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What are the project management process groups?

Process Groups bundle together processes (they’re coming up…promise) that often operate around the same time on a project or with similar input and outputs. Once you’ve got comfortable with them they are actually a very logical way of grouping together the things you have to do. Projects can last for years. Every project needs the 5 Process Groups. These are the second large piece of the backbone of the PMBOK® Guide. The Process Groups are:

  1. Initiating – These processes help you define a new piece of work – either a complete new project or the phase you are about to begin. They ensure you have authority to proceed.
  2. Planning – These processes help you define objectives and scope out the work to be done. They also encompass all the work around planning and scheduling tasks. Again, they can cover a complete project or just the phase you are working on right now. Or you might be closing one phase and planning the next in parallel.
  3. Executing – You do these processes as you carry out your project tasks. This is the ‘delivery’ part of project management, where the main activity happens and you create the products.
  4. Monitoring and Controlling – These processes let you track the work that is being done, review and report on it. They also cover what happens when you find out the project isn’t following the agreed plan, so change management falls into this Process Group. You’ll run these processes alongside those in the Executing Group (mainly, but alongside the other Groups too) so you monitor as you go.
  5. Closing – Finally, these processes let you finalize all the tasks in the other Groups when you get to the point to close the project or phase.