Project Management

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Bryan Campbell

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Bryan Campbell is an Enterprise Agile Coach and Project Manager with more than 25 years of experience managing projects, programs and PMOs around the world.  He specializes in Agile and Digital Transformations and has worked with a number of Fortune 500 organizations helping them with their Transformation journeys.

Jeff Allen

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Jeff Allen is a highly regarded project management and agile expert. He has over 15 years of leadership experience in project management and agile at companies like Compaq and HP. As an Agile Coach, he has mentored over 5000 professionals globally.

Timothy T. Gaffney

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Timothy T. Gaffney has over 35 years of experience in the Engineering and Telecommunications industries.  As a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Tim delivered significant increases in revenues on multiple projects.  As an Agile Scrum Master, Tim led efforts that provided rapid, expert team-driven updates via enhanced workflows to improve the customer service process significantly.  […]

Deb Ashby

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Deborah Ashby is a Microsoft IT Trainer and content creator specializing in the design, delivery and facilitation of Microsoft training courses both online and in the classroom. Deborah has been an IT Trainer for 15 years in the private and public sectors and has been supporting Microsoft products for 25 years. Deborah went freelance two […]

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Ms. Casperson is a very passionate and accomplished trainer/instructor, with a PMP certification training focus. Kimberly facilitates learning and keeps the students engaged, going the extra mile to ensure students understand the intense material, while adding elements of challenge and entertainment to the classroom.

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What’s New in the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition?

The Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK® Guide) serves as a recognized standard for the profession of project management. A standard is a formal document that defines established norms, methods, processes, rules, and practices. The knowledge and facts contained in this standard are evolved and derived from the acclaimed effective practices of project management practitioners who contributed to the development of this standard. So, the majority of the questions in the PMP Exam are based on or derived from the information given in the PMBOK Guide. As a PMP candidate or aspirant, it is essential to understand the objective, content, and context of this guide.

Purpose of PMBOK® Guide

The fundamental purpose of the PMBOK Guide is to recognize and explain generally accepted knowledge and systems that can be applied to the projects. The PMBOK Guide is a subset of the project management body of knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice. Here, generally recognized means the knowledge and practices described in the book can be applied to maximum projects most of the time as it is a standard and there is general agreement about their value and usefulness. Good practice means most of the people agree that the application of the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques given in the book can improve the chances of success over many projects.

Although there have been many establishments of pre-defined facts, the project management profession is still emerging. The dynamism in the industry leads to uncertainty and little commonality around terms. The secondary purpose of the PMBOK Guide is to help provide a common lexicon or vocabulary. It can be used and understood by all for applying project management concepts. A common vocabulary is a crucial element of any discipline.

However, it is possible that these practices are followed by the masses but cannot be expected to be applied uniformly on all projects. It’s always the decision of the project team to determine what the most suitable and feasible practice for any given project would be.

What’s New in 6th Edition?

  1. Processes organized by process groups

    In PMBOK 6th edition, the processes are organized by process groups. This is because processes are more relevant to the process group as compared to a knowledge area.

  2. Content of chapters

    In PMBOK 5th edition, there were a total of 13 chapters covering the concepts of the project, program, portfolio and organizational structures in addition to the life cycle of the project. PMBOK 6th edition combines and strengthens these chapters. In addition to this, the skills and competencies a project manager should possess have been aligned to the PMI Talent Triangle.

    Click here to View PMI Talent Triangle

  3. Names of Two Knowledge Areas

    The ten knowledge areas in PMBOK 5 still exist in PMBOK 6th edition, but 2 of these knowledge areas’ names have been changed. Refer to the following table:

    PMBOK 5th Edition PMBOK 6th Edition
    Integration Management Integration Management
    Scope Management Scope Management
    Time Management Schedule Management
    Cost Management Cost Management
    Quality Management Quality Management
    Human Resource Management Resource Management
    Communication Management Communication Management
    Risk Management Risk Management
    Procurement Management Procurement Management
    Stakeholder Management Stakeholder Management
  4. Six Changes in Existing Processes

    Estimate Activity Resources belonged to Planning Process Group and Time Management Knowledge area. In PMBOK 6th edition, it still belongs to Planning Process Group, but now it will be part of Resource Management knowledge area. Six processes are renamed in PMBOK 6 although their content stays same mainly. The table below shows the changes of process names from PMBOK 5 to PMBOK 6th edition.

    PMBOK 5th Edition PMBOK 6th Edition
    Perform Quality Assurance Manage Quality
    Plan Human Resource Management Plan Resource Management
    Control Communications Monitor Communications
    Control Risks Monitor Risks
    Plan Stakeholder Management Plan Stakeholder Engagement
    Control Stakeholder Engagement Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
  5. Addition of information on Agile methodologies

    Adding more information on the adaptive and iterative methods helps one to keep up with current practices. Agile and adaptive practices are a significant part of all business strategy and projects now. Numerous projects are incorporating the agile methodology on their projects. So, PMI has added the relevant agile practices needed for each knowledge area in the PMBOK 6th edition.

  6. Addition of Three New Processes

    The process Close procurement in the Procurement Knowledge area has been removed in 6th edition. On the other hand, three new processes in different Knowledge areas are added. The following table lists the processes and the process group and knowledge area to which they belong:

    Process Process Group Knowledge Area
    Manage Project Knowledge Executing Integration Management
    Implement Risk Responses Executing Risk Management
    Control Resources Monitoring and Controlling Resource Management

    Therefore, to PMBOK’s 5th edition 47 processes, three are added. Then, from that, one is removed. So, essentially 49 processes are mentioned in PMBOK 6th edition.

  7. Other changes:

    Some other additions included in 6th edition are:

    • Trends and emerging practices

    • Tailoring considerations

    • A higher weight on Strategic and Business Knowledge

    • A new section on the role of the project manager


As you must know, knowledge and understanding of PMBOK gives you an upper hand on the following exams:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)

  • Program Management Professional (PgMP)

  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)SM

  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)

  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

PMBOK 6th edition presents solutions for project delivery professionals working in the entire spectrum of approaches – from predictive to cutting edge agile methodologies. It is a better, more accurate and more precise version of its previous forms.

What is Directing and Managing Project Work?


Directing and Managing Execution process is a method used to perform a project work that defines the project management plan. In general, after initiating a project, it involves various departments working towards a common goal. Usually, teams are well structured and managed, when they associate them with the same department. But, when the teams involved are from various departments, the reporting process becomes a difficult task.

As the project interface includes both formal and informal boundaries and relationships among team members, departments, and organizations. Managing such interfaces becomes a crucial function for a project manager.

Features of directing and managing project execution:

  • Producing the project deliverables by executing the project management plan

  • Instigating the approved changes, defect repairs, corrective and preventive actions
  • Implementing the planned methods, processes, and standards
  • Producing and distributing status information

If carefully observed, the developing and managing project execution process has the same control access points as mentioned in the methods of producing a project charter and project management plan.

The components involved in directing and managing project execution are:

  1. Inputs

    1. Project Management Plan

      Project Management Plan is the main agenda of the Directing and Managing Execution Process, as it contains all the subsidiary plans (scope baseline, cost baseline, schedule baseline, scope management, etc.) The PMP mainly guides the Project Manager as to how to manage, execute, monitor and control the project. Since the directing and managing process concentrates on how to implement the project, PMP is an essential input in the process

    2. Project Document:

      1. Changelog – Changelog is a process which records and stores all the information of the changes that are executed in the project from its initiation stage through to the completion stage.

