Are project management processes correctly mapped

to the Project Management Process Groups in the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017) from a project life cycle perspective?



By Martin J. Smit, PhD

Johannesburg, South Africa




In a commentary article that was published in the PM World Journal in October 2019 the author mentioned that he is now in a new phase of his life after he had to exit employment with his employer when he reached the age of 65. The author stated that it is an opportune time for him to do some reflection after having had the privilege to gain excellent experience in organisational project management during a working career of some 45 years. In the article that was published in October 2019 the author suggested that the Project Management Institute (PMI) Development and Review Team for the PMBOK® Guide­ Seventh Edition should consider the possible inclusion of additional Project Management Knowledge Areas with their associated project management processes, for example:

  • Project Benefits Realization
  • Project Knowledge Management.
  • Project Documentation and Records Management.
  • Project Issue Management.
  • Project Organizational Change Management.

In this new commentary article the author suggests that some of the project management processes of some of the Project Management Knowledge Areas in the current PMBOK® Guide ­Sixth Edition (PMI, 2017) are not correctly mapped to the Project Management Process Groups if viewed from a project life cycle perspective. During his career the author was the custodian responsible for the development and maintenance of Project Life Cycle Models.

The author is aware that The Standard for Project Management­ Seventh Edition Exposure Draft (PMI, 2020) that was released for comment provides a common basis for and understanding of project delivery that applies to any project or delivery approach such as predictive, agile, and hybrid. This standard describes a Value Delivery System that represents a departure from what has historically been a process-orientated approach to a principle-based approach that supports any type of project. The author is however unsure how this change in approach will affect the contents of the PMBOK® Guide ¬ Seventh Edition. According to an article by Dash (2019) the current PMP exam domains (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing) will be replaced by new domains (People, Process, and Business Improvement) for the new PMP exam that will be launched later in 2020.

PMI (2020) further mentions that for a project manager to successfully manage a project he/she needs to understand how to apply the project management processes for each of the Project Management Knowledge Areas according to the project management delivery approach (i.e. predictive, agile, or hybrid) that are the most appropriate for the project. If the author understands it correctly it seems that the project management processes for each of the project delivery approaches will be included in the new PMBOK® Guide ¬ Seventh Edition in the format of a Digital Content Platform.

Keywords: project management processes, project management process groups; project life cycle.

Project management processes, project Management process Groups and project life cycle

Project management processes

According to PMI (2017) project management is accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of logically grouped project management processes. PMI (2017) briefly describes a project management process as a systematic series of activities directed towards causing an end result where one or more inputs will be acted upon to create one or more outputs. PMI (2017) states that the project life cycle is managed by executing a series of project management activities known as project management processes. Every project management process produces one or more outputs from one or more inputs by using appropriate project management tools and techniques. The output can be a deliverable or an outcome which is an end result of a process. PMI (2017) mentions that these project management processes apply globally across industries and categorizes them by Project Management Knowledge Areas:

  • Project Integration Management.
  • Project Scope Management.
  • Project Schedule Management.
  • Project Cost Management.
  • Project Quality Management.
  • Project Risk Management.
  • Project Resource Management.
  • Project Communication Management.
  • Project Procurement Management.
  • Project Stakeholder Management.

Project Management Process Groups

PMI (2017) describes a Project Management Process Group as a logical grouping of project management inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. PMI (2017) groups project management processes into the following five Project Management Process Groups:



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How to cite this article: Smit, M.J. (2020). Are project management processes correctly mapped to the Project Management Process Groups in the PMBOK® Guide (PMI, 2017) from a project life cycle perspective? PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue VI, June.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/pmwj94-Jun2020-Smit-pm-processes-mapped-to-process-groups-in-pmbok-guide.pdf



About the Author


Martin J Smit, PhD, PMP®

Johannesburg, South Africa


 Martin Smit is semi-retired and the owner of a sole proprietorship, OrgPM-Value, that provides portfolio, program and project management consulting, education and training services and products to help organizations to create sustainable business value. His career spanned some 45 years. He worked for Eskom, the electricity utility in South Africa, for 39 years where he held various management positions in construction-, outage-, maintenance-, and project/program- management. During the latter years Martin worked in the Eskom Project Management Office (EPMO) as an Organizational Project Management Specialist. He has extensive experience in the development and application of project, program and portfolio management methodologies, processes and best practices. Martin is certified as a facilitator to conduct project definition readiness assessments. He is also certified to facilitate learning, conduct outcomes-based assessments and moderation. Martin has developed and presented various project and outage management training courses.

Martin holds a MSc (Management of Technology and Innovation) from the Da Vinci Institute in the domain of Project Management and a PhD in Engineering from the North-West University in the field of Development and Management Engineering. The title of his thesis was: “Development of a project portfolio management model for execution organizational strategies: A normative case study.” He also has qualifications in civil and mechanical engineering, information management, management, and maintenance practice. Martin has been a Project Management Professional (PMP®) since 1992 (No. 1071).

During his career Martin has presented various papers at national and international conferences and he has also published some articles in international journals.

Martin can be contacted at martin.smit@vodamail.co.za.