Don't confuse project phases and life cycles with the project management process groups. Project phases and life cycles describe how the work
Let's start with a high-level overview of each process group. The remainder of this book will cover each of these processes in detail. If you want to peek ahead, Appendix A lists each of the process groups, the individual processes that make up each process group, and the Knowledge Areas in which they belong. (I'll introduce Knowledge Areas in the section "Exploring the Project Management Knowledge Areas" in Chapter 2.)
Initiating The Initiating process group, as its name implies, occurs at the beginning of the project and at the beginning of each project phase for large projects. Initiating acknowledges that a project, or the next project phase, should begin. This process group grants the approval to commit the organization's resources to working on the project or phase and authorizes the project manager to begin working on the project. The outputs of the Initiating process group, including the project charter and identification of the stakeholders, become inputs into the Planning process group.
Planning The Planning process is the process group of formulating and revising project goals and objectives and creating the project management plan that will be used to achieve the goals the project was undertaken to address. The Planning process group also involves determining alternative courses of action and selecting from among the best of those to produce the project's goals. This process group is where the project requirements are fleshed out and stakeholders are identified. Planning has more processes than any of the other project management process groups. In order to carry out their functions, the Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing process groups all rely on the Planning processes and the documentation produced during the Planning processes. Project managers will perform frequent iterations of the Planning processes prior to project completion. Projects are unique and, as such, have never been done before. Therefore, Planning must encompass all areas of project management and consider budgets, activity definition, scope planning, schedule development, risk identification, staff acquisition, procurement planning, and more. The greatest conflicts a project manager will encounter in this process group are project prioritization issues.
Executing The Executing process group involves putting the project management plan into action. It's here that the project manager will coordinate and direct project resources to meet the objectives of the project plan. The Executing processes keeps the project plan on track and ensures that future execution of project plans stays in line with project objectives. This process group is typically where approved changes are implemented. The Executing process group will utilize the most project time and resources, and as a result, costs are usually highest during the Executing processes. Project managers will experience the greatest conflicts over schedules in this cycle.
Monitoring and Controlling The Monitoring and Controlling process group is where project performance measurements are taken and analyzed to determine whether the project is staying true to the project plan. The idea is to identify problems as soon as possible and apply corrective action to control the work of the project and assure successful outcomes. For example, if you discover that variances exist, you'll apply corrective action to get the project activities realigned with the project plan. This might require additional passes through the Planning processes to adjust project activities, resources, schedules, budgets, and so on.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.