      2. Lessons learned register – This process helps in improving the performance of the project through the lessons learned from the previously handled projects. The method mainly helps in avoiding the mistakes that have occurred in the previous project. All the rules and guidelines are properly aligned based on the information attained through this particular project.

      3. Milestone list – This is a process which describes and showcases the project scheduled dates and their specific milestones.

      4. Project communications – Any or whatsoever reports that are generated through the project are communicated and understood in this particular process. For example, performance reports, deliverable status, and other information.

      5. Project schedule – Describes the list of work activities, the work durations, the resources allocated, and the project’s scheduled initiation and completion stage.

      6. Requirements traceability matrix – This process links the product requirements to the project deliverables that satisfy them and helps to focus on the outcomes.

      7. Risk register – The risk register provides information on threats and opportunities that may occur and impact the execution of the project.

      8. Risk report – This process provides information about the sources of the overall project risks along with a detailed information summary of the identified individual project risks.

    3. Approved Change Requests

      The Change Requests are the predictable and authorized changes that concentrate on expanding or reducing the project scope. Directing and managing is the phase where the defects in the project, quality assurance, and preventive measures are all taking into high consideration. Every little aspect is taken care of and is corrected accordingly. One important thing to remember is that changes occur in every project, but making too many changes on a timely basis will hamper the quality of the project and will also affect the outcome.

    4. Enterprise Environmental Factors

      1. Stakeholder risk tolerances: Risk tolerance is the willingness to accommodate a high level of uncertainty when undertaking a task or making a decision. In simple terms, the desire to lose determines the risk tolerance of an individual or an organization. For instance, individuals spending money on products that come with no guarantee or performance assurance in the hope that the replacement product for the existing item might cost them more and there are others who pay more for the same product which has a guaranteed performance.

      2. Culture and structure of an organization: The culture and structure play an important role in determining the success rate of an organization. In any given organization the term culture should be given broader preference as it defines how the company works towards accomplishing a project successfully. When it comes to structure, it mainly focuses on how the company is ideally structured. As in, how the workload is managed and distributed across various departments involved in the project.

      3. Infrastructure: Well, when it comes to the role of infrastructure it mainly revolves around the availability of proper facilities and equipment in an organization for achieving the set targets by the project manager.

    5. Organizational Process Assets:

      1. Standardized guidelines and work instructions: Every organization have to set and implement standardized guidelines that are to be followed by all the departments and coming to the work instruction; they are the formalized rules and regulations that are to be adhered to by all teams during the project life cycle.

      2. Communication requirements: It’s a form where communication takes place between various interfaces of the organization (electronic and manual), to collect previous project details and records to have a clear vision.

      3. Issue and defect management procedures: When a project takes shape, it is bound to experience issues and defect in one or the other areas of the project. It is the responsibility of the team to identify the problems that are to arise and ensure that they have proper solutions.

      4. Process measurement database: Collecting and preparing a database of the available information that pertains to the ongoing processes and products. The process will help in measuring the real-time workflow concerning those carried out previously.

      5. Project files from previous projects: The availability of project files from previous projects will help provide scope for improvement in identifying the loopholes in the current project and bridging the gap where ever necessary. The process will mainly look into aspects of scope, cost, schedule, performance measurement baselines for references also by focusing on the project calendars and project schedule for allocating and carrying out work.

      6. Issue and defect management database: The database will containing information on the status of historical issues and defects, methods used to control those issues, the resolutions that were churned out to tackle the problems and finally getting to know about the results of real-time actions that were carried out. The process, in general, contains results for all the procedures carried out during the issue and defect management procedures stage.

  2. Tools and Techniques

    1. Expert Judgment

      Expert Judgment is an essential stage in the direct and manage project execution process as it involves taking opinions from various units with the organization, consulting subject matter experts for reviews, including insights from the stakeholders and last but not the least views from professional and technical associations. Finally, the project management has to conduct procurements.

    2. Project Management Information System (PMIS)

      PMIS is the primary tool to direct and manage project execution. It is a collection of tools and techniques used to gather, integrate and disseminate the output of project management processes. The PMIS is a methodological process used for collecting using project information from initiating stage to the closure stage.

    3. Meetings

      Meetings should take place on a timely basis during the life cycle of the project. Regular meetings will allow the project manager to keep track of the proceeding and to interact with all the departments and share important details with the stakeholders. In whole, conducting meetings will keep things in an organized/structured manner.

  3. Outputs

    1. Deliverables

      The most important output of the process is achieving an approved deliverable. A deliverable is a unique and identifiable product, service, or result identified in the project management plan which is to be generated to complete a project. The core purpose of executing the project management plan is to produce deliverables.

    2. Work Performance Data

      A process where the project manager is monitoring the status of the project executed. It’s the collection of project information status and distributing it amongst all the stakeholders during the project execution.

      • Work completed

      • Key performance indicators (KPIs)

      • Technical performance measures

      • Actual start and finish dates of scheduled activities

      • Story points completed

      • Deliverables status

      • Schedule progress

      • Number of change requests

      • Number of defects

      • Actual costs incurred and duration

    3. Issue Log

      The issue log is a project document where all the issues are recorded and tracked. Data on issues may include:

      • Issue type

      • Who raised the issue and when

      • Description and priority

      • Who is assigned to the issue

      • Target resolution date

      • Status and Final solution.

      The primary objective of the issue log is to assist the project manager to efficiently track and manage issues so that they are investigated and resolved from time to time. Even though issues can occur at any point in time in the project, it is for the first time created as an output in this process.

    4. Change Requests

      After project execution, issues occur unprecedentedly. These changes are requested to be performed during the project is underway and may affect certain aspects of the project which may modify the project policies and procedures. Most importantly they will leave an impact on –

      1. Corrective Action – An activity that re-adjusts the performance of the project work with the project management plan.

      2. Preventive Action – An activity that ensures the future performance of the project work is appropriately aligned with the project management plan.

      3. Defect repair – An activity to modify a nonconforming product or product component. All the products that do not comply with the project are repaired and replaced.

      4. Updates – Implementing changes to the formally controlled project documents, project management plans, etc., to reflect modified or additional ideas or content.

    5. Project Management Plan Updates

      Achieving the project deliverables specified in the project management plan and maintaining a performance data as the work progresses is the main agenda of developing and managing project execution process.

    6. Project Documents Updates

      Project documents that may be updated as a result of carrying out this process include:

      1. Activity list – The activity list will be updated with additional or modified activities or processes to be performed to complete project work.

      2. Assumption log – The assumption log will be updated with new expectation and constraints, based on the status of existing assumptions.

      3. Lessons learned register – The Lesson learned register would help in implementing new methods and skills which will help in improving the performance of the ongoing or any future projects. This process will record and store any and all new lessons that can assist in the development of the performance of the project.

      4. Requirements documentation – Any given project will come across a situation where it might require additional resources, and the process of requirements documentation will help in identifying the requirements during the project’s lifecycle and update the same whenever it is obtained or implemented.

      5. Risk register – This process is used to identify new risks involved in the project and updating the existing risks. These identified or updated risks are registered via the risk management process.

      6. Stakeholder Register – The process where additional information on the new and existing stakeholders is gathered and recorded. The process will have information about the role of the stakeholders, the changes and the updates they have asked for and implemented.

    7. Organizational Process Assets Updates

      This process is used to thoroughly update the organizational process assets upon conducting a thorough check and monitoring the outputs.

To sum up, directing and managing project work is the process which ensures that the many methods of the executing process group, during which the actual project deliverables are produced, are directed and managed so as to that, they meet the desired expectations laid out by the stakeholders and are accordingly performed as stated in the project management plan.

How to Perform Integrated Change Control ?


