PMBOK 3. Project Management Processes

Project processes fall into two major categories:

  1. Project-management processes: These processes support the project through its lifecycle in applying skills, tools and techniques
  2. Product-oriented processes: these process help create the product of a project and a typically defined by the project lifecycle
  • Focus on application of PM knowledge, skills and tools to complete PM activities through PM processes
  • A process is a set of interrelated actions and activities performed to create a pre-specified product, service, or result with inputs, tools and techniques and a set of outputs or results or products
  • Tools are tangible items used in performing an activity to produce a result
  • Techniques are procedures used to perform an activity to produce a result
  • Within each project a PM should:
    1. Only use organizational processes as resources and select processes required to meet objectives
    2. Use a defined approach
    3. Balance the 6 constraints:
      • Scope
      • Schedule
      • Budget
      • Quality
      • Resources
      • Risks
  • Indication of a good PM process is that is can be applied globally and within different industries, disciplines and projects
  • Project management is iterative and outcome of one process and affect another defined project process
  • Project Management process are grouped into 5 major process groups:
    1. Initiating
    2. Planning
    3. Executing
    4. Monitoring and Control
    5. Closing
  • Each of these process groups consists of project management processes and activities that contribute to a successful management of a project

3.1  Project Management Process Interactions

  • PM processes are presented as discrete elements but in practice they overlap and interact
  • The application of processes is iterative and many processes are repeated during a project
  • Therefore the Monitoring and Control processes continue in parallel to other processes in the process group and is considered to be a background process group
  • PM process groups are seldom discrete or one-time activities. They are linked by outputs
  • Output of one process generally becomes input of another process or a deliverable of the project
  • Planning process group provide PM plan and documents and their updates

Process Groups

3.2   Project Management Process Groups

  • The Process Groups are not project life cycle phases
  • It is possible that all Process Groups could be conducted within a phase
  • All of the Process Groups would normally be repeated for each phase or subcomponent of a project
  • The project management processes are shown in the Process Group in which most of the related activities takes place

Process Groups Flow

3.3   Initiating Process Group

  • Define a new project or a new phase of an existing project:
  • Obtain authorization to start the project or phase
  • Define initial scope and commit initial financial resources are committed
  • Engage internal and external stakeholders
  • Assign the project manager – if not already assigned
  • Capture information in the project charter and stakeholder register

A project boundary is defined as the point in time that a project or project phase is authorized to complete.

The key purpose of this Process Group is to:

  • Align the stakeholders’ expectations and give them visibility into the scope and objectives
  • Help set the vision of the project—what is needed to be accomplished
  • Develop Project Charter

3.4  Planning Process Group

  • Establish the total scope of the effort
  • Define and refine the objectives
  • Develop the project management plan
  • Incorporate updates arising from approved changes during the project (generally during Monitoring and Controlling processes)
  • Seek input and encourages involvement from all stakeholders

Progressive Elaboration: As more project information or characteristics are gathered and understood, additional planning will likely be required.

The key benefits of this Process Group are to:

  • Delineate the strategy and tactics
  • Outline course of action or path to successfully complete the project or phase

The project management plan and project documents developed as outputs from the Planning Process Group

3.5   Executing Process Group

  • Complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications
  • Coordinate people and resources
  • Manage stakeholder expectations
  • Perform the activities of the project in accordance with the project management plan

During project execution, results may require planning updates and rebaselining. Such variances may:

  • Affect the project management plan or project documents
  • Trigger change requests that, if approved
  • Modify the project management plan

A large portion of the project’s budget will be expended in performing the Executing Process Group processes.

3.6  Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

  • Track, review, and orchestrate the progress and performance of the project
  • Identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required
  • Initiate the corresponding changes

The key benefits of this Process Group are:

  • Project performance is measured and analyzed at regular intervals, appropriate events, or exception conditions to identify variances from the project management plan.
  • Provides insight into the health of the project and identifies any areas requiring additional attention.

The Monitoring and Controlling Process Group also involves:

  • Controlling changes and recommending corrective or preventive action in anticipation of possible problems
  • Monitoring the ongoing project activities against the project management plan and the project performance measurement baseline
  • Ensuring only approved changes are implemented.

