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Tailoring the 2021 PMP Processes 

 August 2, 2021

By  Dave Litten

Tailoring the 2021 PMP Processes

One of the most common questions is do we really need all 49 processes when working on a project or a phase?

The answer is no, because every project is unique, and some projects may not need a certain process to do it according to how the PMBOK Guide describes it

This is understandable because the PMBOK Guide is a very generic book that is written to work with all projects.

What companies should do, is tailor these processes to match their requirements and how they would like a project to be completed. This can be done with the help of the project manager and the project management office (PMO)

Every company will develop its own methodology on how to conduct a project and generally customizes the 49 processes to match its requirements

On this exam, we will assume that all projects will follow all the 49 processes within each phase
Keep in mind that this is a PMI exam, and they are going to assume that every project will follow all the processes

Don’t think for a second that a process may not be needed on a project when it comes to answering an exam question. Again, all projects on your exam will assume all the 49 processes will be in each phase of the project.

Tailoring The initiating project management process group


Initiating a project or phase is about getting authorization to start that phase or project. Initiating has only two processes, making it one of the smallest of the five process groups.

When you think of the word initiating, think of authorizing. The main outputs of initiating the project are the project charter and the stakeholder register.

Tailoring the 2021 PMP Processes

The key tailoring activities you will do in initiating are:

  • authorize the project to get started with the development of the project charter
  • assign and set the authority for the project manager
  • identify project stakeholders
  • determine why the project is needed using the business case
  • identify high level estimates for time and costs
  • determine high level risks that can affect the project schedule or budget
  • identify high level constraints and assumptions


Tailoring The planning project management process group


Planning is done after the project has been initiated. The main output of planning is to create the project management plan. This rather large document specifies how the project will be executed, monitored, and controlled, and closed.

Planning has 24 processes across all 10 knowledge areas. The processes are iterative and ongoing until the project management plan is created. It will identify the efforts and objectives needed to create the project deliverables

Planning is very important in project management because without a comprehensive, well-thought-out plan, the project may fail.

The key tailoring activities you will do in planning are:

  • create the project management plan and all its subsidiary plans
  • create the three baselines of scope, time, and costs. These will be added to the project management plan
  • collect requirements from stakeholders
  • identify risk and create the correct responses to it
  • determine what components need to be obtained from outside sellers
  • plan to meet the quality requirements
  • obtain approval of the plan from designated stakeholders


Tailoring The executing project management process group


Executing is about getting the project work done. In this process group, you acquire a project team and bring it together to create the project deliverable. This process group usually requires the most time and resources to complete as this is where the project work is done.

The main output of executing is deliverable. It only has 10 processes, but it actually carries more weight and questions than planning does.

You may have noticed that three of the 10 processes in executing fall under human resources. Expect to find several questions regarding human resources on your exam

The key tailoring activities you will do in executing are:

  • satisfy project specifications
  • implement all change requests, which includes corrective and preventative actions, and defect repairs
  • select and acquire the project team
  • develop and manage the project team
  • manage and resolve conflicts among stakeholders
  • conduct quality assurance for overall process improvement
  • communicate project status with stakeholders
  • select a vendor and award them a contract engage the stakeholders on the project, so they are aware of what is happening
  • implement the responses to any risk identified for the project
  • capture and documents lessons learned

Tailoring The monitoring and controlling process group


There are 12 processes in monitoring and controlling. They fall into all 10 knowledge areas.

Monitoring and controlling ensure that the project stays on plan. It is about measuring, inspecting, monitoring, verifying, reviewing, and comparing the actual work to the planned work

In this process group, the project manager looks at the work that is getting done and compares it against the plan to see if they match. It is very important for the project manager to get these processes done correctly, if not, the project can very quickly go over budget or fall behind schedule.

If the project is off-scope, behind schedule, or over budget, then the project manager will have to take some corrective actions and may need to initiate a few change requests to fix the project

The key tailoring activities you would do in monitoring and controlling are:

  • check on the project work to ensure that it is within the scope, on time, and on budget
  • check to make sure the quality requirements are met
  • control risk to ensure it does not derail the project
  • ensure vendors (sellers) are completing the work, as stated in the agreements
  • ensure stakeholders are being engaged, as stated in the plan
  • if there are any internal deviations from the stated plan, then the project manager should make corrections, using contingency reserve if necessary
  • get deliverables formally accepted so that the project can then move into the closing phase
  • manage changes to ensure they are either approved or denies


Do remember that executing, and monitoring and controlling, are done in parallel. After you have planned your project, you then execute and monitor and control it at the same time.

While you are executing a project, you will monitor and control that execution to ensure the project stays on plan

Tailoring The closing process group


Closing happens after the customer or sponsor has accepted the deliverables. Closing only has one process, but it will be covered heavily in the exam.

When you have the accepted deliverables, the project manager will still need to do additional work, such as ensuring the contracts are closed out and lessons learned are documented. The project manager will also have to hand over(transition) the completed deliverables to the project customers or sponsors

The key tailoring activities you would do in closing are:

  • contract closures and documentation
  • archive project records
  • document reasons why a project may have been terminated before completion update templates and knowledge bases
  • transition deliverables to customers or sponsors
  • create a final report on the project outcome

Need help in preparing and passing your PMP Exam in 2021?

Hop on over to our fully updated PMP 2021 Masterclass and pass at your first try!

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Dave Litten


David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

The Projex Academy

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