Perform Integrated Change Control Process is an important process that is executed under the Integration Management Knowledge area and Monitoring and Controlling Process group. The reason it’s called ‘Integrated’ is that this is the process where the impact of any change is assessed against the project. An important thing to note is that, if a change occurs in one part of the project, it needs to be assessed across the whole of the project.

As the project manager continually measures the project against the project management plan under the Monitor and Control Project Process, changes are an obvious outcome. Concerning this, a common question always lingers in the mind of the project manager as to – if changes were transpiring during the project lifecycle, how does one decide on which changes are essential and which are not? Which are to be performed and which are to be skipped? This is when the Perform Integrated Changes Control process comes into the picture.

Perform Integration Change Control – Process


  1. Project Management Plan

    A formal, approved document used to manage project execution. It documents the actions necessary to define, prepare, integrate and coordinate the various planning activities. It also explains how the project is executed, monitored and controlled, and closed.

    The elements of the Project Management Plan that can be used include:

    1. Change management plan

      The process which provides guidelines for managing the change control process and records the roles and responsibility of the change control board.

    2. Configuration management plan

      The process of Configuration Management plan documents how configuration management will be performed. It defines those items that are configurable, those that require formal change control, and the process for controlling changes to such issues.

    3. Scope baseline

      Every project has a scope, and this process of scope baseline is what defines the project and product.

    4. Schedule baseline

      All the tasks and processes related to the project have a fixed schedule within which they have to be accomplished, and the completed tasks are then compared based on the schedule baseline.

    5. Cost baseline

      During the process of performing integrated changes to the project, the cost baseline is what helps the project manager to assess the impact of the changes to the project’s actual cost.

  2. Project Documents

    Project documents that can be considered as inputs for this process include but are not limited to:

    1. Basis of estimates

      The Basis of estimates method indicate how the project’s duration, cost, and resources estimates were derived and how they can be used to calculate the impact of the change in time, budget, and resources.

    2. Requirements traceability matrix

      The requirements traceability matrix process helps assess the impact of the change in the project scope.

    3. Risk report

      The risk report presents information on sources of overall and individual project risks involved by the change requested.

  3. Work Performance Reports

    The work performance information/reports should be distributed with the monotonous collection of data, including schedule progress, subsequent delays and their causes, critical path activities, activities presenting delays, and actions for recovery and other vital data for managing the work. In whole, a physical representation of work performance information compiled in project documents, intended to generate decisions, actions, recommendations.

    Work performance reports for the Perform Integrated Change Control process includes reports on;

    1. Resource availability

    2. Schedule and cost data

    3. Earned value management (EVM) reports

    4. Burn up or burn down charts

  4. Change Requests

    The Monitoring and Controlling processes along with the Executing processes produce numerous change requests as an output. The Change requests may include;

    1. Corrective action

    2. Preventive action

    3. Defect repairs

    However, the project baselines are not affected by taking up the corrective and preventive action, but only the project performance against the benchmarks will witness changes.

  5. Enterprise Environmental Factors

    Concerning the Perform Integrated Change Control process, Project Management Information System is the only enterprise environmental factor. As the PMIS includes scheduling tools, configuration management system, information collection and distribution systems, an integrated change will have an impact on all the process that comes under PMIS.

  6. Organizational Process Assets

    The Perform Integrated Change Control process will influence the change control procedures, along with the steps that modify the organizational standards, policies, plans and project documents. It will also allow recording how the changes are approved, validated and implemented.

The PICC process will also be influenced by the methods used for approving and issuing change authorizations. The PICC process will get affected by the process measurement database that is used to collect and make available measurement data on processes and products.

Tools and Techniques

  1. Expert Judgment

    An expert judgment may consist of opinions and advice from project management teams along with stakeholder’s expertise. The stakeholders may also be asked to take positions on the change control board. These judgments and knowledge are applied to all technical and management levels during the – Perform Integrated Change Control Process.

  2. Meetings

    In case of Perform Integrated Change Control process, meetings are usually referred to as change control meetings. A change control board (CCB) is responsible for meeting and reviewing the change requests along with the task of approving, rejecting any changes in the project. Appropriate stakeholders define and accept the roles and responsibilities, and the same are documented in the change management plan. The decisions taken by the Change Control board are documented and communicated through to the stakeholders as a form of information.

  3. Change Control Tools

    One of the essential features of Changes is that it can help ensure that the project is appropriately aligned with the needs of the organization. Change control is considered a critical process in project management. It provides that all changes proposed during the project are defined, reviewed as well as approved before they are even implemented into the project. Change Control under Perform Integrated Change Control avoids all unnecessary changes that can disrupt the project. Moreover, it also ensures that the changes will not affect the resources.

    Change control tools should support the following configuration management activities:

    1. Identify configuration item

      The process of Identifying and selecting a configuration item to provide its basis after which the product configuration is defined and verified, and documents are labeled, changes are managed, and accountability is maintained.

    2. Record and report configuration item status

      The process where the information of each configuration item is recorded and reported.

    3. Perform configuration item verification and audit

      Configuration verification and audits ensure that the composition of a project’s configuration items is correct and that the corresponding changes are registered, assessed, approved, tracked, and correctly implemented. This process ensures that the functional requirements defined in the configuration documentation are achieved.

      The tools mentioned above should support the following change management activities as well:

      1. Identify changes – The activity of identifying and selecting a change item for processes or project documents.

      2. Document changes – The process of documenting the change occurred in the project into a proper change request.

      3. Decide on changes – This particular process helps in reviewing the changes; approving, rejecting, deferring, or making any other decision about changes to the project documents, deliverables, or baselines.

      4. Track changes – The process of verifying that the executed changes are registered, assessed, approved, and tracked and communicate the final results to the project stakeholders.

  4. Decision Making

    Decision-making techniques that can be used for this process include but are not limited to:

    1. Voting

      The process of voting can take many forms, and some of them are unanimity, majority, or plurality to decide on whether or not to accept, defer, or reject the change requests necessary for the project.

    2. Autocratic decision making

      In this decision-making technique, one individual takes complete responsibility for deciding on behalf of the entire group which would benefit the project outcome.

    3. Multicriteria decision analysis

      A technique which uses a decision matrix to provide a systematic analytical approach to evaluate and monitor the requested changes according to a set of predefined criteria.

  5. Data Analysis

    Data analysis techniques that can be used for this process include:

    1. Alternatives analysis

      This technique is used to determine the requested changes and decide which are accepted, rejected, or required to be modified to be finally approved.

    2. Cost-benefit analysis

      This analysis helps to assess if the requested change is worth its associated cost.


  1. Approved Change Requests

    Approved Change Requests are the changes that are requested by the Project Manager. These changes are reviewed and approved by the Change Control Board, through the process of Integrated Change Control for implementation. Approved Change Requests can take place at any stage of the project (For example, during the early stages of the project, changes can occur in the form of – Change in a contractor, change in relocation or change in the design)

  2. Changelog

    For every project, a project manager maintains a change log to register or document changes that occur in a project. Registering changes and their impact on the given project regarding time, cost, and risk is communicated to the stakeholders.

  3. Project Management Plan Updates

    Features or components of the Project Management Plan that are updated and influenced through the Perform Integrated Change Control process are – The Scope Management Plan (the procedures for scope changes) and Scope baseline (product definition)

  4. Project Documents Updates

    All documents that are considered part of the formal change control process are updated.

The Perform Integrated Change Control Process helps in segregating the critical changes from the possible ones. Through the implementation of integrated changes, the scope of the project will increase drastically and produce a better output. Establishing a Change Control Board to review and approve the changes requested will help a smooth process of deploying changes and most important document all the changes that are made and process it to pass it on to the key stakeholders as information. Hence, the Perform Integrated Change Control Process proves to be one of the crucial stages of the project’s lifecycle.

