Menu Close

Process Groups In PMBOK

Process Groups

PMP aspirants often face confusion with the PMBOK process groups and knowledge areas. Generally, they tend to mistake one for the other. To clear this misconception an in-depth knowledge of the process groups must be acquired by project management professionals. 

Despite being interrelated, process groups can be distinguished from knowledge areas. 

PMBOK’s division of the disciplines to be learned by a project manager into different segments is termed Knowledge Area. Each knowledge area is a category of tasks that are based on the same skill sets or knowledge. 

A similar classification is also done for the tasks to be executed by a project manager and his team. These are referred to as project management process groups

Process Groups

Definition Of Project Management Process Groups

Process groups are flexible by nature and can be used to execute any project irrespective of its field or industry. These groups constitute the framework of a project’s life cycle. All the activities involved in a project fall within the purview of these 5 classes, namely:

  1. Initiating processes– Activities related to project launch
  2. Planning processes – Tasks in planning project extent and execution
  3. Executing processes– Project completion activities
  4. Monitoring processes – Operations involved in monitoring the project performance  
  5. Closing processes – Tasks for finalizing a particular phase or the entire project

The grouping of tasks under the given 5 processes helps in organizing a project for increased concentration on its broader goals. A project is divided into 39 processes each of which falls within these five groups. They accommodate the different performance domains as and when applied during the course of a project. It needs to be noted that these processes need not be sequential and can change their order as per a project’s demands. The application of these processes isn’t confined to any specific project phase though they appear such by the classification categories. 

PMBOK 5 Process Groups 

Professionals with PMP Certification are well acquainted with each of these process groups for implementing them properly. Given below is a detailed discussion for easy comprehension. 


This group comprises two fundamental processes implemented during a project’s formal approval. Identification of stakeholders and project charter preparation are the initiating procedures executed by the respective project manager. The stakeholder registration list and the charter document are the outputs of this process group. This list contains the stakeholder names and their respective investments in the project. It also reveals the communication frequency with the PMPs as desired by them. Overviewing a project’s deliverables, scope, and goals are included in this group. Explaining the business needs for the project execution forms one of the core areas. 


Featuring 24 processes, planning stands as the largest process group of the five. These processes lead to the detailed planning of a project in terms of budget, schedule, and scope. PMP(Project management plan) is the result of this process group. Depending on the complexity of a project, the plan design may vary from sub-sections to sub-plans. This document is subject to changes and revision in the course of a project. 


Ten project management processes fall within this third group. These cover the major part of activities in a project and account for the lion’s share of the project budget. Tangible outcomes are produced here. A project manager’s responsibilities are included in this group. These comprise the management of communication, resources, and participants. Requirements documentation, engaging the stakeholders, and implementation of risk responses are the other tasks that need a project manager’s supervision through relevant processes. To sum up, this process group encapsulates every task performed in managing and directing a project.  


Controlling process group accounts for twelve procedures needed for monitoring and controlling a project at every step. These are ongoing processes within a project cycle, not restricted to any particular stage. Project Management Professionals (PMP) have a command over these processes. Tracking a project’s key aspects is the chief among the 12 processes. These processes also involve the implementation of project management software. Potential errors and overages in the workflow are mitigated by the execution of these processes. 


It isn’t a group but a single process of ensuring that the project deliverables have been accepted by the customer and signed. This process involves the act of formal Project Closure by the project manager. A celebration of project completion is accompanied by a session for archiving the lessons learned during project execution. Then the team members are released. 

PMBOK 7th Edition Emphasizes Delivery Principles Over Process Groups

The latest version of PMBOK is characterized by enhanced concentration in a project’s business value. This has led to the establishment of project delivery principles. Each of these outweighs the process groups in certain respects, as has been discussed here. Unlike process groups that are prescriptive, principles instill the right project management approach in professionals. 

Stewardship – It induces the proper use of professional judgment to avoid toxic environments in the workplace. The success of implementing process groups lies in the ethical conduct of project participants. 

Team – Collaboration of team members is another effective step towards making the most of their individual experiences and talents. Utilizing the best in all members causes the project to achieve desired results. 

Stakeholders – Engaging stakeholders in project management have helped a project earn their trust. The project team can ask for the assistance of stakeholders whenever they need it and keep the latter updated about project progress. 

Value- It is the end objective of every project and demands constant focus. This leads to consistency in the project outputs and thus, is of prime importance irrespective of other project processes. 

Systems Thinking – A holistic approach to a project is highly beneficial. Grouping of project processes makes execution easier. To analyze them in relation to one another makes the project more efficient. 

Leadership – It eradicates the stagnant position of a leader and keeps changing by the need of the hour. So, the ablest person for a specific task is able to guide others for the best possible outcomes. 

Tailoring – Unlike PMBOK 6, the seventh edition allows project plan designing in alignment with project features. From objectives to the ambiance, everything is taken care of to maintain the project’s uniqueness. 

Quality – Compared to process groups, extra emphasis is laid on consumer expectations. This delivery principle also verifies the active status of the project processes and fulfillment of stakeholder assumptions. 

Complexity – The simplest way to get rid of project complexity is by continuously evaluating it. This principle infuses the workers with the same spirit that process groups don’t. No matter how much planned, project processes do give rise to complexities. 

Risk – This principle shows how risks can also benefit a project through their positive impacts. Optimization of such effects can take the project processes to a higher level of efficiency. Therefore, it proves to be much more useful. 

Resiliency and Adaptability – These two are must qualities of anyone involved in a project. This principle is vital since no process group can function successfully if these traits are lacking in its implementers. 

Change – Process groups concentrate on changes in project life cycle whereas this principle determines to what extent changes are beneficial. The latter deals with the management of changes introduced. 

Individuals working in the project management domain or desiring to get PMP certified must be well-versed in these process groups. These reduce a project manager’s work pressure if implemented at the right time. Several potential risks get detected and the project is least affected by them. Successful and timely completion of a project rests on the deployment of these processes.


Posted in Project Management

Related Articles