This refers to a collection of processes and knowledge areas professionally designed by the project management institute (PMI) to suit any project. Project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) is an internationally recognized process and encompasses the best project management practices and procedures. Lewis explains that PMBOK consists of nine knowledge areas and five basic process groups. (pg 17) These process groups are interactive in nature through out the project. The process groups are presented in five phases, initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing. These phases are collectively known as the project life cycle.
The initiation phase is also referred to as the conceptualization phase; the mortality of the project at this phase is very high. Lewis further notes that the idea of the project is assessed to gauge if it meets the project customer requirements. (pg 18) The project team should carry out a feasibility test therefore subjecting the project to further scrutiny. Activities carried out during the initiation phase are; gathering data, assessing the need, establishing goals and objectives, estimating resources and identifying alternatives. When the conceptualization phase is complete, the project manager should obtain approval for the next phase.
The planning phase follows the initiation phase. This phase starts by defining and listing the project objectives followed by planning the project in detail. The project plan is like a map to guide the project members on what to do. The project model encompasses setting the project goals, strategy and the organizational structure. Dinsmore explains that this phase allows the organization to assess the project before it commits too many resources to the project. (pg 102) The purpose of the project phase is to determine the project cost, schedule, performance objectives, and resource requirements. Strategic planning further involves SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. During the planning phase one needs to identify the human and non human resources required. The project manager should determine the realistic costs, schedule and performance requirements. During this phase, the manager should identify high-risk areas and uncertainty.
The team also needs to schedule the project activities and estimate the time that is required to complete each activity .The manager needs to estimate the time required to complete each activity. The most significant step in planning is to formulate the project proposal. The proposal should be complete in time and must contain all the necessary information indicated by the terms of reference.
Project execution follows the project planning. During this phase, the appointed team members provide the detailed technical requirements to enable the completion of the project. Lewis explains that this step, also known as the implementation phase, aims at creating the product of the project.(pg 19) The implementation phase follows the work based structure set in the planning phase in order to complete the activities according to plan.
Project monitoring and control is carried throughout the entire project life cycle. This phase requires the use of monitoring and evaluation tools. This helps in ensuring that the activities proceed within the given project scope. Lewis further notes that, In case the project drifts off-course from the set project plan monitoring and control play an important role in bringing the process back in line. (pg 19) Constant monitoring and control ensures that the project resources are utilized as intended.
Project closure is the last phase of the project. This phase involves the reviews the success of the project and involves creating a project closure report. There is also need to review the project by undertaking a post project review. During this phase staff, suppliers and deliverables are released from the project and a review of the project is carried out to determine project success. During project closure, it is important to review whether the project objectives are achieved and whether the project was carried out within the schedule and budget limits. This phase plays an important role in identifying lessons and learning from previous mistakes.
According to PMBOK guidelines, the project knowledge areas are project integration management, project scope management, project time management, project cost management, project quality management, project human resource management, project communications management, project risk management and project procurement. The project scope has a habit of changing so there is a dire need of scope management. Time is a very inflexible resource hence the need for carefully creating a work based schedule. Money is also a closely associated resource that requires careful budgeting. This involves estimating cost of materials, equipment and other resources. Procurement of goods and services should be done in such a way that does not delay the execution of the project activities. PMBOK encourages the integration of activities during a project life cycle. Project integration management ensures that each activity is integrated to the other. Wysocki points out that this consists of project plan development, execution and integrated change control. (pg 27) Each project is unique in its own way hence the project team should choose the best-suited procedure to follow.