How to Close a Project?


Many times, the process of project closing is overlooked. To many, successful project delivery is defined by the completion of deliverables as per the objectives of time and cost. Many practitioners consider the process of Project Closing as overburden, a process that has minimal significance and scope and also believes it is only done to satisfy organizational requirements.

But, many practitioners don’t realize that the Project Closing Process is as impactful and significant as the initiation, planning, executing, and monitoring and controlling processes. The process of Project Closing can be extensively crucial to both the project and organization. How? Well, failing to conduct thorough project closeout could lead to the following possibilities;

  1. Put the organization at a considerable amount of risk

  2. Prevent the organization from realizing the anticipated benefits from the deliverables of the project

  3. It will result in significant losses to the organization

  4. It will undermine the project manager and project management team’s credibility


“The processes that are performed to conclude all activities across all project management process groups to formally complete the project, phase, or contractual obligations is called Project Closing Process. Upon completion, this process group verifies that the defined processes are completed within all of the process groups to close the project, as appropriate, and formally establishes that the project or phase is complete”.

Project Closing is the combination of the following aspects when applied to a project;

  1. Assuring that all the work has been completed,

  2. Ensuring that the all agreed project management processes have been executed,

  3. Formally recognizing that the project is completed – upon everyone’s approval.

The features mentioned above are regarded as natural aspects that determine the closing of a project.

Following are situations that demonstrate how the already mentioned features might be overlooked across various projects and also outlines the impacts that result when they are ignored.


If a project is not closed correctly, the project management team along with their efforts, time, and credibility may be negatively perceived for matters that are not their fault or responsibility. Hence, just as Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling processes, Project Closing serves an essential purpose for the organization and helps it avoid unfavorable and adverse scenarios.

Below mentioned are examples of scenarios and the impact that they have on the organization when proper project closing is not executed.


Required Outcomes Examples Scenario-based examples Impact
Assuring that all the work has been completed Scenarios where change requests were approved but not implemented/delayed continuously because of resource constraints The IT team finishes the development of an application, and it is tested and accepted by the business and users. But, the user finds out that, the primary ‘Guidelines’ go missing as they were regarded as a secondary product and having a lesser priority than the application. The users feel dissatisfied with the application and view it as a failure. As a result of incomplete records and information, the users can’t fully utilize the application to achieve their goal. Liability to correct the issue is scattered, and the team is engaged in supporting users and are unable to concentrate on new tasks.
Assuring that the all agreed project management processes have been executed In situations where the project manager has a shortage of time and bandwidth, management processes are intentionally overlooked. At the end of the application development project, the project manager is required to close the contract with the vendor, but fails to do it, considering it as a minor administrative matter and as result of this; the project management team concludes that the project is over. Long after the informal closure of the project, the finance team receives invoices about the project. The finance team can’t compare the invoice as they lack proper records and this leads to disputes with the client. In such cases, the reputation of the company gets hampered and will face serious consequences.
Formally recognizing that the project is completed – upon everyone’s approval The stakeholders fail to notice that the project is over and continue to treat the project as an active one. Stakeholders request for changes, modification, additions which would result in scope creep and tying resources unnecessarily to the project. There is no formal end to the project and hence the developers’ time is still allocated to the application development. This will not allow them to work on new projects or task and ultimately the stakeholders continue to view the application development process as a long-term project. Inevitably, the project manager and his team are constantly engaged in post-project activities. Without formal notifications, the support team is incapable of supporting the issue, and the organization is limited and held back in initiating new projects because of less confidence and resources.

A comprehensive project closing process would typically include all of the following procedures;

  1. Ensuring that the project deliverables are entirely accomplished.

  2. Receiving approvals from the client for the work completed.

  3. Reviewing, assessing all organizational governance and project management processes have been applied and executed.

  4. The official closing of all procurements, reviewing that all work on the contract has been completed and that both the parties have completed their contractual obligations toward each other.

  5. Formally recognizing the completion of a project and its transition to operations.

  6. Validating whether the project has achieved all the benefits identified in the business case.

  7. Capturing of lessons learned: What was done well, and should be documented so it can be repeated in the future? What could have been done better? And if so, how can it have been done better?

  8. Disbanding project resources, freeing them to perform other projects and undertake other tasks as required by the organization.

  9. Transitioning project deliverables to the customer organization in a manner that warrants seamless operations and support.

The important steps involved in closing a project are:


  1. Project Charter:

    Project Charter refers to a statement of objectives in a project. This statement also sets out detailed project goals, roles, and responsibilities identify the primary stakeholders, and the level of authority of a project manager.

  2. Project Management Plan:

    The Project Management Plan documents the project lifecycle and inculcates information on how to close out a project. Remember, every stage has particular deliverables/outcomes which need to be complete and accepted before it can be considered closed. Sometimes, additional criteria’s also need to be met before adjudging a phase closed.

  3. Project Document Updates:

    If the project has an iterative lifecycle, the project manager can collect information for the next iteration during the closure of the Project. The Project Manager can also go through the assumption and risk logs and close out any out-of-date items, and update the remaining details. On the other hand, some project managers collect new requirements, changes, assumptions, and risks when they formally initiate the new phase.

    1. Assumption log – The assumption log records all the expectations and hindrances that guide the technical specifications, estimates, schedule, risks, etc.

    2. The basis of estimates – The process basis of estimates is used to evaluate how the estimation concerned with the projects duration, cost, resources, and cost control is compared to the actual results.

    3. Changelog – The changelog contains the details and status of all the change requests carried out throughout the project or phase.

    4. Issue log – The issue log is used to check whether there exist any current issues related to the project or the previous problems are taken care of completely.

    5. Lessons learned register – All and whatsoever lessons learned during the project lifecycle will be finalized before being entered into the lessons learned register.

    6. Milestone list – The milestone list encompasses the final dates on which the project milestones have been accomplished or completed.

    7. Project communications – Project communications include any communications that have been carried out throughout the project lifecycle between the project manager, his/her teams, and the stakeholders.

    8. Quality control measurements – The quality control measurements process documents the results of Control Quality activities and establish compliance with the quality requirements necessary for the project.

    9. Quality reports – The details presented in the quality report may consist of all quality assurance issues managed or escalated by the project team, recommendations for improvement of the project, and the summary of findings from the Control Quality process.

    10. Requirements documentation – The process of requirements documentation is used to demonstrate compliance with the project scope.

    11. Risk register – The risk register provides information on the risks that have occurred throughout the project’s lifecycle.

    12. Risk report – The risk report is a process that provides information on the current risk status and is used to check that there are no clear risks at the time of completion of the project.

  4. Accepted Deliverables:

    At the end of the project, the project manager should have all accepted deliverables, the approvals for each deliverable, and the final approval and acceptance for the final product to consider the closure of a project.

  5. Business Documents:

    Business documents include but are not limited to:

    1. Business case – The business case documents/ records the business need/requirements and the cost-benefit analysis that justify/comply with the project. The business case is used to determine if the expected outcomes from the economic feasibility study used to justify the project occurred.

    2. Benefits management plan – The benefits management plan outlines the target benefits of the project. The benefits management plan is used to measure whether the interests of the project were achieved as planned.

  6. Procurement Documents:

    To close the contract or project, all procurement documentation are collected, indexed, and filed. Information on the project schedule, scope, quality, and cost performance along with all contract change documentation, payment records, and inspection results are registered. Previous plans, documents, manuals, troubleshooting, and other technical documentation should also be considered as part of the procurement documents when closing a project. The information gathered through the procurement documents can be used for lessons learned process and as a basis for evaluating contractors for future contracts.

