This Guest paper is an updated version of a paper first published in the PM World Journal, January 2018. This revision was presented for publication December 24, 2017
Part 2 published here March 2018

In this paper: IPECC = Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, Closing OGC = Office of Government Commerce (UK) KAs = Knowledge Areas (in the PMBOK Guide) PGs = Process Groups (ditto) PMBOK = Project Management Body of Knowledge (Guide) PMI = Project Management Institute (USA)

PART 1 | Introduction | Understanding the Confusion
Proposed Changes to the PMBOK® Guide | Option 2: A New Concept for Process Groups
Applying SPAARC to Improve Knowledge Area Definition | Conclusion

Applying SPAARC to Improve Knowledge Area Definition

Table 2 can serve as a basis for reviewing the structure of existing KAs. For example, Communications Management seems either to have bundled together Specification, Analysis, and Planning into a single process called "Plan Communications Management", or not to have any processes for analysis or for action planning. In either case, the resulting KA is incompletely structured.

In a similar way, the SPAARC approach also provides a basis for designing any new KAs (such as "organizational change management" for example). It also helps to understand the way in which processes are used within the KAs and removes the need for the additional discussion about this that has been added into in the sixth edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

No Need for the Discussion on Frequency of Use

One additional benefit of the SPAARC approach is that the interdependency chart shown in Figure 4 makes the discussion, in section 1.2.4.4 of the PMBOK® Guide, on categories of processes, based on their frequency of use, unnecessary because:

  • "Processes used once or at predefined points in the project" align with the Specifying step.
  • "Processes that are performed periodically as needed" belong in the Analysis, Preparation and Action steps.
  • "Processes that are performed continuously throughout the project" are those involved in Review and Control.

For that reason, this superficial analysis of process frequency of use can — and should — be removed from future editions of the PMBOK® Guide because their frequency of use is determined by the KAS to which they belong, and the interdependencies between KASes shown in Figure 4. In the interim (i.e., the next five years), it can safely be ignored.

Option 2: A New Concept for Process Groups  Option 2: A New Concept for Process Groups

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