Organizations are seeing true payoff from investing resources, time and money into their organization’s project management expertise: lower costs, greater efficiencies, improved stakeholder and customer satisfactions, and greater competitive advantages. 80% of global executives believe having project management as a core competency helps them remain competitive, per an Economist Intelligence report.
I began studying for the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification exam a few months ago and a whole new world with countless amounts of acronyms, formulas, diagrams, and PM definitions has greeted me. There are 47 PM processes scattered throughout five process groups and ten knowledge areas and each of the 47 PM processes has various inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. It may seem a bit overwhelming but understanding effective project management techniques allow organizations to control spending and improve project results.
The five process groups are like the beams that hold the house up. These are Initiate, Plan, Execute, Monitor & Control and Close. The ten knowledge areas of project management are the rooms within the house: Integration, Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Communications, Procurement, and Stakeholder and each of the rooms has a number of different PM processes within them (the 47 PM processes).
Each project that’s worked on at your organization starts with Initiation and ends with Closing of the project or phase. These two attributes to project management will never change but the way the remaining processes are organized solely depends on what will work best for your organization to ensure the project runs efficiently, on-time, and within budget to meet strategic goals.
The five process groups give a help to give a high-level understanding of the overall process:
Here we’re aligning the project to our organization’s strategic objectives and authorizing the project to commence. We’re setting a vision for what is to be accomplished. Stakeholders on the project play a key role and need to be identified and aligned with their level of authorization before any planning can begin.
The concept is to get the project team to think about the whole project in advance. During this process, we need to establish the scope in its entirety, collect requirements, define and sequence the activities that make up the scope, develop a schedule, and plan for costs, quality, human resources, communications, risks, procurements and manage our stakeholder’s engagement throughout the life of the project or phase. Each of these processes will happen repeatedly as changes to the project are progressively elaborated. Fail to plan, plan to fail.
Okay, now it’s time to get your hands dirty and do the work. You’re not only responsible for executing the deliverables, but managing your team, stakeholder expectations, resources and ensuring the quality of your product or result. Most the budget is spent during this time and this is typically when change requests will occur that’s why the next process here is sort of an umbrella to execution.
4. Monitor & Control
Monitoring and controlling is truly the umbrella for your project: it tracks, reviews, and regulates the progress and performance. It also ensures that approved changes are properly managed and executed. It’s very easy for things to slip off track. Only constant vigilance, tracking, and reporting against the scope will allow the project to meet its objectives.
This is very straightforward; the goal of the closing of the project or phase is to formally close and get sign-off from the customer/sponsor. Without this process, some projects may just fizzle out. In order to properly close a project or phase, you need to discuss lessons learned, archive any documents, make those final payments, close any contracts and then celebrate!
How are your projects managed? Are you familiar with the Project Management Institute’s matrix for successfully managing projects? If your project management could use a boost, check out my blog post, “Improve Your Collaboration with a Project Management Tool”.
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Topics: project management