  7. Organizational Process Assets:

    1. Performance reviews: A discussion that involves the project management team and the project sponsor to evaluate the performance metrics of each phase and in total the overall project. They also look at the risks that occurred during the project phase, and the status of the issues along with the performance of the corrective actions that were taken.

    2. Project management plan updates: At the end of a particular phase, the project manager has to make sure that all the elements of the project management plan are accurate and updated. Latest versions of the project management plan can be updated as and when available.

    3. Project document updates: If the project has an iterative lifecycle, the project manager can collect information for the next iteration during the closure of the Project. The Project Manager can also go through the assumption and risk logs and close out any out-of-date items, and update the remaining items. On the other hand, some project managers collect new requirements, changes, assumptions, and risks when they formally initiate the new phase.

    4. Lessons learned: It’s a good practice on the part of the project manager to collect information from the lessons learned as they go through the lifecycle of the project. To ensure that the mistakes are not repetitive in the projects undertaken in future, the project manager, at the end of each phase has to formalize and integrate all the information from the lessons learned.

Tools and Techniques

  1. Expert Judgment:

    Expert judgment is necessary and applied whenever the project manager is performing administrative closure activities. The expert judgment will ensure that the project or phase closure is implemented to meet the appropriate standards.

  2. Data Analysis:

    The techniques that can be used in project closeout include:

    1. Regression analysis: The method which is used to find out the overall performance of the project at the end of the project closure process

    2. Trend analysis: Maintaining a record of all the latest trends that took place during the project execution and their impact on the project. This will help analyze the upcoming trends that are to be implemented in the future projects.

    3. Document analysis – The process will help in assessing the available documents to identify the lessons learned and share valuable knowledge for the development of future projects and organizational assets improvement.

    4. Variance analysis – The process of variance analysis can be used to improve the metrics of the organization by comparing what was initially planned and the project’s final output.

  3. Meetings:

    Meetings that take place during the closeout phase will include discussions among stakeholders and other individuals who are associated with the project about the performance and the deliverables that were achieved during the lifecycle of the project.


  1. Project Document Updates:

    As the project approaches the completion stage, all project documents will be updated and marked as final versions. The lessons learned register is the most important aspect which is finalized to include final details of project closure. The lesson learned register contains information about benefits management, the accuracy of the business case, project and development lifecycle, issue and risk management, stakeholder engagement, and other project management processes.

  2. Final Product, Service, or Result Transition:

    This output refers to the transition of the final product, service, or result that the project was authorized to produce according to the project management plan.

  3. Final Report:

    The final report provides a detailed version of the project performance. It can include information such as:

    1. Summary level description of the project.

    2. Scope objectives, the benchmark used to evaluate the scope, and evidence that the completion criteria were accomplished.

    3. Quality objectives, the tool used to evaluate the project and product quality, the verification and actual milestone delivery dates, and reasons for variances.

    4. Cost objectives, including the acceptable cost range, actual costs, and reasons for any variances.

    5. Summary of the validation information for the final product, service, or result.

    6. Schedule objectives include and concentrate whether as to the project objectives were achieved or not, and if any case the targets were not met, the project manager has to mention the degree to which the project goals are achieved and give an estimate as to how they are planning on accomplishing them in the future.

    7. The business needs of the project must at all costs meet the objectives mentioned in the business plan in the form of final product, services, or results achieved. If situations arise where the business needs are not met at the completion of the project, the project manager has to provide an estimate as to when and how the business needs will be accomplished in the future.

    8. The final report should also indicate and provide a detailed summary of any risks or issues encountered on the project and how they were addressed by the project manager and his/her team.

  4. Organizational Process Assets Updates:

    The Organizational Process Assets process during the closure stage will allow the project manager to keep all the project files related to the undertaken project updated. The process also allows, collecting historical information for future reference. The project manager is also required to formally check the project closure documents closely and end the project on an official note. Organizational process assets that are updated include Project documents, Operational and support documents, Project or phase closure documents, and Lessons learned repository.

The last process group in the Project Management is Closing process Group. Regardless of the project achieving the mentioned deliverables or not, a proper closing is necessary. When an appropriate closing is carried out, it will help in completing the formal procedures and enable a smooth transition into the next project or task.

How do you Develop a Project Charter?

Before even thinking on how to create a Project Charter, one should always start preparing a Project Statement of Work (A written description of the project’s product, service, or result) and a business Case (Reason for undertaking the project, Solutions to resolve problems, and analysis of the benefit cost. These factors will work as a baseline for the Project Manager to draft the Project Charter.

A legal authorization document that states the beginning of a project, while describing the purpose and scope of a project is called a Project Charter. As formal documentation, any given project nowadays requires a signed project charter before initiating a new project. For example, if stakeholder needs to know what he is investing into, the project charter will provide him/her precise details as to what the project is about and the resources required for the successful completion of the project.

The project charter is an essential part of the project management due to its importance as a legally binding document. It provides clarifications on the general specification, the purpose of the project, the key stakeholders, and the possible outcomes. The critical thing to be noted is that, upon completing the project charter, there is no room (in rare cases) for any further changes.

Expert Opinions

“Do not underestimate the value of the project charter. It is such an important document that a project should not be started without one. If the project charter serves as a definition of how success will be measured, then without a project charter, the project and project manager cannot be successful”. – Rita Mulcahy

“Take great pride and care in your project charter because this is where you sow the good seeds. It will eventually take care of you.” – Randy Tangco – PMP Expert

Is creating a Project Charter that important?

As discussed earlier, the primary purpose of a project charter is to authorize the project manager to start the approved project and allow him to use organizational resources to accomplish the objectives of the project. A perfect project charter will help executives see the business value of the project and also provide them with information on how well the project is aligned with the organizational strategies.

Josh Nankivel, PMP®, a trainer, and principal of PMStudent, quoted saying that “A project charter should also serve as an executive overview of your project, one that any new executive can reference to evaluate it. A good project charter can help save you from unnecessary scrutiny or having your project shut down because some executive didn’t see the business value in it from their perspective”.

Cornelius Fichtner, PMP® trainer and host of the PM Podcast, views on whether should a Project Manager be involved in creating a Project Charter – “The PM is a subject matter expert when it comes to initiating and starting a project. Hence the PM is more qualified to create the project charter. He or she has more experience in doing this and knows what kind of details to add to the project charter”.

Formal Components of a Project Charter

Formal Components of a Project Charter

The procedure to develop a project charter involves the following components:

The procedure to develop a project charter involves the following components:

  1. Inputs

    1. Business Documents:

      The sources that depict the information about the project’s objectives and their business goals are the business case and the benefits management plan. Even though the business documents area developed before the project initiation, they are reviewed periodically.

    2. Agreements:

      Agreements are those documents that are used to define the underlying intentions of a project. Agreements can take various forms of contracts, service level agreements (SLA), memorandums of understanding (MOUs), letters of intent and agreement, emails, verbal agreements, or other written agreements. In simple terms, it’s a contract that is used when a project is being performed for an external customer or client.

    3. Enterprise Environmental Factors:

      Understanding all policies, practices, procedures, and legislation that prevail both on the inside and outside of the company that will impact the way a project is managed.

      Internal Factors External Factors
      Organizational Structure Government Regulations
      Organization’s Culture Market Conditions
      Working Style Political Situations
      Organization Policies Weather Conditions
      Reviews and training records Infrastructure
    4. Organizational Process Assets:

      The plans, processes, policies, procedures, and knowledge bases specific to and used by the performing organization.

