A guide to the project management body of knowledge or PMBOK Guide (6th Edition) as it is popularly known, mentions the five process groups of the project management methodology – initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and finally the closing phase. The planning process group immediately follows the project initiation phase in PMBOK. After the project stakeholders have approved the project, the project manager can start the project planning. In this phase, the stakeholders of the project determine the guidelines for achieving the project objectives.
Planning Process Group
In the planning process group or phase in project management, project managers document the project plan by creating a project management plan. This project management plan contains the project deliverables and requirements. Along with the defined project objective, the project management plan includes the schedule, cost, quality, and resources required to achieve the project objective. Project Managers also create the stakeholder management plan that will consist of a list of all project stakeholders and their involvement at specific stages of the project.
The planning phase of project management is the most important responsibility of a project manager as it will directly affect the project’s outcome. Therefore, project managers must accurately estimate the scope, schedule, and budget to ensure a successful project delivery for their organizations. Here, the project manager uses the work breakdown structure (WBS) to divide the project into small and manageable tasks. They also assign these project tasks to the right project management professional (PMP) in the project team.
Thus, the planning process group helps project managers define the project’s guidelines. Project Managers also use this planning phase to determine the communication and procurement management plans. It helps establish the activities and processes that will be followed while procuring resources from the vendors or suppliers and the frequency of communication between the project stakeholders. A well-defined project management plan ensures that all project deliverables are achieved, and the project delivered to the customers or clients of the organization meets their requirements.
Planning Process Group Processes
The PMP planning process group includes certain processes listed under the ten knowledge areas of the PMBOK Guide, sixth edition. These are as follows:
- Develop a Project Management Plan
- Collect Requirements
- Define Scope
- Create Work Breakdown Structure
- Define Activities
- Sequence Activities
- Estimate Activity Durations
- Estimate Activity Resources
- Develop Schedule
- Estimate Costs
- Determine Budget
- Plan Quality Management
- Develop Team
- Plan Communications Management
- Plan Procurement Management
- Plan Stakeholder Engagement
- Plan Risk Management, Identify Risks, Perform Qualitative/Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses
PMP Exam Changes in 2022
According to the latest PMP Exam Content Outline released in January 2021, the examination for attaining the prestigious PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification from PMI (Project Management Institute) has changed. It focuses on the principle-based approach of the PMBOK Guide, 7th Edition. In the new edition of PMBOK, the process-based method of the sixth edition is absent. Instead of the five process groups, 10 knowledge areas, and 49 processes of project management, the seventh edition of PMBOK includes eight performance domains and twelve project delivery principles.
The eight performance domains of the PMBOK seventh edition are:
- Life Cycle
- Navigating Uncertainty and Ambiguity
- Project Work
The twelve project delivery principles of PMBOK, 7th Edition are as follows:
- Holistic Thinking
- Opportunities and Threats
- Adaptability and Resilience
- Change Management
These twelve project delivery principles are the new standards of project management as defined in the seventh edition of PMBOK. PMI replaced the sixth edition’s 5 process groups, also known as standards, with these new project management standards. The latest changes in the PMP Exam and the PMBOK Guide reflect the changing dynamics of the world economy and the global industrial scenario. Therefore, instead of project managers with a technical and process-focused approach, modern organizations need project managers who can adapt to situations and deliver results accordingly. So, PMP aspirants should refer to the PMBOK Guide, seventh edition, while preparing for the PMP Exam in 2022.