process groups

The Importance of Process Groups in Project management

Where project management is concerned, process groups are a guiding structure for the managing a project from start to finish. The concept of process groups can be vague, so let’s break down these all-important groups. What is a process? A process is a collection of actions and activities that are a means to an end. From here we can surmise that process groups are a way of organizing and categorizing processes. Process groups need to be well-defined and well-structured. In order to be useful, workflows are built around process groups. Workflows should be personalized—you can’t account for all of the different styles and preferences across teams and projects—and the system should be organized such that it is easy to follow and makes sense for your project. By organizing your project work according to process groups, it’s clear what preparatory work is required as well as the outcomes and resultant documents. Let’s explore how process groups can be organized for workflows.

To recap, the 5 process groups in project management are:

  • Initiating Process Group
  • Planning Process Group
  • Executing Process Group
  • Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
  • Closing Process Group

Organize your process groups for each type of workflow

Whichever workflow you follow, in order to start a project, you need to flesh out what the project is. This marks the start of your workflow, and is encompassed by the Initiating process group. The next step is to get into the Planning process group, which contains the bulk of the project manager’s work. This phase cannot be skipped, and by calling this out as a process group, you force it into your workflow. Once the project planning is at a point from which actual work can begin, the Executing process group begins. It can be unclear what comes next in the workflow—can we close out the project as soon as we’re done executing? This is where the Monitoring and Controlling process group kick in. Instituting this process group means that you keep an eye on the project’s constraints throughout the Planning and Execution, and ensure that you’re still on budget, on time, and within scope. There is flexibility in workflows, such that some might need more Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling iterations. Last in most workflows is the Closing process group, which rounds out the project lifecycle.

Organize your data and project planning through your process groups too

Sorting project activities into process groups makes it easy to check that you’re getting everything done for each phase of a project. By instituting phase-gates between process groups, you create check-in points. Gate management forces your workflow into a cadence where status checks are a regular occurrence. For example, to move in your workflow from the Initiating to the Planning process groups, you can implement a status gate to ensure that you’ve documented the project charter and identified the stakeholders who you will need to communicate with throughout the project. Without these activities being complete, you cannot move ahead to Planning—how can you start planning a project without knowing what you’re planning for and who is even available to provide feedback and be involved? Lifecycle statuses should make sense, and by using process groups separated by phase gates, you get structure and organization.

OneDesk has a flurry of options available to better manage process groups

OneDesk offers a variety of ways to manage process groups at various levels—from the less-detailed project level, all the way down to the nitty-gritty task and activity levels. The strength of OneDesk is that this multi-level management can be done all in one place, so you don’t lose track of any part. By staying on top of the progress of your project at all of these levels, the process of project management can be made smooth.


Photo Credit: “FLA_2684” / Ripster / CC BY

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