      Knowledge Base Procedures / Processes / Policies
      Lessons Learned Project lifestyle
      Project Files Organization Process Documents
      Financial Database Communication Management
      Project Management Database Guidelines
      Previous Projects Database Policies
  2. Tools & Techniques

    1. Expert Judgment:

      A crucial step in executing the project by taking opinions from subject matter experts, garnering valuable inputs and understanding the business case complexity related to the project. The subject matter experts as mentioned above should have the desired skills and specialized knowledge on the following topics –

      • Organizational strategy

      • Benefits management

      • Technical knowledge of the industry

      • Focus area of the project

      • Duration and budget estimation, and

      • Risk identification

    2. Data Gathering

      Listed below are some of the techniques that can be used for gathering data –

      1. Brainstorming – This is a method that is used to collect vast and unique data in a short period. The project team members discuss and generate new ideas that can contribute to the project’s success. Brainstorming technique helps in two ways, namely – Generating Ideas and Analyzing Ideas. Ideas or solutions can be gathered from the project stakeholders, subject matter experts, or from the project manager during the development of the project charter.

      2. Focus Groups – This is a technique that is used to bring together stakeholders and subject matter experts to learn about the recognized project risk, success criteria, and other topics in a more conversational way than a one-on-one interview.

      3. Interviews – As the role of the stakeholders is considered crucial in determining the success of the project, talking to them throughout the project’s lifecycle is essential. This technique will provide the project manager with information on high-level requirements, constraints or assumptions, project approvals, and many other things.

    3. Interpersonal and Team Skills

      The crucial techniques involved in this process are as follows

      1. Conflict management – The project’s success depends on the approval of the stakeholders. They are the ones who determine the project’s objectives, requirements, the project’s description, milestones, and all other essential elements of the project charter. Hence it is best advised that the stakeholders are appropriately aligned with the project, and conflict management technique is what best suits a project manager.

      2. Facilitation – it’s a technique that can efficiently drive a team to form a successful decision or solution. It ensures that there is active participation, mutual understanding, and contributions, from every individual. The important thing is that everyone should be given an equal opportunity in expressing themselves and their ideas or suggestions are not to be left unattended too.

      3. Meeting Management – Meeting management is a technique which includes preparing the meeting agenda, inviting key stakeholders representatives, discussing the project outcomes and most importantly preparing and sending out minutes of meeting data.

    4. Meetings

      This process comprises of meetings which are held with key stakeholders to identify the project objectives, success criteria, key deliverables, high-level requirements, summary milestones, and other summary information.

  3. Outputs

    1. Project Charter

      The final output of all the features mentioned above will result in creating an entirely accessible project charter. This final project charter will act as an essence that can be used during the project. The project charter documents the high-level information on the project and on the product, service, or result the project is intended to meet, like:

      • Project purpose

      • High-level requirements

      • Overall project risk

      • Preapproved financial resources

      • Summary milestone schedule

      • Measurable project objectives

      • Key stakeholder list

      • Assigned project manager

      • Project Manager’s responsibility and authority level.

    2. Assumption Log

      The business case will identify the high-level strategic and operational assumptions even before the project is initiated and will be added to the project charter. Task assumptions such as defining technical specifications, schedules, estimates, and risks, etc. are generated at the lower-level of the project. Basically, the assumption log will record all the expectations and project pressures throughout the project’s lifecycle.

A project charter is not merely a document that states facts and information concerning a project. It serves as the groundwork for efficiently communicating with stakeholders and for efficiently routing work between various individuals that take part in the project. Do note that having a good and complete Project Charter is the very first step in managing a project.

Developing Project Management Plan – Explained

Without a proper PMP (Project Management Plan) in place, the clients will be exposed to chaotic management, facing unclear objectives, lacking proper resources and depending on unrealistic planning which involves high risks that yields in poor quality deliverables that are derived from high expenditures.


The Project Management Plan is a document formally approved and which is used to manage project execution. The Project Management Plan documents the actions required to define, prepare, integrate and coordinate the various planning activities. The PMP clearly defines how the project is executed, monitored and controlled, and closed.

The main criteria of such a document are to provide a comprehensive framework of what has to be achieved through the execution of the project, procedures to solve it, steps to measure and report the project and also as to how the information will be communicated and importantly who will be involved in it. The PMP should be used as a reference for any decision that is made on the project and for clarification of unclear areas.

The steps to develop a full-fledged project management plan are as follows.

Stepst to develop a project management plan

  1. Inputs

    1. Project Charter

      It’s the process of setting out detailed project goals, roles, and responsibilities, identifying the primary stakeholders, and the level of authority of a project manager.

    2. Outputs from other planning processes

      Other planning processes include outputs from all subsidiary plans that encompass the details of various factors involved in the formal management plan. (Eg. Scope Management, Cost Management, HR Management, Quality Management)

    3. Enterprise Environmental Factors

      Internal and external factors will be a familiar aspect while developing a Project Charter and in the case of producing a Project Management Plan.

      Internal Factors External Factors
      Organizational Structure Government Regulations
      Organization’s Culture Market Conditions
      Working Style Political Situations
      Organization Policies Weather Conditions
      Reviews and training records Infrastructure
    4. Organization Process Assets

      As mentioned earlier in the Project Charter section, OPA will look into policies, procedures, financial database, project management database, previous project databases, etc.

      Knowledge Base Procedures / Processes / Policies
      Lessons Learned Project lifestyle
      Project Files Organization Process Documents
      Financial Database Communication Management
      Project Management Database Guidelines
      Previous Projects Database Policies
  2. Tools & Techniques

    1. Expert Judgment:

      To bring out a precise and tailored process that meets the project’s needs, the project manager will analyze technical and management information to implement them into the plan.

    2. Data gathering

      1. Brainstorming – The Brainstorming technique is used for developing the project management plan to gather ideas and solutions as to how the project is to be approached. Participants include the project team members, subject matter experts (SMEs), and stakeholders.

      2. Checklists – Most of the organizations have standard checklists readily available based on their experience or use checklists from the existing industry. A checklist will help the project manager to develop a plan and also to verify whether all the required information is included in the project management plan.

      3. Focus groups – The Focus group technique brings together the project stakeholders to discuss the project management approach and the integration of the different components of the project management plan.

      4. Interviews – The Interview technique is used to obtain relevant information from stakeholders to develop the project management or component plan or the project document.

    3. Interpersonal and team skills

      1. Conflict management – The main benefit of Conflict management technique is that it’s used to bring diverse stakeholders into a collective agreement or decision based on all the aspects of the project management plan.

      2. Facilitation – Effective participation is the key to the success of a project, and this facilitation technique will enable and ensure that all the individuals associated with the project are on the same page. The project manager, the team members, and the stakeholders should have a mutual understanding and contribute equally towards the success of the project.

      3. Meeting management – This meeting management technique is necessary to ensure that the project is progressing according to the project management plan and the concerned reports are submitted and verified by the stakeholders and other higher authorities associated with the project.

    4. Meetings

      Meetings are mostly used to discuss the project approach, determine how the project work will be carried out to accomplish the project objectives and establish a way to monitor and control the project. Usually, project managers conduct a project kick-off meeting at the end of the project planning and before the start of project execution. Its meeting will communicate the project objectives, the team commitments, explains the roles and responsibility of the stakeholders.

  3. Output

      1. Project Management Plan:

        Eventually, Project Management Plan is the final output that will be derived from the developed project management process. The plan will also teach all subsidiary plans of the project.

        To further extend some insights on the outputs of the Project Management Plan, below mentioned outcomes are to be noted.

