Describing a project by its life cycle is a useful analogy, but it lacks important detail. Namely, it doesn't describe the processes necessary to move from one phase to another. We will group these processes into five categories, all of which can and should occur in each phase of a project's life. These processes, as defined by the PMI and illustrated in Figure 2-1 are:
Initiating processes are actions that begin a phase of a project. For example, most organizations will not begin work on a project for another organization until a formal contract is signed. In this case, moving from the development phase to the implementation phase is dependent on an initiating process. Planning processes ensure projects align with an organization's mission. For example, an organization may plan an outcome assessment at the close-out phase of a project. Executing processes coordinate people, resources, and activities to accomplish work (following tasks in the project plan and completing project deliverables). This Executing process group is the place where work actually gets done--all of the other process groups support project execution activities. Controlling processes are designed to ensure project success. An extension of a deadline at no cost to the client would be an example of a controlling process. Finally, Closing processes end a phase or project. Creating an archive of a GIS project is an example of a closing process. In addition, the PMI suggests documenting "lessons learned" to serve as a project knowledge base for future projects. A Lessons Learned knowledge base is a summary of work, practices, methods that worked well or should be avoided.