5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Memorizing the Processes (Step 4: Monitoring & Controlling Process Group)

2. Processes in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group

ProcessGroup ProcessNumber Process
Process Description
Monitoring & Controlling 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work Tracks, reviews and monitors project progress against the performance objectives set out in the project management plan
Monitoring & Controlling 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control Reviews all change requests; approves changes and manages changes to deliverables, OPAs, project documents, and/or the project management plan itself; communicates the disposition of those changes
Monitoring & Controlling 5.4 Validate Scope Formalizes acceptance of the completed project deliverables
Monitoring & Controlling 5.5 Control Scope Monitoring status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline.
Monitoring & Controlling 6.6 Control Schedule Monitors the status of project activities to update project progress, and manages changes to schedule baseline to achieve the plan
Monitoring & Controlling 7.3 Control Costs Monitors the status of the project to update project costs, and manages changes to the cost baseline.
Monitoring & Controlling 8.3 Control Quality Monitors and records results of executing the quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes.
Monitoring & Controlling 10.3 Control Communications Monitors and controls communications throughout the entire project life cycle to ensure that the information needs of the project stakeholders are met.
Monitoring & Controlling 11.6 Control Risks Implements risk response plans, tracks identified risks, monitors residual risks, identifies new risks, evaluates risk process effectiveness throughout the project.
Monitoring & Controlling 12.3 Control Procurements Manages procurement relationships, monitors contract performance, makes changes and corrections as needed.
Monitoring & Controlling 13.4 Control Stakeholder Engagement Monitors overall project stakeholder relationships and adjusts strategies and plans for engaging stakeholders.

Note that ALL of the process titles have the word “Control” EXCEPT for process 5.4 “Validate Scope.”    Also, you need to memorize the fact that the FIRST TWO knowledge groups, Integration and Scope, have TWO processes in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.   All of the other knowledge areas have exactly one process each in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group, except for Human Resources, which is the only knowledge area that doesn’t have any processes at all in that process group.

Here’s a little detail on the processes listed above.

4.4  Monitor and Control Project Work

This is the CHECK part of the plan-do-check-act cycle.  What are you checking for?  To see if the project is progressing as planned in process 4.2.   What happens if the project is NOT progressing as planned and you want to get back on track, so to speak?   Then you go to the NEXT process, which is …

4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control

Here is where you evaluate requests for changes to get you “back on track” to complete the project according to the plan developed in 4.2.   The changes need to be reviewed by whatever process is specified in the Change Management Plan, one of the 4 subsidiary plans other than the 9 knowledge area management plans that make up the overall Project Management Plan.   Then those changes that are approved are then managed.    Now those changes may be to the deliverables, to the project, and possibly even the project management plan.    In all cases, the project documents will be changed to reflect all the changes reviewed, even if they are not approved.

5.5 Validate Scope

Validating the scope means taking a deliverable and asking the customer and/or sponsor to review to make sure it conforms to their expectations.

NOTE:    Verifying the scope is a process internal to the project where the project team verifies whether the deliverables conform to the technical requirements as set forth in the scope baseline.   That process is done is done within the next process 5.5 Control Scope.   Validating the scope is a process external to the project where the project team validates with the customer and/or sponsor to see if the deliverables conform to their expectations.

Confused?   To make it even worse, in the 4th Edition, these terms “validate” and “verify” were reversed.   To keep them straight for the 5th edition, think of when you go into an appointment at an office where you have to park in a parking garage.    When you get ready to go into the appointment, you should always write down the number of the parking spot and its location within the parking garage so that you can verify where your car is when the appointment is done.    But before you go back to your car, you ask the receptionist if he or she can validate your parking so that you don’t have to pay for the parking.    You verify to yourself (internal process) where your car is, but you validate your parking with someone else (external process) in order to get out of paying for it yourself.    That should help cement these two terms in your memory.

5.5 Control Scope

Control scope means to monitor the status of the project and product scope to verify whether the project is proceeding according to the scope baseline.     As mentioned in the previous paragraph, validate scope is an external process requiring communication with the customer and/or process, and verify scope is an internal process.    If when you verify the scope it turns out that there is a deviation of the deliverable from the scope baseline, then you must request a change to bring the project back in line with that baseline.

6.6 Control Schedule

Schedule tells you whether you are proceeding according to schedule, ahead of schedule or behind schedule. If there are changes to the project which require a change in schedule baseline, those changes are managed here.

7.3 Control Costs

Here you use the tools such as earned value to find out whether or not your project is proceeding according to the cost baseline.   If there are any changes to the project which require a change in the cost baseline, those changes are managed here.

8.3 Perform Quality Control

The question being answered here is: are the deliverables meeting the quality standards? The monitoring focuses on the quality of the deliverables. If they don’t meet the standards, then this becomes a basis for a recommendation for change.

10.2  Control Communications

The whole purpose of communications is to make sure that the information needs of the project stakeholders are being met.  This process monitors to see whether that is indeed the case and suggests changes if it is not.

11.6 Control Risks

This is where risks that were identified are tracked during the course of the project, and the planned risk responses implemented if those risks do occur.   The residual risks for which there are no planned responses are monitored, and if any new risks are identified, those are added to the risk register.    Finally, the effectiveness of the entire risk management process is reviewed.

12.3 Control Procurements

Once the seller has been selected, the terms of the contract are fulfilled by the seller and the project manager watches over the relationship with the seller, the performance of the seller with respect to the terms of the contract, and if there are any conflicts, these are resolved.

13.4 Control Stakeholder Management

The stakeholder relationships are monitored to see if the desired engagement level has been reached as set forth in the Stakeholder Management Plan, and if they have not been reached, plans and strategies are implemented for engaging stakeholders at that desired level.

As you can see, there are 11 processes (9 out of the 10 knowledge groups have processes EXCEPT for human resources, and 2 out of the 10 knowledge groups, Integration and Scope, have an additional process, for a total of 9 + 2 = 11 processes).   They all have to do with monitoring the progress of the project within that knowledge area, and comparing that progress with what’s in the management plan.   If it falls short of what is in the plan, then the “controlling” part of the process group kicks in, and a change is suggested which will either a) bring the project in line with the plan, or if the plan ended up being unrealistic after all, b) bring the plan in line with the project.    All efforts are made, of course, to do the former rather than the latter, with the latter of changing the plan as opposed to the project a “last resort”.

This is the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group in a nutshell.    Once you have memorized the names of the processes in this process group, the next process group, the Closing Process Group, is EASY because there are only two processes involved, just as in the case of the Initiating Process Group.   The review of that Closing Process Group is covered in the next post.


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