5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 3: Planning Process Group

This post is going to discuss some general points about the 2nd of the process groups, the Planning Process Group.

1. Planning Process Group—Purpose

According to the PMBOK® Guide, the purpose of the Planning Process Group is to a) establish the total scope of the project, b) define and refine the objectives, and c) develop a course of action to achieve those objectives.

The output of the Planning Process Group is the Project Management Plan, which contains within it the management plans for all the knowledge areas, and the project documents (schedule, budget, risk register, etc.). The 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide has made sure that each knowledge area has its associated planning process specifically named. Then, in the Integration Knowledge Area, the process 4.2 Develop Management Plan should be understood to be an integration of all the management plans of the other knowledge areas.

2.  Planning Process Group–Relationship to the other Process Groups

Three things are worth noting about the Planning Process Group and its relationship to the other Process Groups.

a. Planning actually starts in Initiating Process Group

In the initiating process group, high-level planning of the three basic constraints on a project, the scope, time and budget, but at a high-level. These are then planned in more detail in the Planning Process Group.

b. Executing Process Group can start before Planning Process is complete.

If a project is complex, then the project may start to be executed after detailed planning of only the initial phase of the project is complete, with details of the following phases coming later on as the project progresses and more information and characteristics about the project are understood This is referred to as rolling-wave planning or progressive elaboration.

c. Planning Process may be revisited as a result of Monitoring & Controlling

If during the monitoring & controlling process, significant changes are requested to the project, then the a) Project Management Plan and the b) Project Documents may need to be revised to reflect these changes.

Besides the Planning Process Group interacting with the different process groups, there is also interaction within the Planning Process Group between knowledge areas. For example, risk management may uncover that the cost and schedule estimates are too optimistic, and therefore require a revising of the cost and schedule management plan.

The next process group is the Executing Process Group, which will be covered in the next post.

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