The Process Flow

You should not think of the five process groups as one-time processes that are performed as discrete elements. Rather, these processes interact and overlap with each other. They are iterative and might be revisited and revised throughout the project's life several times as the project is refined. The PMBOK®Guide calls this process of going back through the process groups an iterative process. The conclusion of each process group allows the project manager and stakeholders to reexamine the business needs of the project and determine whether the project is satisfying those needs. And it is another opportunity to make a go or no-go decision.

Figure 1.7 shows the five process groups in a typical project. Keep in mind that during phases of a project, the Closing process group can provide input to the Initiating process group. For example, once the feasibility study discussed earlier is accepted or closed, it becomes an input to the Initiating process group of the design phase.

It's important to understand the flow of these processes for the exam. If you remember the processes and their inputs and outputs, it will help you when you're trying to decipher an exam question. The outputs of one process group may in some cases become the inputs into the next process group (or the outputs might be a deliverable of the project). Sometimes just understanding which process the question is asking about will help you determine the answer. One trick you can use to memorize these processes is to remember syrup of ipecac. You probably have some of this poison antidote in your medicine cabinet at home. If you think of the Monitoring and Controlling process group as simply "Controlling," when you sound out the first initial of each of the processes, it sounds like "ipecac"—IPECC (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing).

As I stated earlier, individual processes make up each of the process groups. For example, the Closing life cycle process group consists of two processes: Close Project and Phase and Close Procurements. Each process takes inputs and uses them in conjunction with various tools and techniques to produce outputs.

FIGURE 1.7 Project management process groups

Project Management Process Groups

Inputs initiating Monitoring and Controlling

Planning Monitoring and Controlling

Executing

Initiating

Planning

Executing

Monitoring and Controlling

Monitoring and -

Controlling

Closing

Outputs

->■ Monitoring and Controlling Planning ->- Executing ->- Closing

It's outside the scope of this book to explain all the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for each process in each process group (although each is listed in Appendix A). You'll find all the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs detailed in the PMBOK® Guide, and I highly recommend you get familiar with them.

Exam Spotlight

Understand each project management process group and all the processes that make up these groups. Appendix A contains a table of all the processes, their inputs, their tools and techniques, their outputs, and the Knowledge Area in which they each belong. (I'll introduce Knowledge Areas in the section "The Project Management Knowledge Areas" in Chapter 2.)

You'll see test questions regarding inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs of many of the processes within each process group. One way to keep them all straight is to remember that tools and techniques usually require action of some sort, be it measuring, applying some skill or technique, planning, or using expert judgment. Outputs are usually in the form of a deliverable. Remember that a deliverable is characterized with results or outcomes that can be measured, are tangible, and are provable. Last but not least, outputs from one process sometimes serve as inputs to another process.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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.

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