This Guest paper is an updated version of a paper first published in the PM World Journal, January 2018. This revision was presented for publication December 24, 2017
Part 1 published here February 2018

In this paper:
• IPECC = Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling, Closing
• OGC = Office of Government Commerce (UK)
• KAs = Knowledge Areas (in the PMBOK Guide)
• PGs = Process Groups (ditto)
• PMBOK = Project Management Body of Knowledge (Guide)
• PMI = Project Management Institute (USA)

Abstract | Introduction | Clearing the Confusion | Processes 
Knowledge Areas | Process Groups within Knowledge Areas | PART 2

Clearing the Confusion

The following discussion is designed to clear away this confusion and provide a basis for better understanding by proposing changes to the way the PMBOK® Guide and The Standard for Project Management address these concepts. The first step in determining how to achieve this is to understand the current approach used in the PMBOK® Guide.

The Three Models

PMI presents three ways of structuring the field of project management. These are:

  1. Life cycles (section 1.2 of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edn.)
  2. Processes arranged in five process groups (section 1.2)
  3. Knowledge areas (sections 4-13).

Life Cycles

The role of a project life cycle is to subdivide the chronological development of the project into distinct parts (called "phases") in order to ensure effective management and technical control by limiting the amount of future investment and work authorized at any point in time. In some circumstances, phases are subdivided into smaller elements, often called stages, as shown in Figure 3 below. The phases are: Pre-design, Design, Pre-construction, Construction; "construction" has many (product-related) stages that are not shown. A diagram of this type also helps in identifying missing phases or stages. For example, it is clear from Figure 3 that the "Handover" phase has been overlooked!

Figure 3: Phases and Main Stages of a Building Project
Figure 3: Phases and Main Stages of a Building Project
Note the Go/No-go Review Check Marks at the end of each Phase
[Click to enlarge]

Thus, a project life cycle is a set of sequential, interdependent phases leading from the start of the project to its end. It may be helpful to think of the life cycle of a butterfly (egg, caterpillar, pupa, butterfly).

It is interesting to note that the PRINCE2 standard by OGC[5] explicitly states that one defining characteristic of a project is that it has a life cycle: in other words, if it does not have a life cycle, it is not a project!

Introduction  Introduction

5. OGC 2009
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