Project managers play a crucial role in executing projects, and more and more are choosing to get certification to demonstrate their expertise. The PMI (Project Management Institute) offers professional credentials in project management, including the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification which recognizes the ability to lead projects and deliver results within budget, schedule and resource constraint. According to the PMI's "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (the PMBOK Guide)," there are five process groups that make up a project management framework for a project manager to take a project from start to finish.

Initiating Processes

This is the first phase of a project--basic definition of the project, authorization of it, and assurance that the project fits with the business needs before more in depth planning begins.

Planning Processes

After project initiation, planning processes include defining objectives, requirements, staffing, budget, dependencies and scope, as well as figuring out how to attain the objectives on schedule, and with budgeted resources and team. The project manager must build in a good communication plan for the project team. A key part of the role is figuring out tradeoffs between project objectives and how the different factors interact with each other--for example, a change in scope may affect project cost and schedule. A good project manager manages competing demands in an integrated fashion, with the product priorities always in mind. The project plan created at this stage will be executed in the next phase.

Executing Processes

At the executing processes stage, a project manager coordinates team, resources and communication to carry out the plan. She is in constant contact with the team carrying out the plan and also is aware of any dependencies that mean some parts of the work must be done first by one team member before another team member can complete their task. She also ensures quality assurance is part of the execution. Usually there needs to be several iterations of execution to pass quality assurance, and as the project nears completion, there needs to be constant monitoring to make sure it meets the specified requirements.

Controlling Processes

A project manager must monitor project progress at regular intervals to make sure the project stays on course--especially scope, schedule and cost. If not, the project manager is responsible for taking action to maintain the project plan, which could include, for example, limiting the scope if schedule and cost are at risk of going over their planned allotment.

Closing Processes

Closing processes include getting formal acceptance of project completion from client, department or executives.