogatives to refine the project management process into a science. Consequently, the project process set out in the PMI’s PMBOK Guide has become the standard procedure for organising projects.


What is the PMBOK Guide?

The PMBOK Guide, or Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, is a comprehensive handbook compiled and published by the Project Management Institute.

The PMBOK Guide sets out all the standards, practices, terminology and guidelines for project management as a profession. The PMBOK Guide is primarily organised around the 5 project process groups, as identified by the PMI’s research:

The 5 Project Process groups

A project consists of countless processes, from defining a project, to creating a budget, to compiling statistics. There are, in fact, 47 identifiable processes according to the PMBOK Guide. All these different process, however, can be grouped into 5 categories called the 5 process groups.

The 5 process groups comprises a project’s life-cycle, from beginning to completion. These process groups are called:


1. Initiation

This is the first phase of the project process. During initiation, you work with a client brief and brainstorm ideas, define the project, define the project’s goals, and set up the specifications and parameters of the project.

2. Planning

The second phase is planning. During this phase, you write out a baseline plan for your project. This baseline plan will include things like: schedules, resource lists, tasks and activities, team members, risk analyses and reporting structures.

The plan then needs to be evaluated and approved by project stakeholders (your client, employer, or even in some cases: the government).

3. Execution

Execution means the implementation of your project plan. The execution phase can take the longest of all the processes, depending on the particular project: it can be the building of the largest skyscraper in the world, or it can merely be a two day conference that needs to be managed.

The performance of the project team is crucial during this part of the process.

4. Monitoring and Controlling

Monitoring and controlling consists of keeping to your schedule, reporting to stakeholders and interested parties, monitoring the budget, and making sure that the execution of the project matches up to the initial plan.

The project process also goes back and forth between planning, executing, and monitoring during this phase. Each time there is a discrepancy during the monitoring phase, the plan needs to be altered and re-implemented.

5. Closure

As the project nears completion, you need to close out all contracts, meet the final project goals, and compile all the final reports and documentation.

It is important to document everything before closing the project. Evaluating the project results, as well as your project team, is also important.

Other factors contributing to the project process

There are plenty of factors impacting a project’s success. These things all play into the 5 phases. This includes: project management tools, and what the Project Management Institute calls the 10 Areas of Knowledge (which is also included in the PMBOK Guide).


10 Areas of Knowledge

The 10 Areas of Knowledge all fit into the 5 process groups. These are all areas of knowledge that project managers need to master in order to successfully implement the project process from initiation to closure:

  1. Project Integration Management: This includes all the activities involved in co-ordinating the different project phases.
  2. Project Scope Management: This involves ensuring that the project includes all the work, and only the work, that is required to complete the project successfully.
  3. Project Time Management: This includes everything needed to ensure that the project is completed by the deadline.
  4. Project Cost Management: This involves planning the budget, financing, funding, and controlling costs throughout the project process.
  5. Project Quality Management: This involves determining quality policies and objectives regarding the project.
  6. Project Human Resource Management: This includes everything that relates to leading a project team.
  7. Project Communications Management: This includes everything from communicating with team members and contractors, to reporting, storing, and distributing information.
  8. Project Risk Management: This involves conducting risk analyses and controlling risks during a project’s implementation.
  9. Project Procurement Management: This involves securing all the services you need for the project that lies outside the project team.
  10. Project Stakeholders Management: This involves liai