Should some of the PMBOK Guide planning processes be split up?

This text is also from our upcoming book and is a continuation of the previous article.

As mentioned already, for some of the knowledge areas, such as scope, time, cost, and risk there is a definite split between management planning processes and detailed planning processes. The earlier discussions on scope elaborated on this concept in text and graphics. The same analogy applies to risk, time and cost.

فيديو بالعربي عن موضوع المقالFor the other knowledge areas, such as quality, human resource, communication, stakeholder, and procurement, each has only one planning process. If one studies these planning processes, like Plan Quality Management, it would be evident that this process has elements of both sub-groups. Meaning, it includes management planning and detailed planning.

Let us elaborate.

The only planning quality process is “Plan Quality Management” (The Project Management Institute, 2013). Understanding this process, one can notice that it includes:

  • How to’ topics; like how to plan, define, manage, perform quality assurance, and control quality. These steps belong to the management sub-group.
  • Further, this process involves ‘doing,’ such as identifying the quality standards that apply to the phase (or project) and what specifications to follow to achieve compliance. In other words, these are detailed planning activities.

In other words, there are two processes here combined in one PMBOK Guide Process (refer to this article that addressed process vs. PMBOK Guide process). It would be valuable to ask, why for certain subjects (cost, risk), there are detailed planning processes independent of the management process; whereas for the others, like quality, there is only one? The author does not have an answer.

Consequently, it would be logical to suggest that there should be two processes. The first, a “Plan Quality Management” process, focusing on the management of the quality function in a given phase and keeping this process in the management planning sub-group. Also, a ‘Define Quality’ process that includes determining the standards that apply to the scope of the phase; this would be in the detailed planning sub-group.

19 Fig 15-3 _ Project quality management processesThe above image illustrates the revised quality function, which would consist of four processes, instead of three.

Notice in this image, the author is classifying quality assurance as a control process; explained in Chapter 17 (this is in reference to our upcoming book).

Other processes that should be split, in a similar fashion to quality, would be human resources, communication, stakeholders, and procurement. All of these areas include the ‘doing’ ‘implicit processes’ with the management planning processes.

What are your thoughts?