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 - The Guide's Individual Processes

3.2.1 Initiating Process Group
As noted earlier, The Guide's Initiating Process Group handles both starting the project and starting each phase, whereas in PRINCE2 these are separate processes. Both methods:

  • Acknowledge that a feasibility study may have preceded the project
  • Create (or update in the case of later phases) the Project Charter and Preliminary Project Scope Statement (Project Initiation Document in PRINCE2 terms)

But is The Guide's Initiation Process Group complete? Before the initiation process it says:

"Clear descriptions of the project objectives are developed, including the reasons why a specific project is the best alternative solution to satisfy the requirements. The documentation for this decision also contains a basic description of the project scope, the deliverables, the project's duration and a forecast of the resources for the organization's investment analysis."[13]

Surely the project management method should cover these things, rather than point to some procedures outside the scope of the Process Groups?

The Starting Up a Project process covers these in PRINCE2. Before initiating a project can be realistic, all of this information ("assets" in the lexicon of The Guide) must be in place from a higher-level program, but you cannot be sure of this for every project. So the Process Groups should cover this work in case it has not been done, or not done fully.

In PRINCE2 the Starting Up a Project process clearly spells out the need to design and appoint people to the various roles in a project. Perhaps The Guide's rather vague statement: "The relationship of the project to the organization's strategic plan identifies the management responsibilities within the organization"[14] covers this. However, who and how many, and what responsibilities each takes, is not mentioned - and not every member of the project management team is a manager. The Guide also states: "If not already assigned, the project manager will be selected".[15] Surely the Project Manager should have been involved in the collection and assessment of information that The Guide describes as being pre-project, or at least pre-initiation?

Further, The Guide states: "Although the project management team may help write the Project Charter, approval and funding are handled external to the project boundaries".[16] This emphasizes that The Guide's method does not fully cover the total management of the project but gives this either to the PMO or program/portfolio management body. In contrast, PRINCE2 has this firmly within the scope of the process of "Directing a Project" that includes the appointment of a Project Board before initiation, the provision of standard roles for the Project Board members and the link to corporate or program management.

3.2.2 Planning Process Group
This section has a small subsection on Plan Purchases and Acquisitions and Plan Contracting and is similar to the PRINCE2 Planning process. These sections are small, since they are elaborated elsewhere, but their associated tables contain useful checklists for projects that include procurement. In PRINCE2 the process "Defining the Project Approach" covers the issue of the make-or-buy decision.

3.2.3 Executing Process Group
This covers the actual performance of the project work and in general covers the scope of the two PRINCE2 processes: "Controlling a Stage" and "Managing Product Delivery". The Guide's sub-process of "Acquire Project Team" seems a little late in the sequence. One would expect it to be a part of the Planning process, as it is in PRINCE2. PRINCE2 does not have the equivalent of the sub-process "Develop Project Team". However, a spin-off from the PRINCE2 concept of Work Packages does suggest that documentation of the Work Package results is a useful input to staff performance assessment.

The "Executing Process Group" contains brief mention here of processes concerned with procurement, i.e. "Request Seller Responses" and "Select Sellers" and includes short checklists. In PRINCE2 any major procurement work for a project would be part of the Initiation process.

3.2.4 Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
As the name suggests, this process group contains good content and an illustrative diagram of what needs to be done to monitor and control performance against the plan. The text identifies 12 processes each illustrated by checklists of inputs and outputs. However, it leaves unanswered questions of how this work is done, what documents should be used, and to whom problems should be escalated. In PRINCE2 this work is shared between the "Controlling a Stage" and "Managing Product Delivery" processes, and is part of the "Managing Stage Boundaries" processes. PRINCE2, however, is far more precise in terms of who does what, the documentation to be used and what triggers interaction with other processes.

3.2.5 Closing Process Group
This process group covers the work to be done either at the end of a phase or the end of the project as a whole. Its description consists of only two subsections of only one sentence each followed by short checklists. Considering that it covers two very important aspects of a project, i.e. phase end and whole project end, it is very brief. In PRINCE2 this is shared between two processes: "Managing Stage Boundaries" and "Closing a Project" both of which go into far more detail on the what, who, how and when.

3.3 Process Interactions
This is little more than statements that the Process Groups interact with one another and sometimes overlap.

3.4 Project Management Process Mapping
This section consists of text and illustrations that explain and map the various detailed project management Processes to the five Process Groups and the nine Knowledge Areas.[17] A corresponding relationship diagram in PRINCE2 provides similar mapping.[18]

Chapter 3 - Overview of Project Management Processes for a Project  Chapter 3 - Overview of Project Management Processes for a Project

13. The Guide, p43
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid, p70
18. PRINCE2, p20
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