Using the PMI Model
What approach do I use in project management? I subscribe to the Project Management Institute's (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). It's the approach I've laid out in the previous articles in this series. As a refresher, check out Figure 1 for their basic approach to project management. The collection of these five process groups is also known as IPECC: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. Here's a recap of each process group:
- Initiating. A project is found feasible, a project manager is selected, and the project charter is created.
- Planning. Well, gee, I wonder what folks do in this process group? Yeah, they plan how the project should go. Planning is an iterative process group that allows project managers and the project team to revisit as needed.
- Executing. You've planned the work, now your project team completes the work. You execute the project plan, not the project team.
- Controlling. You aren't going to let your project team run helter-skelter, are you? You've got to control the work to ensure that's it done according to plan.
- Closing. The project work is complete, so you and the customer have to verify the deliverables and then close out the project finances, team reports, and lessons learned.
Figure 1 All projects, regardless of model, move from initiating to closing.
Now think about this: You'll find these five process groups in any of the project management approaches that are alive in the world today. Or, heck, even the approaches that aren't alive anymore. Can't you see the Egyptians going through IPECC for their pyramids? Do you think they actually called each group by the terms we've assigned to them today? Probably not, but I bet they performed some of the same actions that we do as project managers. (Well, maybe not the same actions—if they actually used slave labor, they had incentives to offer their project team members that we can't use: Work or die.)
And what about IPECC in the World's Fair example from The Devil in the White City? As I read the book, I could actually see the project pass through IPECC.