We know, the title may sound awkward or missing a few words, this is why we need to read on.
What are we talking about?
Maybe the question should be what is (1) a process and (2) a PMBOK Guide process?
In the context of this article,
- A process is a specific set of actions to deliver a specific result.
- A PMBOK Guide process should be similar to the previous definition but in this case, a PMBOK Guide process is one that is listed in the guide as one of the 47 processes (per 5th edition).
In either case, the process could be narrowly focused and require a bit of effort – or widely focused and require significant effort.
Historical Perspective – PMBOK Guide 4th Edition
Now let us go back to the back with a historical perspective first.
In the fourth edition, there was a process called Develop Project Management Plan, which is a planning process in the integration knowledge area. If we understand the guide properly, what are some of the major actions this process included? Well, it included:
- Developing the scope management plan,
- Developing the schedule management plan,
- Developing the cost management plan,
- Developing the change management plan,
- Developing the configuration management plan, and
- Various other actions about the overall management aspects.
Looking back at the list, can we say that the Develop Project Management Plan (PMBOK Guide) process is actually, six processes, at least?
What do you think?
Agree – disagree – not sure?
Shifting from 4th to 5th Editions
Well, in the fifth edition, the volunteers working the update to the guide felt maybe something does not make sense. For example, they must have noticed (I am presuming) that:
- The 4th edition included a management plan process for Quality, Risk, HR, Communication, Stakeholders, and Procurement but not for Scope, Time, or Cost.
- The scope, time, and cost management plans were included in the integration Develop Project Management Plan.
Why is that?
Why some knowledge areas required an independent process for the management aspects of that knowledge area but others did not?
Does this mean that scope management is less important than quality management —- or the opposite, putting it as part of integration make it more important?
I wish I know the answers to these questions. I also wish I understand what is the criterion used by the PMI volunteer to decide what is a process or part of another process.
Anyway, the volunteers of the 5th edition possibly had a dilemma and decided to pull scope, time, and cost management plans from integration and make them independent processes. These were 3 out of the 5 processed added in the 5th edition. With this action, now each knowledge area has a dedicated management plan processes. Great.
Are there still issues or concerns?
However, the above did not resolve the whole matter. For example, change and configuration management plans are still part of the integration area, which is OK, but why don’t they have their independent processes?
Similarly, in quality management, why process improvement plan is not a dedicated process?
Next, we visit HR and ask, why the staffing plan is not an independent process?
- Where is the process for selecting a project manager? Or is the action to select the lead person for the project does not require a special focus? Or is it a ‘flip-a-coin’ action?
- Where is the process for selecting (and mobilizing) the project management team, the professionals that should be helping the project manager plan and manage the project?
- Where is the Control Project Team process? Basically, HR is the only knowledge area without a control process.
We can ask a few more questions:
- Where is the complete work packages process? In scope planning we create the WBS and define work packages, in control we ensure their completion and acceptance, but when is the process for completing the work?
- Why in scheduling we have a process for making a list of activities, and a process to sequence them, and a process to identify the resources, etc. but in the Develop Schedule process we include the critical path analysis – and – schedule compression – and – resource leveling – and – and in one process? Cannot we break scheduling into more processes? OR — go the other way, combine all scheduling processes into one process called Develop Project Schedule?
- Why HSE (Health, Safety, and Environment) are not considered in the guide? How about sustainability? Are not these factors that should be considered for ‘most projects’
What do you think?