This paper was submitted for publication 2/28/06 and is copyright to Colin Bentley© 2006.
Published hereJuly 2006.

Note | Introduction | The Guide, Chapter 1 - Introduction / General Scope of Project Management
Chapter 2 - Project Life Cycle and Organization
Chapter 3 - Overview of Project Management Processes for a Project / The Guide's Individual Processes
Chapter 4 - Project Integration Method | Chapter 5 - Project Scope Management
Chapters 6, 7 and 8 | Chapters 9, 10, 11 and 12

Chapter 3 - Overview of Project Management Processes for a Project

The Guide advocates five process groups as follows:[11]

  • Initiating Process Group
  • Planning Process Group
  • Executing Process Group
  • Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
  • Closing Process Group.

These compare with PRINCE2 that has eight processes:[12]

  • Starting Up a Project (SU)
  • Directing a Project (DP)
  • Initiating a Project (IP)
  • Managing Stage Boundaries (SB)
  • Controlling a Stage (CS)
  • Managing Product Delivery (MP)
  • Closing a Project (CP)
  • Planning (PL)

The last process is a common process, used by the others whenever a plan must be created.

There are clearly many similarities between The Guide and PRINCE2 processes, and both The Guide and PRINCE2 recommend tailoring the method to suit the project's needs. However, there are also some major differences, see Figures 1 and 2 for comparison.

Figure 1: The Guide's Process Groups
Figure 1: The Guide's Process Groups
Figure 2: The PRINCE2 Processes
Figure 2: The PRINCE2 Processes

In The Guide the management process group cycle includes all of the processes contained in the groups for as many phases as there are identified for the project. This means that the initiating process starts both the entire project and each stage. Similarly, the closing process closes each phase as well as closing the entire project.

In PRINCE2, the processes: "Starting Up a Project" (SU) and "Initiating a Project" (IP), including appropriate authorizations, occur once per project - at its beginning. "Closing a Project" (CP) also occurs once - at the end of the project. Within these two there is a cycle of "Controlling a Stage" (CS) and "Managing Product Delivery" (MP) for as many stages as are required. There is a larger cycle of these two followed by "Managing Stage Boundaries" (SB) where the next stage "Planning" (PL) is also undertaken for as many stages as the project contains. The whole takes place under an overarching "Directing a Project" (DP).

The PRINCE2 idea allows for a clearer, more detailed explanation of the parts of the process that are specific to that time of the project. For example, there are tasks to do and products to create at the start of a project that are not redone or recreated at the start of every stage or phase. Similarly, there are tasks to do, and management products to produce at project end that are not required at each stage or phase end.

Further, PRINCE2's process of Starting Up a Project describes what must be available or assembled before you can start thinking about initiating a project. For example, from whence does the Project Board, Project Manager and project management team come? Where did we ensure that there was sufficient information for a Project Board or PSO to determine whether a project should be initiated in the first place?

In The Guide the processes start with a Statement of Work and Contract from the Sponsor, but in real life there is very often too little information in this statement (Project Mandate in PRINCE2 terms) to be sure that you are making a start in the right direction. And certainly one would have to ask how a contract could have been made - and by whom - when the project has not yet started. Clearly there is a large amount of critical work to be done before The Guide process model begins. There is also no mention in The Guide's process diagram of how and when the project management team is appointed.

Strangely, in The Guide's process diagram there is no mention of risk detection or quality planning either, though one assumes that some work is going on in these areas from entries elsewhere such as "implemented corrective actions", "defect repair" and "implemented preventive actions".

Chapter 2 - Project Life Cycle and Organization  Chapter 2 - Project Life Cycle and Organization

11. Ibid, p38
12. PRINCE2, pp 13-17
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