I am wondering which initiating group processes are occurring in the example given here [IT PM 9E]

"Initiating processes take place during each phase of a project. For example, in the close-out phase, initiating processes are used to ensure that the project team completes all the work, that someone documents lessons learned, and that the customer accepts the work."

The processes in the initiating process group are:

  • develop project charter

  • identify stakeholders

It seems like none of the activities in the example are in either of the processes in the initiating process group. I am asking this question because the example doesn't make clear to me, how "initiating processes take place during each phase of a project".

If you understand what I am asking, and think it could be asked in clearer way, feel free to edit or tell me. Also, it is first my question here, so if this question is unsuitable in some way, kindly tell me why before closing.

2 Answers 2


You are correct that the two product outputs in the Initiation Process Group are the project charter and the stakeholder management plan. This suggests that it is performed only once and at the project level and I think this is why so many confuse the process groups as project phases.

But the process groups are performed over and over again during the course of a project, including at the project level, the phase level, and I would argue even at the work package level. The confusing piece of this is, I think, that folks do not consider how the outputs differ at the various levels. When you are beginning a phase, you still need to charter it and you need to define the next phase just as you did the project, i.e., who the phase lead is (could be the same as the PM but maybe not), what the scope of that phase is, what the high-level estimates are of that phase, etc. At the work package level, the same thing, who is the work package lead, what is the scope, what will it take, how do we know when it's done, etc.

Same with the stakeholders. At the lower levels, the stakeholder document might include only a subset of the total stakeholders identified at the project level. Or it might even include a stakeholder group not identified previously.

You need to look at all the outputs of each of the phases from a scaled, tailored view that is consistent with the level at which you are writing.

  • It seems lots activitiesnot def'd in pmbk which would be called 'processes' fit into the initiating process group. Within the system of the PMBOK, would these activities be considered initiating processes? (e.g. "..documenting lessons learned.."[ref: qn] I'm guessing that these activities would indeed be considered initiating processes within the system of the PMBOK. If this understanding is correct, then the initiating processes defined in the PMBOK serve as a highly non-exhaustive guide to which initiating processes a project should have. I wonder if there are issues with this understanding?
    – Al Potato
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 2:27
  • tldr: projects typically contain initiating processes that are not defined in the pmbok
    – Al Potato
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 2:31

Each phase of a project indeed has "initiating processes" which are those processes that are required to get that phase up and running in a proper manner.

I wonder whether you are confusing the initiating processes for the project overall with the initiating processes for each phase of the project. The two examples that you quote would be required for project initiation, but not for other phases, and especially not for project close-out.

To be clear, the initiation processes for the subsequent phases would be specific to those phases. For example, you can only close out a project if all of the previous phases have been completed, and that your stakeholders agree that the project is ready for closure. So the processes to allow you to move into the close-out phase might be something like:

  • Confirm sign-off of previous control gates;
  • Confirm stakeholder agreement to move into close-out

Only with these both being confirmed can you move into the close-out phase, which will be whatever that is defined as within your organisation.

So to summarise, I suggest there are project initiation processes to allow you to start a project, and phase initiation processes, that allow you to move from one phase to another. Project initiation processes and phase initiation processes won't be the same as each other, and I suspect that you have taken an example of one and tried to apply it to the other - hence the confusion.

  • 1
    Having read David Espina's answer, I think he has nailed it and in hindsight realise that my answer was not sufficiently well thought through. I have left my answer here for completeness, but it does not address the key points that David brings out.
    – Iain9688
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 10:02

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