    Project Management Plan

      1. Scope Baseline: It is a baseline that judges the performance of the Project Manager and the rest of the team during a project. It includes aspects of project scope statement, the Work breakdown structure (WBS) and WBS dictionary.

      2. Schedule Baseline: Schedule baseline is the approved version of a schedule model that can be altered only through formal change control procedures, and the schedule baseline is used as a basis for comparison to actual results.

      3. Cost Baseline: It’s the authorized time-phased expenditure plan for the project on which the project cost performance is to be measured against.

      4. Scope Management Plan: It refers to the set of processes that ensure a project’s scope is accurately defined and mapped. The techniques will enable the project managers and supervisors to allocate the right amount of work primarily controlling what part of the project has an essential scope.

      5. Requirements Management Plan: The method used in documenting the necessary information required to efficiently manage project requirements from the definition, through traceability, to delivery.

      6. Cost Management Plan: It’s considered as one of the primary functions of the Project manager. It functions as a significant component of the entire lifecycle of a project, as it defines the success and progress of any project.

      7. Quality Management Plan: A feature that explains the approval level of quality, which is primarily defined by the customer, and showcases how the project will ensure this level of quality in its deliverables and work processes.

      8. HR Management Plan: Human Resource management is a tool that will assist in the monitoring of a project’s human resource activities throughout the project until closure. It also decides the roles and responsibilities of team members throughout the project.

      9. Communication Management Plan: This method plays a crucial role as it acts as a mode of communication across all the levels of a project and also addresses all stakeholders involved with the project.

      10. Stakeholder Management Plan: The process of developing precise management strategies to effectively engage stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of the project, based on the analysis of their needs, interests and potential impact on project success.

      11. Risk Management Plan: It is a document that a project manager prepares to foresee risks, estimate impacts, and define responses to issues.

      12. Procurement Management Plan: The process of documenting project procurement decisions, specifying the approach, and identifying potential sellers. This process determines whether to acquire support externally, and if so, what is to be obtained, how is it to be received, how much of it is needed, and when is to be gained.

      13. Process Improvement Plan: This tool is a subsidiary plan of the project management plan. This process instead of only concentrating on single issues will encourage the team to examine how different circumstances are affecting the current conditions in a project.

The project management plan is considered as a meta-plan of the project plan. It is the actual plan which is followed by the project management team at all levels to accomplish the given project. The PMP is also regarded as crucial as it precisely describes every possible detail in a boarder manner. The sole agenda of a project management plan is to execute and achieve the vision of the undertaken project

Importance of Project Management Information System

Right from the initiation stage to the closing stage, there’s a lot of data being collected, analyzed and transformed. With the implementation of various processes in the project life cycle, this unique data is collected and shared with other team members. The amount of data collected is analyzed and later converted into project information through various processes. The acquired information is communicated verbally to the team members or stored and distributed in multiple formats as reports.

The project management process information plays a crucial role, and it is divided into three methods, and they are:

  1. Work performance data

    This method is with regards to the observations and measurements made towards all the work carried out by the project manager and his/her team. The work performance data includes information about the project activities like defining the percentage of work completed physically, technical and quality performance measurement of the project, and providing updates on the scheduled work/activities (start and finish date). It also includes the total number of change requests that have occurred during the execution of the project, and the number of defects detected in the project. The work performance data also includes information about the actual cost of the project, the exact time taken to complete a scheduled task so on and so forth. All the details mentioned above are usually recorded in a ‘Project Management Information System’ – (PMIS) and project documents.

  2. Work performance information

    Project Management plan should include a routine collection of work performance information. The gathered information is essential and serves as a guidance tool for conducting quality control measures and programs. Work performance information helps in measuring the project deliverables status, ensuring that the required corrective actions are carried out, and assists in creating performance reports. Analyzing the work performance information is crucial for the project management plan, and it should be considered as a priority at all times. This method contributes to the efficient use of allocated resources, helps in identifying potential risks, and acts as a useful project management tool.

  3. Work performance reports

    Work performance reports are the result of Monitor and Control project work process, and acts as an input to various managing and controlling processes. As the name itself suggests, performance reports include different information and data about the project’s parameters and updates on the progress of the project. The work performance report organizes and summarizes the information gathered through the work performance data and work performance information methods and presents it to the project’s stakeholders in a way that they can understand the direction or progress of the project. These reports show the stakeholders the current status of the project and its performance against the planned baseline. In certain circumstances where the stakeholders notice that the project is not progressing according to the plan, they will take corrective measures to ensure that the project is completed within the prescribed budget and time.

The Project Information processes help in generalizing the methods used to collect relevant and accurate data that is further used to determine the scope and the progress of the project. All the necessary steps and practices are carried out using this crucial information. Its the project manager ’s decision to make as to which inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs are to be used to ensure the project completion. It’s not mandatory to use all the processes as they are not the same for every project. These inputs, tools and techniques and outputs are considered to be more of an aspiration to the project managers, and one should try and follow them as and when possible within the project’s constraints, environment and industry.

How project information plays a key role in project success

Project Management Process Groups – Explained!

Project Management 5 Basic Process Groups

There are two main categories in the realm of project management, which are to be skillfully mastered to succeed: Knowledge Areas and Process Groups. These two categories are considered as the backbone of the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge). For one to successfully develop into a Project Management Professional, he or she must become proficient in both Knowledge area and process groups. The Process Groups are the methods through which one executes the processes required to do the project management. Learning and implementing process groups are two different things because every project is unique in its own way, and the process groups are shaped and molded accordingly to fit the project.

Why Process Groups?

Even before we get into the discussion of knowing why these five process groups are essential for project managers, let’s see as to how these groups came about. Project Management International has spent numerous hours and resources conducting researches to know what contributed towards effective project management. Upon completing the examination, PMI has organized the best practices with proper evidence from experts across the globe. One has to be accustomed to the process groups of Project Management Processes so as to that their skills are aligned with the already existing proven tactics. Once the individuals have understood the process groups, they can lead projects most efficiently and successfully possible.

  1. Initiating Process Group

    The crucial step involved in project management is casting a vision for what is to be accomplished in the duration of the project and when that is to be achieved. Without proper planning being laid, and without a foundation being set, constructing anything is close to impossible. The initiation process creates a firm foundation on which the other four Process Groups are built. The initiation group includes all the processes that are used to initiate a project.

    Initiation is a process that sets the direction of the project. Hence, skipping or avoiding this particular stage could be fatal. The minute details are to be looked into carefully, and the slightest of deviations can result in the complete failure of the project and its objectives. Until and unless one has a clear view of what the objectives of the project are and what approaches are to be taken, the professional should not get into the second phase – Planning!

    The initiation stage includes procedures like organizing teams, acquiring approvals, and laying down the initial work orders in place. It is the project manager’s responsibility at this stage to identify risks, keep track of the resources needed, dependencies required, and project objectives, timelines, scope and deliverables of the undertaken project.

  2. Planning Process Group

    The second phase of the Process Groups is planning. Some project managers are of the opinion that the scope is accomplished to its fullest in the initiation stage, but on the contrary, in the planning stage, the scope is further elaborated and developed at a much more detailed level through a process called as progressive elaboration.

    It’s a common fact that failing to plan is planning to fail. Usually, organizations commence a project with only minimal planning assuming that everything will gradually fall into place as the project progresses. But later do they realize that, without any real or sufficient planning, disaster strikes in the project.

    A project manager has to spend some quality time in mapping out all the details of the project, and these details are later on merged into a master document or project management plan. This project management plan helps all the team members, stakeholders, and leaders to refer the document throughout the project and can be submitted for final authorization and approval before officially beginning work on the project.

