2.5 Project Management Process Framework

The process framework is the foundation on which most of the PMBOK®[1] Guide is based on; as such the same applies to this course.  There are 47 processes in PMBOK® Guide edition 5.  Each process belongs to a knowledge area (specialized knowledge domain for management of project) and a process group.  Take the time to familiarize yourself with the following table as you are going to see it repeated from different angels and for various emphases for most of the remainder of this course.  The key to understanding this course is to internalize this table.

project management groups and knowledge areas


In the above table all the processes are listed and mapped to their knowledge area and process group.  Please note that each element in the table has two sets of numbers: 1) the number before the name of the element refers to its chapter and section number in this course and the number after refers to its chapter and section number in the PMBOK®[1] Guide.

This framework is the skeleton behind this course, we can’t stress enough how essential this framework is to this course in general, and to the application of the course in real life.

Follow the next set of rules in order to utilize this table the right way:

  • Keep the structure illustrated in figure 2 – 3: Example of a single phase project.  The Initiating and closing processes happen once (you start the project and end it once), but the planning and executing processes are ongoing throughout the project.  The initiating, planning, and executing processes are overseen by the monitoring & controlling process group.  Although the linear structure of this course gives the impression that a project starts with the first process of the initiating group and ends with the last process of the closing process group, in reality this can’t be further from truth.  In a nutshell, project imitating group builds the foundation for the planning group which is acted upon in the executing group and the gap between the two is monitored and adjusted by the monitoring and controlling group.  Once the obligations of the project are satisfies the project is drawn to its end (or in other cases cancelled pre maturely—still considered ending).

single phase project

The 47 project management processes are covered in depth in chapter 4.  Keep in mind the point made above when going from process group to process group.  In order to  see a process group at a high level you should find a column that is associated with the process group you are looking for and study the processed from top to bottom.   For example you are studying the Monitoring and Controlling Process group, the order of studying the processes would be as follows:

direction of process groups' processes in project management

The PMBOK®[1] Guide is mainly geared towards teaching the project management by knowledge area.  If you want to enhance your knowledge on a specific knowledge area for example project risk management, locate the row in the table that has this knowledge area in the first column and review the processes from left to right.

direction of knowledge areas in project management

  • Process interactions: Each process is made up of inputs, tools and techniques for processing the inputs, and output generated from the application of tools and techniques to the inputs. This structure is unofficially known as ITTO short for Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs.  Great care has been taken to cover the processes both at an individual level (in chapter 4) as well as a macro level (the table above, process interaction and data flow diagrams, etc.).  Keep in mind that the framework covered in this course is the standard PMBOK®[1] Guide framework and in reality based on organization types, project characteristics, competencies of the project manager and her team, organizational support for project management, and many other factors the project manager and her team have to tailor this framework to their specific needs.  Do not make the mistake to assume that this process has to be applied exactly as it is in every project.  For the sake of the exam you have to assume that you are in charge of projects that do satisfy this condition, but in real world you need to master this framework and marry it with the specific requirements of your project to create a framework appropriate to your project.


For example if you are a project manager in a company that has a rich history of successful projects in a domain very similar to that of your project, uncertainties are not considered high in your environment, you have a skilled and dedicated team with experience working in similar projects the framework you’ll assemble from the standard template covered in this course will be drastically different than that of a peer of your that is setting up a new marketing system in a region your company has only recently entered.

  • In the next session common ITTOs and those essential terms are covered that would help you comprehending the topics covered in the rest of the course either due to their frequency or being the core for the concepts in the rest of the course.


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