Meeting project management objectives—completing the project on time, within budget, to the established scope, and with the defined level of quality—requires a comprehensive process, or set of activities. Methodology is another term that may be used interchangeably with the word “process”. A good process is one that defines the activities to be completed, the decisions to be made, and the information to be gathered. A process may or may not be accompanied by clearly defined documents that summarize the information and decisions.
Project management objectives are met by following a comprehensive process. The Project Management Institute (PMI®) provides a framework that is applicable to many types of projects, and this framework is documented in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®). The framework is divided into five Project Management Process Groups, which include the following (PMI, 2013).
- Initiating: A project that has been selected by an organization is initiated by preparing a project charter to gain authorization. Official sign-off on the project charter allows the project manager and project team to start the project.
- Planning: The planning phase includes defining the scope of the project and preparing for the project to begin. Much of the work in the planning phase is done by the project manager with input from the project sponsor.
- Executing: During the execution phase, the project manager will coordinate people and resources to carry out the plan. This is the process group in which the work of the project is done or implemented.
- Monitoring and Controlling: In the monitoring and control phase, the project manager ensures that the project objectives are met. An important role for the project manager during this process group is to manage project changes effectively.
- Closing: Within the closing phase, the project manager verifies that the expected product, service, or result has been delivered, and closes the details of the project. Clients or customers provide formal approval and acceptance of the project deliverables. Moreover, a lessons-learned review is conducted so that future projects can employ best practices of past projects.