    • Defining and detailing the project scope

    • Selecting project teams and leaders

    • Setting proper plans for maximum productivity

    • Developing project schedule

    • Providing infrastructure to achieve objectives

    • Establishing effective communication among project team and stakeholders

    • Focusing on project timeline and budget allocation

  3. Executing Process Group

    The immediate step after the planning phase is the phase of execution. Execution is the phase where the project teams carry out their respective individual tasks which were assigned to them during the planning stage. Every team member works in tandem to achieve the set deliverables, and the project manager keeps track of the resources and budgets restraints. As the execution phase is the place where most of the budget is spent, stakeholders of the project get involved during this stage to make desired changes or requests.

    The project manager during the executive process group manages teams effectively while orchestrating timeline expectations and reaching benchmark goals. The project manager has to establish proper communication with his team at all levels so as to that; he can address the team concerns or other complex situations related to getting the project completed with the fixed time frame and budget.

    The project execution phase has no time limit; it depends on the project. It could take days, months, or years for the completion of a project. But just the execution phase is not enough to ensure that the project is on track and gets completed, rather it also requires further detailed attention. By detailed attention we mean, Monitoring and Controlling Process which we are going to discuss in the further topics.

  4. Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

    The fourth in the list of project management process groups is ‘Monitoring and controlling.’ This particular stage inspects all the tasks and their performance to ensure that the approved and authorized project is within the scope of the project management plan. The project at all times must be within the allocated budget limit and must be completed within the fixed time frame. Monitoring and Controlling is the stage where the project’s actual performance is compared with the planned performance so that effective measures can be taken to alter any significant differences.

    Monitoring and the Controlling process are continuously performed throughout the project life-cycle. The core skills and competencies involved in this process are addressing the on-going budget considerations and reducing unforeseen situations which could hamper the team’s ability to meet with the project deliverables that are set within the project management plan. Project managers keep the momentum going forward and protect the project from being interrupted by actively monitoring progress and using foresight and quick response to address project challenges.

  5. Closing Process Group

    As every other project management process group has its objective, even the closing phase has its particular objectives. The Closing Process Group consists of processes performed to conclude all the activities related to the entire project to ensure that the project is formally are completed. During the project’s last phase, i.e., project closure, everything should be detailed in order to measure to see if the project was executed as planned and if the outcome is in align with the customer needs.

    At last, the project manager should properly close the project by archiving records, conducting a lessons learned session, finalizing payments, completing contract closure procedures, releasing the existing resources, and handing off the completed product. The project manager has to ensure that lesson learned mainly, and the historical information about the project are centrally archived and stored, so that they can be used as inputs for future projects, instead of going through the entire processes again.

It’s vital that professional project managers are familiar with the practice and execution of those mentioned above five main process groups. The only way to make oneself most worthy or valuable to a company is to know who one can effectively initiate, plan, execute, monitor, and close a project. As the project manager undertakes and leads more projects, he/she gains enough experience which is necessary to understand as to what works best for the progress and growth of the company. Every project manager is committed to upholding their standards, and the best way to do that is to follow the protocol contained within the PMBOK Guide which leads vital information for driving effective projects in any industry. Project Managers should develop advanced project management skills through the expertise of PMBOK process groups which will help them leverage their competitive edge.

What is Project Integration Management?

Currently, every organization is implementing the latest and effective project management methodologies to ensure that their projects and processes are managed consistently across the entire company. Speaking of consistency, the emergence of organizational business needs, individual preferences, and team differences will result in making decisions that aren’t beneficial to the company’s long-term goals. In case such issues arise, the organization has to ensure that a high level of integration is implemented in the project management practices to achieve their long-term strategic goals.

Integration Management

Integration Management is the process, where the Project Manager, is handed the authority to monitor and coordinate the functions and activities taking place at various levels of the organization. The integration is to ensure that the team works towards completing the given project by making sure that it meets the scope, budget and time. Effective execution of integration management is regarded to be a critical success factor for the Project Manager.

What is Project Integration Management?

Project Integration Management is all about sustaining stability in all areas of a project like; time, scope, cost, quality, human resource, communication, risk, procurement, stakeholder, among others. These are interconnected processes and cannot be carried out by a single team. It’s a vital knowledge area and highly valued aspect in the PMI. It’s a process that involves constant monitoring of the procedures undertaken during the life cycle of the project. One crucial feature of project integration management is that it entirely focuses on a given project keeping a watchful eye right from initiation until the completion of the project.

The project integration management has a set of control access points that are undertaken by the Project Manager and are as follows:-

What is Project Integration Management?

Initiation Process Group

Initiating: The official authorization of the project is handed over during the initiating process group stage. It’s a process where the Project Manager receives the necessary information on how to begin the project. The outputs of the initiation process group include creating a project charter, identifying stakeholders and their high-level needs as well as gaining knowledge of the approaches that are necessary for managing those acquired stakeholders.

Initiation Process Group

Inputs to initiating a Process Group

  • Business need

  • Objectives of the project

  • Product Scope and Project Scope

  • Budget information

  • Schedule information

  • Information on the completion of the project

  • Associated risk information

  • Project acceptance criteria

  • Name of the Signatory authority & Project Manager

  • Authoritative power of the project manager

  • Pre-assigned team members

Planning Process Group

Second on the list is the Planning Process Group. Planning is a stage where the Project Manager creates a blueprint for the project which defines the project objectives, milestones, schedules and initial budget required for the project. It’s considered to be a highly recommended process, as it measures all the knowledge areas of the project and helps in creating a roadmap that in turn will assist in completing the project successfully. All these processes are to be activated into a cohesive whole to prepare a final project management plan.

The planning process group has a list of processes listed under it, and they are as follows:-

Develop Project Management Plan Determine Budget
Plan Scope Management Plan Quality Management
Collect Requirements Plan Resource Management
Define Scope Estimate Activity Resources
Create WBS Plan Communications Management
Plan Schedule Management Plan Risk Management
Define Activities Identify Risks
Sequence Activities Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
Estimate Activity Durations Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
Develop Schedule Plan Risk Responses
Plan Cost Management Plan Procurement Management
Estimate Costs Plan Stakeholder Engagement

Execution Process Group

The process of initiating and planning are proven worthy only with proper execution. Execution is a stage where the Project Manager needs to assure that the project deliverables and objectives meet the stakeholders’ expectations.

Here’s a list of some other processes to follow during the Executing Process stage. These processes belong to several knowledge areas ranging from Project Integration Management to Project Human Resource Management to Project Stakeholder Management.

Execution Process Group

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

This process addresses the skills needed to review progress and document benchmarks in the project. After successful implementation of the first three stages, the project is officially underway. Maintaining a bird’s eye view of the project performance is vital to preserving positive forward momentum.

The tasks to be covered at this stage are:

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

This process is mainly known for presents a detailed set of skills and knowledge directly applicable toward implementing the decisions needed to sustain the most active part of the project.

Closing Process Group

Closing Process Group is the last stage in the process of project management plan. It has equal importance as all the other processes mentioned above. The closing process group includes all the final processes required to complete a project and deliver final products and reports to the stakeholders. The critical feature of this stage is to make sure that all contractual obligations have been completely taken care from the Project Manager’s point of view.

Below is the diagram depicting the project closing process group

project closing process group

  • Close Project or Close Phase

    This the phase where the project manager looks back and carefully observes the undertakings of the project from the beginning to the end. He/she has to make sure that nothing is left unturned and most importantly everything relating to the project right from small adjustments to more significant changes must be documented and accounted for to leave a lasting and positive impression.

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