PMBOK 101: It’s all about the plan
I found this great graphic from a post by Nader Khorrami Rad, PMP on the Project Smart website:
It shows how dominant the planning process has been over the evolution of each version of the PMBOK, starting from the 1st edition to the recent draft 5th edition, in terms processes and is the only section where you will find all 9 areas of the knowledge groups outlined for the input, tools and techniques and outputs (or more famously knows by the acronym: “ITTO”).
This should not be surprising since the roots of traditional project management is predicated on having a detailed and fully fleshed out plan prior to the actual execution of the project. As the saying goes, “a failure to plan, is a plan for failure” and nothing exemplifies this notion more than the field of project management.
One area that I’m in disagreement with the author is his idea that “You should not stop revising plans (progressively elaborate them, in PMBOK terms) until the executing ends”. In my view, if you read section 3 of the 4th edition PMBOK that outlines planning, it mentions that “the feedback and refinement process cannot continue indefinitely” for the process of progressively refining the plan that should have a well defined stopping point. This stopping point should be just before execution begins and you create your first baseline.
From that point forward, changes and revisions to the plan would have to go through and be approved through a change control process that’s done through a change control board. These changes get reviewed and either rejected or approved and if approved would get documented. This would cascade forward into re-baselining the project with possible changes to scope, timelines, budget, etc. Whatever the case, in PMBOK land progressive elaboration or “rolling wave” planning is starting with a high level plan and fleshing it out as more of the project scope and requirements “reveal” themselves.
For those studying for the PMP exam, having 50% of the processes and knowledge areas in the planning process will give you a clue as to where the majority of the questions would derive. 🙂