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Understanding the Five Main Project Management Process Groups

When preparing to work on a project, it is important for the project manager to understand how to properly structure the project so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. While there is no way to completely prevent all small problems (and sometimes large problems) having a clear understanding of the necessary processes can help you more effectively manage your project. By putting these processes in groups, each with a specific group of necessary tasks and objectives, it is possible to break down a seemingly huge project into digestible chunks. The five main project management process groups are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

Initiating. Every project manager needs to get started. In the initial phase of project management, obtaining the necessary permissions and approvals to begin is the main goal. Often, a document stating the need for the project is created in order to explain to the sponsor how the needs will be met, and approximately how much it will cost. Everything at the initiating stage should be stated in broad terms.

Planning. Developing objects and defining goals mark this phase of the project. Portions of the project should be broken down and deadlines scheduled. Additionally, this is the phase in which the project manager puts together a staff and begins to assign tasks and roles. Estimated costs provide the foundation for a project budget. Project management software is available to help with this phase, allowing project managers to more easily break down budgets and plan schedules.

Executing. With everything in place and goals clearly defined and being worked on by members of the project team, it is time to begin creating the end product of the work. Contracts are administered as needed, and team members should make periodic reports on their status. Everything that goes into making the plan a reality takes place during execution.

Monitoring and controlling. When the execution stage is well under way the project manager should begin making sure everything is going according to plan. As products and stages of the executed planning are completed, they are submitted to the sponsor for approval. If adjustments need to be made, they are handled during this stage. An ongoing list of valuable lessons learned from the project should be kept to help in evaluating performance later.

Closing. This project management group marks the end of the project. The project manager arranges for final delivery of the product, and the sponsor accepts. Everything should be carefully documented in writing, and records of contracts, transactions, and other agreements should be updated. Debriefing on the project, as well as plans for any necessary follow up, should be made at this time.

The project manager needs to be organized with a clear understanding of what should be accomplished at various points along the way. By placing tasks into process groups, the manager makes it easier to break the work down into stages or phases. It also provides a sense of accomplishment as reachable goals are met throughout the project.

Article by Remedysoft, Inc.

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Laguna Hills, CA

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