The Monitoring and Controlling Process Group not only monitors and controls the work being done within a Process Group, but also monitors and controls the entire project effort.

3.7  Closing Process Group

  • Conclude all activities across all Project Management Process Groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations
  • Formally establishes that the project or project phase is complete or premature closure of the project
  • Ensure activities are performed to transfer to other organizational units, specific hand-over procedures may be arranged and finalized.

At project or phase closure, the following may occur:

  • Obtain acceptance by the customer or sponsor to formally close the project or phase,
  • Conduct post-project or phase-end review
  • Record impacts of tailoring to any process
  • Document lessons learned
  • Apply appropriate updates to organizational process assets
  • Archive all relevant project documents in the project management information system (PMIS) to be used as historical data
  • Close out all procurement activities ensuring termination of all relevant agreements
  • Perform team members’ assessments and release project resources.

3.8  Project Information

Throughout the life cycle of the project, a significant amount of data and information is collected, analyzed, transformed, and distributed in various formats to project team members and other stakeholders. Project

  • Work performance data. The raw observations and measurements identified during activities performed to carry out the project work. Examples include reported percent of work physically completed, quality and technical performance measures, start and finish dates of schedule activities, number of change requests, number of defects, actual costs, actual durations, etc.
  • Work performance information. The performance data collected from various controlling processes, analyzed in context and integrated based on relationships across areas. Examples of performance information are status of deliverables, implementation status for change requests, and forecasted estimates to complete.
  • Work performance reports. The physical or electronic representation of work performance information compiled in project documents, intended to generate decisions or raise issues, actions, or awareness. Examples include status reports, memos, justifications, information notes, electronic dashboards, recommendations, and updates.



3.9  Roles of the Knowledge Areas

  • The 47 project management processes identified in the PMBOK® Guide are further grouped into ten separate Knowledge Areas.
  • A Knowledge Area represents a complete set of concepts, terms, and activities that make up a professional field, project management field, or area of specialization.

These ten Knowledge Areas are used on most projects most of the time.

The Knowledge Areas are:

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Time Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Human Resource Management
  7. Project Communications Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management
  10. Project Stakeholder Management.

The PMBOK® Guide defines the important aspects of each Knowledge Area and how it integrates with the five Process Groups. As supporting elements, the Knowledge Areas provide a detailed description of the process inputs and outputs along with a descriptive explanation of tools and techniques most frequently used within the project management processes to produce each outcome.


  Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
1.       Project Integration Management 1.       Develop Project Charter 2.       Develop Project Management Plan 3.       Develop and Manage Project Work 4.       Monitor and Control Project Work

5.       Perform Integrated Change Control

6.       Close Project or Phase
2.       Project Scope Management 7.       Plan Scope Management

8.       Collect Requirements

9.       Define scope

10.    Create WBS

11.    Validate Scope

12.    Control Scope

3.       Project Time Management 13.    Plan Schedule Management

14.    Define Activities

15.    Sequence Activities

16.    Estimate Activity Resources

17.    Estimate Activity Duration

18.    Develop Schedule

19.    Control Schedule
4.       Project Cost Management 20.    Plan Cost Management

21.    Estimate Cost

22.    Determine Budget

23.    Control Costs
5.       Project Quality Management 24.    Plan Quality Management 25.    Perform Quality Assurance 26.    Control Quality
6.       Project HR Management 27.    Plan HR Management 28.    Acquire Project Team

29.    Develop Project Team

30.    Manage Project Team

7.       Project Communication Management 31.    Plan Communication Management 32.    Manage Communication 33.    Control Communication
8.       Project Risk Management 34.    Plan Risk Management

35.    Identify Risk

36.    Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

37.    Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis

38.    Plan Risk Responses


39.    Control Risks
9.       Project Procurement Management 40.    Plan Procurement Management 41.    Conduct Procurements 42.    Control Procurements 43.    Close Procurements
10.   Project Stakeholder Management 44.    Identify Stakeholders 45.    Plan Stakeholder Management 46.    Manage Stakeholder Engagement 47.    Control Stakeholder Engagement

Table 3-1. Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping

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