A Methodical Approach
Basically, processes can only be related through outputs/inputs, otherwise the processes relationships are uncontrollable. If the project management system is not supported by generally recognizable and relational inputs and outputs then the system is not clear. That is why the PMBOK® Guide can be analyzed as a system, while others cannot.
To analyze the process relationships we must:
Establish basic rules for process relationships using inputs and outputs, or a condition that controls how an input or output of a process is related to its predecessors or successors to express project management logic.
Develop a process iterated loop as an instrument for the application of project management logic to a project, or a project management procedure consisting of a series of related outputs/inputs that progress from one stage to the next until the entire scope of the project is completed.
Therefore, the definitive statement: "Project Management Process Groups are linked by the outputs they produce" must be verifiable in practice. Hence, the rules that have been used to analyze the previous PMBOK® Guide editions are:
- A particular set of inputs forms unique output or outputs. Different sets of inputs must always result in output or outputs with different meaning and different names. Therefore, there are no two or more outputs with the same meaning and name in the system.
- If there are more processes with the same input name then a unique output will relate to all those inputs that belong to succeeding processes of a particular knowledge area, or to the same or succeeding process group of another knowledge area.
- There are no relationships between outputs of two or more processes, or between inputs of two or more processes. Any exceptions must be defined.
- Relations between processes of a particular knowledge area are established by relating a unique output from one process as an input with the same name into another process or processes. This should be traceable by moving forward from the first process to the last process within particular knowledge area.
- Relations between processes of two or more knowledge areas are established by relating a unique output from one knowledge area as an input with the same name into another knowledge area or areas. This should be traceable by moving forward from the processes of a particular knowledge area through the processes in the same process group or succeeding process group of another knowledge area or areas.
- An output from the Integration Project Management area cannot relate to the input of other knowledge areas in the same process group.
- If neighboring processes from the same process group and the same knowledge area do not have at least one output/input relation that connects them, then these processes should be combined into a single process.
- During a unique iteration, an output that is cleared and ready for release cannot feedback as input to the same or preceding process.
By applying these rules to a system we can define its project management logic. This logic is based on the revealed output/input interactions of the system, which are used to relate processes. As a result of the process relationships we also get the relationships within and between knowledge areas and process groups. After this step the system is powered with a dynamic feature and is ready for reconstruction focused on a specific result.
For example, if there is a need to place an output in our own way within project management logic, then we can:
- Reconnect the output to existing inputs,
- Split the output and reconnect its parts to existing inputs,
- Split some inputs and reconnect their parts to the output, or
- Introduce new inputs that can deliver required output and its position within project management logic.
During this procedure we must check the critical output sequence to confirm the required result.
Figure 1 shows how we relate outputs and inputs to define the project management logic.
Figure 1: Process Relationships - Relationships of Unique Output with Input
24. PMBOK® Guide - Fourth Edition, 2008, p40
25. Abdomerovic, Muhamed, Brainstorming The PMBOK® Guide, © 2004 Project Management Publications, Louisville, USA. (www.pmpublications.net/brainstorm)
26. Ibid, © 2005
27. Abdomerovic, Muhamed, Brainstorming The PMBOK® - Guide Fourth Edition, 2009, Study in progress, Project Management Publications, Louisville, USA.