Process groups are NOT project phases

For our 10th anniversary as SUKAD we have decided to run a competition where we give away enrollment to our classes and sets of books.

Every week we ask one question – and there will be 4 winners; 2 win courses’ enrollment and 2 win set of books.

The first week we asked the following question:

“Can you provide the names of the project phases or stages on the project life cycle?”

Before you read more … can you think of the answer?

We expect some readers will answers like what most respondents answered: “Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing”.  We realize that most give this answer because of the image below from the PMBOK Guide. I am sure you realize these are called process groups.

Project Management Process Groups


Again, these are the process groups from the PMBOK Guide, which is published and copyright to the Project Management Institute.

If you answered “Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing” then you are making the most common mistakes where most practitioner who are PMP or follow PMI makes. These process groups are NOT project phases. Per the PMBOK Guide the process groups repeat in EVERY PHASE! Refer to the next two images – both explain this point in a different way.

The first image

Process Groups Repeating Along the Project Life Span

Process Groups Repeating Along the Project Life Span

The Second Image

Project Life Cycle - Phases - Process Groups - Knowledge Areas

Project Life Cycle – Phases – Process Groups – Knowledge Areas

We have published many articles on this topic before, you can search our blog site for more reading. We are also working on book on the PMBOK but that might be a few months before it would be ready.


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About Mounir Ajam

A Project Management thought leader, who believes that project management touches all people, in all aspects of life; personal and professional.Initiated and led the formation of SUKAD Corp to develop the Uruk PPM Platform.An advocate of real-world, practical and applied project management.Champion of adaptive project management, tailored methods, and organizational project management.Available anywhere in the world to advise executives and organizations on the strategic value of project management. Ready to help organizations build and sustain the Project Management Function and the capacity to lead projects successfully.