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 1 published here February 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)

Abstract | Introduction | Clearing the Confusion | Processes
Knowledge Areas | Process Groups within Knowledge Areas | PART 2

Process Groups within Knowledge Areas

As explained earlier, PMI's Standards present each of the three PMBOK® models in the order: life cycles, process groups, and then knowledge areas. This approach can give the impression on reaching Chapter 4 of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edn. that KAs are arbitrary clusters of the processes.

This is of course not the case at all, and processes provide the driving force for delivering part of the corresponding KA. In this way, the PGs provide a structured way of analyzing one KA at a time, and then identifying the best practices relative to that area. And finally you can describe the processes involved in delivering these best practices (e.g. "for resource management: what planning activities are required to ensure effective management of resources in most projects most of the time?").

KAs are knowledge-based clusters of processes whereas PGs focus on function. Seen another way, each KA is a process in its own right, made up of component (sub-) processes. This view provides a progressive way of developing the content of each KA in a manner compatible with the overall approach of the PMBOK® Guide: i.e. progressive elaboration and hierarchical decomposition.

This analysis is best carried out by focusing, within the KA, on each of the PGs in turn, as explained above where the Project Risk Management KA was used as an example.

In this way, the PGs should be used as an aid to analysis and understanding within each KA. They provide a logical sequencing of steps within each KA, and, in accordance with the progressive elaboration approach for projects, some or all of this sequence is normally reiterated a number of times during the lifetime of a project.

The crucial, additional point to understand is that although this looping happens in all KAs, the loops are normally asynchronous between KAs although there can be some interactions. For example, when a phase terminates ["closing" in Integration Management] it is good practice to assess the situation with respect to risk ["planning" in Risk Management].

Table 1-4 in the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edn. gives the full set of processes in terms of both their corresponding PG and their KA.

 

4: Project Integration Management

Initiating

4.1: Develop Project Charter

Planning

4.2: Develop Project Management Plan

Executing

4.3: Direct and Manage Project Work
4.4: Manage Project Knowledge

Controlling

4.5: Monitor and Control Project Work
4.6: Perform Integrated Change Control

Closing

4.7: Close Project or Phase

 

5: Project Scope Management

Planning

5.1: Plan Scope Management
5.2: Collect Requirements
5.3: Define Scope
5.4: Create WBS

Controlling

5.5: Validate Scope
5.6: Control Scope

 

6: Project Schedule Management

Planning

6.1: Plan Schedule Management
6.2: Define Activities
6.3: Sequence Activities
6.4: Estimate Activity Durations
6.5: Develop Schedule

Controlling

6.6: Control Schedule

 

7: Project Cost Management

Planning

7.1: Plan Cost Management
7.2: Estimate Costs
7.3: Determine Budget

Controlling

7.4: Control Costs

 

8: Project Quality Management

Planning

8.1: Plan Quality Management

Executing

8.2: Manage Quality

Controlling

8.3: Control Quality

 

9: Project Resource Management

Planning

9.1: Plan Resource Management
9.2: Estimate Activity Resources

Executing

9.3: Acquire Resources
9.4: Develop Team
9.5: Manage Team

Controlling

9.6: Control Resources

 

10: Project Communications Management

Planning

10.1: Plan Communications Management

Executing

10.2: Manage Communications

Controlling

10.3: Monitor Communications

 

11: Project Risk Management

Planning

11.1: Plan Risk Management
11.2: Identify Risks
11.3: Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
11.4: Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
11.5: Plan Risk Responses

Executing

11.6: Implement Risk Responses

Controlling

11.7: Monitor Risks

 

12: Project Procurement Management

Planning

12.1: Plan Procurement Management

Executing

12.2: Conduct Procurements

Controlling

12.3: Control Procurements

 

13: Project Stakeholder Management

Initiating

13.1: Identify Stakeholders

Planning

13.2: Plan Stakeholder Engagement

Planning

13.3: Manage Stakeholder Engagement

Controlling

Monitor Stakeholder Engagement

Table 1: PMBOK® Guide 6th Edn. Table 1-4

Although Table 1-4 in the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edn. is useful in that it shows the two groupings on a single chart, it fails to show the important concept that the PGs are clusters within the corresponding KA, and have much less significance outside those areas.

PGs indicate the type of activity you are carrying out, but KAs ensure that the PG is applied to deliver practical results for the project.

In Part 2 of this paper, I'll take you through: Understanding the Confusion and what we could or should do about it to make the Guide more robust, understandable and credible.

Editor's Note: Part 2 of this paper will appear next month.

Knowledge Areas  Knowledge Areas
PART 2  PART 2

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