Project Management Process vs. Project Management Lifecycle vs. Project Management Methodology
In fact, most of the “methodologies” in use are actually project management processes, which attempt to encapsulate and standardize the project management lifecycle. Typically, a “methodology” is at a much higher level, a more “strategic” definition of project management. The project management process or lifecycle is a “tactical” view of the project management work – it defines not only “what” is to do; but also “how” you will accomplish the work.
This page discusses the project management process and lifecycle – the tactics of successfully completing your project.
Project Management Process
Typically, a project management process follows a flow similar to the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” cycle, defined by Shewhart and modified by Deming (from the ASQ Handbook, pages 13-14, 1999). Simply, the phases or steps of the PDCA cycle are linked together by results – the result of one step becomes the input to another.
A successful project management process must address the various phases of the project lifecycle. In some cases the work phases are arbitrary, based on organizational project practices. In all cases, the phases are well defined and the transition from one work phase to another typically involves the transfer of some sort of deliverable (a document, piece of software, invoice, bill of materials, report, etc.)
Alignment between project management processes and the project lifecycle is driven by project work, deliverables, and milestones. Although project lifecycle phases appear to be sequential, involving the exchange and approval of deliverables, the vast majority of all projects are actually highly iterative. Work phases of a project are defined by specific schedule milestones and deliverables, or Work Product.
Project management steps or phases of the project lifecycle are similar to those of most project management processes.
Typically, the project management process includes the following project characteristics:
The project management process defined by the PMBOK®, from PMI, mirrors the typical project lifecycle phases. Remember that all organizations apply the phases of the project lifecycle differently; and even differently for different projects. For example, one company may apply a single design phase while another might apply 2 or more design phases during a single project.
Throughout the pages of this website, I will assist you in bringing the application of the project management process to a tactical level. I will also work with you to align the project management process phases to the project lifecycle phases within your organization.
Project Management Statistics and Performance
Poorly planned, mismanaged, undisciplined and poorly executed projects are doomed to failure... So what else is new, right? Read on...
Some statistics I gathered look like this:
A 1998 Information Technology project survey (seems old, but is still quoted) of 203 participants indicated the following reasons for failure:
The same survey indicated the following as project success factors:
According to most studies in this area, poor software implementation is due to bad or poorly articulated requirements. Many experts agree that 40-60 percent of software defects and failures are attributed to bad requirements.
Most who quote project management failure statistics are quoting, usually out of context, from a 1994 report by The Standish Group, called the CHAOS Report.
Even though statistics may look gloomy, they are continually improving due to:
All of these reasons, along with your search for the best information, tools, and coaching (by using this web site) means that project success rates will continue to increase – and we will all win.
PMBOK® -- Project Management Body of Knowledge
The Project Management discipline mentioned above is embodied in the various, proven project management processes, such as PMI's PMBOK® (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and the OGC's PRINCE2®. Although these are often called “methodologies”, they play a dual role. They provide the tactical tools and guidance for you as a Project Manager and for your Project Team Members to effectively and successfully manage projects to conclusion.
Although I have worked projects in the UK (in England) which used PRINCE® and PRINCE2®, I am most familiar with PMI’s PMBOK®. Although less a project management process than PRINCE2, PMBOK® provides high-level structure through its project lifecycle, called Project Process Groups.
PMBOK® also weaves in 9 “Project Management Knowledge Areas”:
PMBOK® further defines the Inputs and Outputs for each individual project management process within each of the 5 Process Groups. There is enough detail within all of the 44 project management process, grouped under the 5 process groups, to provide specific tactical project management steps, tools and templates.
As stated in the PMBOK® Guide (3rd Edition), for your project to be successful, you must work with your team to:
Although you follow the PMBOK® and have adapted those project management processes to your project, your project’s success is meaningful only when it encompasses:
(I will discuss the PMBOK® and how it can benefit your project on a subsequent pages.)
Project Quality Management
Project Quality Management is an extensive subject area that I will begin to explore on this page and continue provide additional, more detailed pages of discussion and examples.
Project Quality Management is one of the nine PMBOK® Project Management Knowledge Areas, which align with the five project management process phases. PMBOK® defines “Project Quality Management” as:
As you can see from the definition, the PMBOK® provides a somewhat “basic” and “general” approach to project quality management. According to the PMBOK® Guide, this is done on purpose to allow for compatibility with the various approaches to quality, as might be implemented within your organization or your client’s organization. The PMBOK® approach is compatible with ISO, TQM, Six Sigma, Cost of Quality (COQ), Continuous Improvement and others. It also is compatible with approaches espoused by Deming, Juran, Crosby, and others in this field.
PRINCE2® is an “open” method, meaning no license fees. It is sponsored by the UK government's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and recognized as best practice project management process. A basic difference, among others, is that PMBOK® is customer requirements driven, such as in delivering customized software, while PRINCE2® is business case driven, such as in building a software product.
The layout of PRINCE2® is comparable to PMBOK® and the two are in close alignment in many areas. One of these is Project Quality Management, with the difference that PRINCE2® provides a more tactical, process-based approach than PMBOK®. PRINCE2’s approach to project quality management consists of:
There are definite synergies between the two project management processes – PMBOK® and PRINCE2®. PMBOK® provides structure, depth, and techniques which are adaptable to all project situations. PRINCE2® provides complimentary techniques and project guidance in areas of Organization (such as establishing “Project Board” governance), Product-Based Planning (a focus on the product produced), Product Descriptions, Quality Review, Configuration Management, Change Control, and Work Packages (definition, review, and approval processes).
The basis of solid Project Quality Management is the discipline of your project management process and the rigor with which you apply it, as the Project Manager. Next, you as the PM must comply with your organization’s (or your customer’s) quality policies and procedures.
(Does your organization have an enterprise-wide quality initiative?)
Finally, you must be rigorous and consistent in your application of your Project Quality Management Plan (which is an important component of your overall Project Management Plan.
(I will address the above topics in more detail throughout this web site, as we continue to define project management.)