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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chapter 9: Understanding PMI’s Planning Process Group

Aim – To provide an overview of the PMI’s Planning Process Group.

After you have completed the initiating processes you are ready to start planning your project. This means that you possess formal authorization to conduct the work of the project. But you won’t know what to do without a plan. Planning answers a few very important questions. What work will you do? What exactly are you trying to accomplish?
To answer these questions, start from what you know. There are three outputs from the initiating process group processes. Always start with the information necessary to proceed. Recall that PMI refers to this initial information for each process as the process’s inputs. The three outputs from the initiating processes are
• The project charter
• The stakeholder register
• The stakeholder management strategy

Armed with these initiating documents you can start the planning processes. In a nutshell, you follow each of the planning processes to refine the project documents from these outputs. As you develop the planning documents, always remember how the various processes are related.

Think of the initiating progress group as the processes that answer the ‘“what’” and ‘“why”’ questions. The planning processes answer the ‘“how”’ questions. The planning processes result in outputs that explain how the project will progress toward reaching its goals.

Exam Watch:
The Planning Process Group is by far the largest group and has many processes. So, be prepared to answer many questions in this area on the exam. After all, planning process group questions make up 23% of the PMP exam.

PMI is very explicit in stressing the importance of planning. Far too many projects suffer from the poor practice of starting work before anyone really knows what needs to be done. This almost always results in wasted effort and lost time. Proper planning requires good communication among the team and sound leadership from the project manager. The result of solid planning is a project team that is more informed and prepared to carry out the work required to meet the project’s goals. You should expect to see several questions on the exam that require you to understand the importance of fully planning before starting work.

Because planning is such a large process group, the subsequent chapters in this section wil cover the following topics:
• Integration
• Scope
• Schedule
• Cost
• Communications
• Risk
• Quality
• Procurement
• Human resources

The main purpose of planning is to provide a framework to gather information to produce a project management plan. In fact, the plan itself is really a collection of other plans. The majority of activities in the planning group center around developing the supporting documents that comprise the final project management plan. As more detailed information is learned about the project, the overall plan becomes more complete and the stakeholders’ confidence in the project increases.

Planning is an iterative group of processes as well. As the project progresses it often becomes necessary to modify the plan due to any number of reasons. Unexpected results, delays, outside factors, and internal factors can all require additional planning. Any scope changes are likely to require one or more planning processes to be revisited. Don’t assume that planning is only accomplished once. The exam requires that you understand how planning is iterative throughout a project.

Prev: Chapter 8

Next: Chapter 10

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