Project Management Process Groups 101

Note if you are taking the PMP® exam from 26 March 2018 onwards: click here to read the updated PMP® study material based on PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition.

Cheers, Stefania

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) describes five major process groups that are achieved throughout the stages of a project life cycle.

The following graphic provides a big-picture view of these processes in which the project management activities are typically completed.

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The Five Process Groups Explained

1) Project Management Process Group

A process group is a logical grouping of project management activities, inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs required for any type of project.

The project management process groups tell you what you have to do during each process of your project.

2) 5 Project Management Process Groups, by processes and key outputs

2.1) Initiating

Define a new project or new phase of the project, identify stakeholders, and obtain authorization.


Develop Project Charter (Integration), Identify Stakeholders (Stakeholder).

Key Outputs

Project Charter, Stakeholder Register.

2.2) Planning

Establish the scope of the project, refine the objectives, and define the course of action required to attain project objectives.


Develop Project Management Plan (Integration); Plan Scope Management (Scope); Collect Requirements (Scope); Define Scope (Scope); Create WBS (Scope); Plan Schedule Management (Time); Define Activities (Time); Sequence Activities (Time); Estimate Activity Resources (Time); Estimate Activity Duration (Time); Develop Schedule (Time); Plan Cost Management (Cost); Estimate Costs (Cost); Determine Budget (Cost); Plan Quality Management (Quality); Plan Human Resource Management (Human Resource); Plan Communications Management (Communications); Plan Risk Management (Risk); Identify Risks (Risk); Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis (Risk); Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis (Risk); Plan Risk Responses (Risk); Plan Procurements Management (Procurements); Plan Stakeholder Management (Stakeholder).

Key Outputs

Project Mgt. Plans & Related Documents; Scope; Requirements; Schedule; Cost; Quality; Human Resources; Communication; Risk; Procurement; Change; Stakeholders.

2.3) Executing

Complete the work to satisfy project objectives.


Direct & Manage Project Work (Integration); Perform Quality Assurance (Quality); Acquire Project Team (Human Resource); Develop Project Team (Human Resource); Manage Project Team (Human Resource); Manage Communications (Communications); Conduct Procurements (Procurements); Manage Stakeholder Engagement (Stakeholder).

Key Outputs

Project Deliverables; Work Performance Data; Team Performance Assessments; Project Communications; Selected Suppliers & Agreements; Change Requests.

2.4) Monitoring & controlling

Track, review, and regulate progress and performance of the project; manage variance and initiate corresponding changes.


Monitor & Control project work (Integration); Perform Integrated Change control (Integration); Validate Scope (Scope); Control Scope (Scope); Control Schedule (Time); Control Costs (Cost); Control Quality (Quality); Control Communications (Communications); Control Risks (Risk); Control Procurements (Procurements); Control Stakeholder Engagement (Stakeholder).

Key Outputs

Change Logs; Approved Change Requests; Work Performance Information; Schedule Forecasts; Cost Forecasts; Updates to Project Plan.

2.5) Closing

Finalize all activities across all process groups to formally close the project or phase.


Close Project or Phase (Integration); Close Procurements (Procurement).

Key Outputs

Final Product, Service, or Result; Closed Procurements.

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Hi, I am Stefania, hearth and keyboard behind Tipsographic, a free online resource for everybody interested in project management and agile. I specialize in project management tips, tools, and tricks. When I'm not writing, you can find me road cycling around Tuscany or spending time with friends and family.

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