Company X is gearing up for a major trade show. Ten weeks prior to the show, a project will be started to prepare for the event. Like all projects, this one will include processes that conform to the Project Management Body of Knowledge’s (PMBOK) five project management process groups. Although each process group will be utilized, it is not always clear which process group is in effect at any given time. Additionally, some process groups will require more work than others depending on the nature of the project.
The first process group is the Initiating Process Group. This group includes the processes that make up the creation of the project including the project approval and scope. Unlike other project processes, these processes are often conducted outside the scope of the formal project team (Project Management Institute, 2004). In the case of the upcoming trade show, the decision to attend the trade was part of the Initiating Process Group. The decision to attend the trade show was made outside the formal project team, but it is the team’s responsibility to see that Company X is well-represented at the show. Additionally, the approval of resources, including personnel and finances, before the project plan is created is part of the Initiating Process Group.
The next process group is the Planning Process Group. As Gido and Clements (2009) describe it, the Planning Process Group is focused on determining “what needs to be done, who will do it, how long it will take, and how much it will cost” (p. 87). The Planning Process Group strives to acquire information from available resources and use that information to create a highly detail project plan. Since both information and project requirements can change over time, it is necessary to frequently revisit the processes of the Planning Process Group to refine project plan. Additionally, execution of the plan may highlight deficiencies that need to be readdressed by this process group (PMI, 2004). It will be necessary to gather the members of the Copmany X trade show project team together to initiate the planning processes. Each team member brings valuable experience and expertise to the team and each should be involved in the project planning. The sales manager, whose employees will be staffing the booth, should also be involved in the planning process. Although this process group will not require the most time to execute, it will require the most energy as all team members will be involved and several iterations will be necessary.
The Executing Process Group is where the real action happens. The execution of the work elements defined in the Planning Process Group happens in the Executing Process Group. This group requires the coordination of personnel and resources to ensure that each element is completed on time and under budget. As each task is undertaken, it may be necessary to revert back to the processes in the Planning Process Group as task completion or problems require. In fact, solutions to problems that arise during execution may need to be referred to the customer or initiating project group for approval if they affect the nature or scope of the project (PMI, 2004). The Company X trade show project includes several tasks in the Executing Process Group including such activities as updating the trade show display, ordering new materials, arranging transportation, and training sales staff. This process group will take the most time as many of the activities must be outsourced and depend on the schedule of other individuals. The risk assessment done during the Planning Process Group will have identified the possible schedule delays inherent in the outsourcing nature of many of these tasks and worked to minimize any risk.
The Monitoring and Controlling Process Group touches all aspects of the project life cycle. This group is focused on observing and measuring the performance of the project. These measurements are compared to the project plan to ensure that the project is still on track. If at some point in the project it is determined that the project is not measuring up to the appropriate standards, action must be taken to correct the problem. The goal of this process group is to find mistakes quickly and apply corrective action that does not impact the scope, budget, or schedule of the project (Gido & Clements, 2009). For the Company X trade show project, the project team will be regularly reporting into the project manager regarding the progress of each assigned task. These reports will happen regularly throughout the life of the project, but are not intended to be burdensome. Rather, it is the goal of these reports to ensure that each task is started on time and ends when expected.
The final process group is the Closing Process Group. These processes formally bring an end to the project and provide closure to project team members. This process group ensure that each of the previous process groups have been completed and that no outstanding issues remain (PMI, 2004). After the Company X trade show, the project member will meet with each team member to analyze the performance of the project. This is an opportunity for each team member to disclose any problems they had with the execution of the project. These individual discussions should be kept confidential so that team members feel able to open up about any issues the experienced, including problems with other personnel. After the individual meetings, the project manager should schedule a team meeting to discuss the outcome of the project with the team members.
Gido, J., & Clements, J. P. (2009). Successful project management (4th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western.
Project Management Institute. (2004). A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (3rd ed.). Newton Square, PA: Project Management Institute.