Group Decision-Making Techniques

What are group decision-making techniques

When it comes to Project Management, usually there are multiple stakeholders expecting different outputs from the project life-cycle. Therefore, it’s necessary to implement  proper group-decision making techniques and methods. Especially this is important when different opinions clash and make conflicts with each other. In addition, these techniques / method may align with group creativity techniques when it’s required. (prior to the execution of group decision-making techniques)

According to PMBOK (5th Edition), there are 4 different group decision-making techniques that can be applied throughout the entire project life-cycle. They are as follows;


This decision making is defined when everyone participating in the decision-making process agrees on a single course of action. There are few methods that can be followed to achieve this. (E.g.: Delphi technique where group of experts respond to the questionnaire anonymously) Apart from that, this method is known to provide the least hassles on project management team in terms of implementing decision making techniques.


Majority relies on most number of votes towards a particular decision. (more than 50%) In order to make this technique more efficient, it’s recommended to have an uneven number of people in the decision making panel to avoid resulting in a tied decision.


This is a bit of complicated decision making technique and more challenging to understand. According to PMBOK (5th Edition), it is a decision reached by the largest block in a decision making panel though it’s not achieved the majority concept. This method is used when the nominated options are greater than 2, hence the option voted by the largest block of the decision making panel is agreed and confirmed.


This is known to be the least agreed method to be used among a decision making panel. When the project leader acts as a dictator, he / she is not willing to listen to others and coming up with their own decisions which will have a higher probability to drive the project towards failure. A dictator doesn’t allow to develop group creativity techniques. In addition, due to the dictatorship, the project lead should be accountable for any future conflicts arising within the project community and tasks.

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What Are Interviews

Interviews are Questions and Answers sessions that can be used for information elicitation purpose from stakeholders in when it comes to different project management activities. (E.g.: Requirement collection) An interview can either be formal or informal and it can be defined as one of the strongest and most efficient requirement gathering techniques in project management.

In order to follow a successful requirement gathering session via interviews, the project management team has to have a prepared set of questions and the response from the client needs to be noted down then and there. Most of the time, an interview is conducted between an interviewer and an interviewee, but there are certain situations where requirements will have to be grabbed from multiple stakeholders at once. In such scenarios, it’s recommended to conduct a brain storming session

When conducting interviews, it’s important to understand who to interview and what sort of questions to ask in order to gather / elicit requirements effectively. Especially, interviewing subject matter experts, experienced project participants and sponsors will help to identify the desired deliverables that need to be produced via the project life-cycle.




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Enterprise Environmental Factors

What are Enterprise Environmental Factors?

Enterprise Environmental Factors are used as inputs to project activities same as Organizational Process Assets. These factors are not under the control of the project team, in spite of being influential towards project direction. This influential factor may negatively or positively impact towards the project success, hence it’s project team’s responsibility to use them under all the project processes to ensure that project is guided and followed under the respective factors accordingly.

PMBOK 5th edition has stated different factors that are used in project activities. Few of them are as follows;

  • Culture, structure and the governing rules of the performing organization
  • External factors such as political and marketing conditions
  • Geographical situation, resources and available facilities
  • Industry / government standards and policies
  • Available human resources (skills, knowledge level, etc…)
  • Company working structure (authorization structure)
  • Stakeholder engagement (risk tolerance, culture and other behavioral patterns)
  • Available communication channels and management methodologies
  • Information databases (commercial, risk related, baselines, etc…)
  • Personnel authority and administration (staffing plans, employee retention methods, performance appraisals and reviews)
  • Project Management Information System (an automated tool to collect and share information related to projects)
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Organizational Process Assets

What are Organizational Process Assets?

According to PMBOK (5th Edition), Organizational Process Assets (OPA) are plans, processes, procedures and knowledge bases specific to a particular organization. Any artifact (formal or informal plans), practice (processes, policies, procedures), any knowledge base (lessons learned, historical information) from any stakeholder group can be included as an organizational process asset to govern or drive projects. Among the project knowledge areas, these process assets are considered as inputs to project activities and they are updated throughout the project life cycle whenever needed and necessary.

The organizational process assets are separated under 2 categories.

  • Processes and Procedures
  • Corporate Knowledge Base

Under processes and procedures, the organizational process assets are categorized as follows.

Initiation and Planning Executing, Monitoring and Controlling Closing
1. Guidelines and specific criteria for a given project
2. Standards and Policies (HR
Policies, health and safety,
quality policies, etc…)
3. Procedures (Process audits,
checklists, KPIs, etc…)
4. Templates (WBS, Risk register, contract templates, etc…)
1. Change control procedures
2. Financial documents
3. Quality, issues and defects related
4. Communication related documents
1. Project closure reports
2. Project closure guidelines
3. Lessons learned documents


Corporate Knowledge Base consists of organizational process assets which includes various types of information related to projects that can be used for any project activity. Few of them are as follows; (Source: PMBOK 5th Edition)

  1. Financial related databases (costing, budgeting, profits, cost overruns, hourly rates, labor hours / rates, etc…)
  2. Quality related databases (detected defects, controlling / limiting information, defect status, action item list, etc…)
  3. Configuration management related info: (baselines, policies, procedures, standards, etc…)
  4. Lessons learned and historical knowledge base (previous project records, project documents, contract documents, project performance related information, other knowledge areas related documents such as risk management, stakeholder management, communication management, etc…)
  5. Project files (Scope, schedule, cost baselines, network diagrams, risk registers, change management processes, risk response strategies, etc…)
  6. Process measurement related knowledge database



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Project Integration Management

What is Project Integration Management

According to PMBOK (5th Edition), there are 10 knowledge areas that support the Project Management team to lead a project towards the success. Project Integration Management is the first knowledge area that should be possessed by the Project Management team to handle a project.

