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Integration of Four Process Groups leads to Project Management Maturity

Created on 28 July 2008 Written by Dennis Bolles
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The integration of four process groups is a basic requirement to institutionalize project management as a core competency and achieve the highest level of project management maturity: management of product processes, management of project processes, management of environment processes, and management of change processes.

The management of products involves six key elements that directly impact how effectively project management processes are embraced by the organization. These product management elements exist to some degree in every organization, but they are often not formally recognized and documented. If project management is to become more than a systemic approach to managing single projects involving products / services these product management elements must be clearly defined and formally documented with project management processes being an integral aspect. The six product management process groups are:

 Leadership – organization vision, mission, goals and objectives

 Work process – workflow at all levels of the organization

 Work authorization – strategic, tactical, and operational levels

 Decision making – roles, responsibility, accountability, and authority

 Planning – forecasting, estimating, and resource management

 Life cycles – product / service life from inception to retirement


Product management process must integrate with the nine project management process groups:

 Integration – life cycle and environmental variances

 Scope – expectations, feasibility requirements

 Time – objectives, restraints

 Cost – funding, budget constraints

 Quality – requirements, standards, regulations

 Risk – internal and external probabilities and impact

 Human Resources – availability, productivity, capability

 Communications – ideas, directives, data exchange accuracy, technology

 Procurement – Availability, capability, capacity, quality


The management of environment process group contains eight key components that affect project management processes as they interface with the product management process that guide the development of products and services.

 Product life cycles – program, project, process, integration with functional operating units

 Decision making – roles responsibility, accountability, authority

 Culture – empowerment, open door, team work

 Work – develop and improve core competencies, skills, and workflow

 Business systems – integration of disparate systems and methodologies

 Reward – performance based compensation and incentives

 People development – core competency career development

 Structure – hierarchical, teams


These environment components are often missing or incomplete and seldom formally documented in those organizations struggling to implement effective project management. The greatest number of disconnects and misalignments are usually found between the management of projects and the management of products, as they are both heavily influenced by the eight components contained within the management of environment. These disconnects produce the greatest impediment to an effective implementation of project management in most organizations.

The most significant changes are typically required in the environment components, which impact everyone in the organization at all levels. These changes will therefore present the greatest challenge and require the most rigors for managing change in the management of organizational change affecting the organizations’:

 Executives – strategic level

 Managers – tactical level

 Staff – operational level


Whenever changes of this magnitude are discussed some level of resistance occurs at all three functional levels of the organization. Whenever changes affecting someone’s area of responsibility are implemented there is a natural tendency to resist that change. The first step in managing change is to recognize resistance is a natural response. Most resistance can be effectively reduced or eliminated with frequent clear communications and also by directly involving those who are affected most in the process of developing and implementing the change. Personal involvement provides them with an opportunity to affect how the change is implemented and thereby have some ownership of the change.

The speed at which the integration of the four process groups is able to move will depend largely on the degree of executive support that is behind the effort and the level of commitment they give in the form of resources (budget and staff) dedicated to the effort. The time it will take to show positive progress and demonstrate improvements will also depend on the initial project management maturity level of the organization, which may require adding project management professionals from outside the organization as permanent or temporary staff if experienced talent is not available inside to complete the work required. This is a significant undertaking that will take time to accomplish, because progress can only move as fast as the organization’s ability to adopt these new concepts.

An example of a generic project management methodology can be found in my book Building Project Management Centers of Excellence, which contains a CD ROM that includes the methodology and all of the associated tools and templates.


About the author:

Dennis Bolles has more than 30 years experience with business and project management in multiple industries. His primary focus over the past 15 years has been advising organizations on methodology development, governance and corporate strategy. He led a virtual project team of 300 volunteers world-wide to a successful completion and on-time delivery of the PMI ANSI Standard PMBOK® Guide Third Edition in 2004. He is a published author of many project management articles, seminars, and two books entitled "Building Project Management Centers of Excellence" and "The Power of Enterprise-Wide Project Management". See his full profile on LinkedIn and invite him to join your network. 
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 23:20
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