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


A process in its most general form is a mechanism for transforming an input or set of inputs into an output or set of outputs by the application of a set of tools and techniques (as an example, a "drill a hole" process starts with a piece of wood [the Input], uses a drill [the Tool] and delivers: a piece of wood with a hole, plus sawdust [the Outputs]).

The whole subset of the project management body of knowledge addressed by PMI is translated into a number of processes (49 in all). A process can only belong to a single PG and a single KA.

Process Groups

In the PMI standards, the processes are grouped into five PGs under the mnemonic IPECC, which stands for:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Controlling
  5. Closing

The potential for confusion arises because, (apart from "controlling"); the names of the groups could also apply to life cycle phases. The confusion is compounded by the fact that PMI presents the concept of processes and PGs before describing KAs. This issue is explained in more detail later on in this paper.

Note however, that processes from the various PGs can be invoked in many phases, and IPECC repeats within each one of the phases. To be more precise, there are multiple, simultaneous, asynchronous IPECC cycles running within each phase (e.g., you may be identifying new risks, while executing a part of communication plan, while closing a procurement, etc.)

Clearing the Confusion  Clearing the Confusion

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