Project Management Methodology Overview

As stated in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®), “Project management is accomplished through processes using project management knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques that receive inputs and generate outputs.” The project management teams in either public entities or provide consulting commonly customize and implement the project management workflow derived from the Project Management Institute’s process groups.

The processes within each Process Group consist of inputs and outputs. the key to project success is to streamline the inputs and outputs through the project management life cycle.  A process input is “any item, whether internal or external to the project, that is required by a process before that process proceeds. It may be an output from a predecessor process” (PMBOK®). A process output is “a product, result, or service generated by a process. [It] may be an input to a successor process” (PMBOK®). An output may be a specific artifact as well.

The following diagram illustrate the project management life cycle adapted by the State of California for the statewide IT project.  This summary of It project life cycle represents best in class, since it leverages the lessons learned from literally thousands of software development projects from both the public and private sectors.

In this methodology process groups are referred to as stages. There are five stages:

  1. Concept
  2. Initiating
  3. Planning
  4. Executing
  5. Closing

As seen in the diagram, Monitoring and Controlling occur throughout the project. After the Closing Process group, maintenance and operations (M&O) are shown to round out the full life cycle of a project.

Note that each stage of the life cycle has a set of one or more key tasks that must be done to produce the major output of each stage.

The green triangles on top represent the stage tollgate that must be hurdled to move from one stage to the next. Stage gates are reviewed by the Sponsor or steering committee. The blue triangles on the bottom point to the major output of each stage.

Also note the stage that floats above Initiating and Planning: Monitoring and Controlling. Once a Stage 1 Business Analysis has been approved and Initiating has begun, monitoring and controlling begin. The “stage” of Monitoring and Controlling runs in parallel with all of the other stages from the start to the finish of the project.
It is important to note that while the diagram depicts a linear process, project management is more three dimensional in nature. Concurrent with all of the stages of project management are the ongoing processes of executing, monitoring and controlling, and the Software Development Life Cycle.

Each stage and its activities plays a crucial role in managing stakeholders’ expectations, articulating goals and measurements, navigating competing demands, and most important, managing risk. Throughout the life of the project, it is vital to understand and deal with factors that endanger the project’s objectives. Risks must be identified, analyzed, and prioritized for action. Actions must be planned and executed. The risk picture is likely to change as the project progresses. This requires constant monitoring of risks and actions.


California Project Management Methodology Reference Manual


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