This knowledge area includes the processes, activities, tools and techniques required to successfully manage the Project Integration function. According to the project management context, integration includes characteristics and features of unification, consolidation, communication and integrative actions that are essential to control project execution through completion and meeting project requirements while satisfying stakeholders. (Source: PMBOK – 5th Edition)

There are 5 major functions identified by PMBOK to be looked into within the Project Integration Management knowledge area. They are;

Develop Project Charter

This is the process of developing a document that formally allows / authorizes the existence of a project and provides the project manager to apply organizational resources to project activities.

Develop Project Management Plan

This is the consolidation of all the subsidiary plans such as schedule, cost, scope, quality, etc… and integrating them into a complete and comprehensive project management plan. Apart from the main subsidiary plans, the main baseline plans also will be included.

Direct and Manage Project work

This is the main process of performing the activities stated under the project management plan and build the approved changes to achieve project objectives.

Monitor and Control Project work

It is the process of measuring the project progress and performance objectives as per the project management plan. It continuously tracks and reviews the project status and supports the project management team to bring the project to its expected status if there are any deviations. (Corrective actions, preventive actions and defect repair)

Perform Integrated Change Control

This is a critical process that involves in reviewing all change requests and sending them through an approval / rejection process. It also is related to managing changes to the deliverables,  organizational process assets, project documents and project management as well.

Close Project or Phase

This is the final process of the Project Integration Management knowledge area. It involves in finalizing all the project activities and formally completing the project or phase.

Below table shows under which Project Management Process Group the above processes are performed.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring and Controlling Closing
Develop Project
Develop Project
Management Plan
Direct and Manage
Project Work
1. Monitor and Control Project Work
2. Perform Integrated Change Control
Close Project / Phase


**Please note that each and every individual process mentioned above will be explained further separately.

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Project Management Processes

Project Management Processes

The Project Management Processes make sure of an efficient and steady flow of the project throughout its entire life cycle. The defined processes include tools and techniques needed to apply the skills and abilities under the 10 knowledge areas (The process groups will be discussed further under the knowledge areas). There are 5 basic project management processes (Process Groups) defined by PMBOK (5th Edition)

  1. Initiating Process Group
  2. Planning Process Group
  3. Executing Process Group
  4. Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
  5. Closing Process Group


Process Group Map
Process Group Map

Initiating Process Group

This process group contains the processes stated to define a new project or a new phase of an existing project by receiving the authority to initiate the project. Under this process group, the initial scope of the project is defined. Initial internal and external stakeholders are identified. The project manager will be selected to handle the project. In order to handover the authority of the project to the selected project manager, the project charter will be prepared.

Planning Process Group

This process group consists of the processes required to find out the total scope of the effort to complete the project (Scope, Schedule, Cost) and develop the relevant actions necessary to achieve the project objectives. The planning process group will develop the project management plan that includes all the required documents to carry out the project. While the project is being carried out, this plan will be changed accordingly. This process is known as ‘Progressing Elaboration’ stating that the planning and documentations are iterative and ongoing tasks. Under the project management plan, all the 10 knowledge areas will be covered.

Executing Process Group

The executing process group includes the activities that need to be carried out to complete the work defined in the project management plan to achieve the project objectives. The most of the project budget and schedule will need to be spent under this process group. Apart from the main tasks, the change requests to baseline the project towards its objectives (corrective actions, preventive actions and defect repairs) will also require to be looked into.

Monitoring and Controlling Process Group

This process group is considered one of the most important process groups in Project Management. It includes the processes to track the progress and performance of the project. In addition, it also supports the project management team to identify any variances between the planned and actual and re-baseline the project plan to bring the project towards the expected level. The continuous monitoring of the project always helps to keep the project under a healthy status while producing a error-free final product.

Closing Process Group

This is the final process of a project which contains the activities to conclude and formally close the project, phase or the contractual obligations. This also includes establishing the premature closure of the project. (Cancelled / aborted projects, projects with critical conditions) At the time of closing the project, a formal acceptance from the customer is required. And the lessons learned throughout the project life-cycle need to be documented for future use. All the agreements need to be signed off and formally closed. Assess the team members’ performances and release the project resources accordingly.

Below figure explains how the process groups interact in a project / phase.

Process Group Interaction (Source: PMBOK 5th Edition)
Process Group Interaction (Source: PMBOK 5th Edition)
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What is Project Management

What Is ‘Project Management?’

‘Project Management’ is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques into project activities to meet the requirements identified by a particular project. (PMBOK 5th Edition) There are 47 processes which are grouped under 5 main categories. They are:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing

No matter what the industry a particular project needs to be built is, these 5 processes need to be executed in order to complete the project successfully.

There are few constraints that need to be managed in order to drive a project towards its success. They are:

  • Scope of the project
  • Schedule of the project
  • Cost of the project
  • Quality of the project

In addition to the above main 4 factors, there are 2 other factors that also need attention. They are:

  • Risks of the project
  • Available resources of the project

The main 4 constraints have been identified as the ‘Iron Triangle’ of a project since they are mandatory / essential factors that need to be maintained under their respective limits in order to measure the success of the project.



Each of these factors are linked with each other. Therefore, if one of them is changed, it will affect towards the other factors. Hence, it’s necessary to keep the track of each factor to maintain the project under the agreed values.

E.g.: If the client comes up with a change to the scope, the project team will require more time to do the new change which will add a cost to the project.

Due to the higher probability of changes in the project requirements, development of the project management plan has become a progressively elaborated process which proceeds throughout the entire project life-cycle. This ‘progressive elaboration’ helps the project team to define project activities into much more detailed requirements as the project evolves.

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