Spread the love

The following post is related to our upcoming book, titled Project Management beyond Waterfall and Agile.
In this post, we focus on how to apply the high-level processes (process groups) within a typical project discovery phase.


  1. CAMMP™ refers to SUKAD’s The Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects™.
  2. High-level Process is the term CAMMP uses to refer to six main processes (adapted from the process groups).
  3. Process group: this is the term used by the #PMBOK Guide and #ISO21500 to refer to five sets of process groups, each consisting of 2 or more processes (per the editions that are current at the time of writing this).
  4. Discovery Phase is the first of three phases per CAMMP that start with the idea statement or project brief and is closed after authorizing the project.

CAMMP™ project life cycle, with the three phases

The Discovery Phase

The following image presents the high-level process flow for the Discovery Phase of a given project. This image is per CAMMP version 3 and is from the upcoming book mentioned earlier.
Sample high-level flowchart for a project discovery phase

Explaining the Image Components

The red color is used to refer to starting-ending something and to refer to the Stage Gates. The stage gates exist along the project life cycle and are key #governance and #control points. SG is the abbreviation used to refer to Stage Gates.
In addition to Stage Gates, there are Process Gates (PG). These are required within a stage and are needed for control purposes during the development of the various deliverables.
As we explain the sequence – workflow, notice the application of the #PMBOK Guide / #ISO21500 process groups, as modified by the SUKAD CAMMP Model. These include:

  • Phase authorization (initiating),
  • Stage management plan (management planning),
  • Stage detailed plan (detailed planning),
  • Conducting the feasibility study represents implementing process, and
  • Closing at the end.

What is not shown explicitly is controlling. However, controlling is present through the stage gates, SG1 and SG2, and the process gates, PG1, PG2, and PG3. In addition to the gates, the controlling points, control actions are happening in parallel to every step and during the development of every deliverable.

Explaining the Process Flow

Sample high-level flowchart for a project discovery phaseEvery project starts with an idea; the idea could be from a team member or the strategic plan. The idea could also be an RFP (Request for Proposal) from a Project Owner (Buyer) to a Service Provider (Seller). This first brief deliverable could be called Idea Statement or Project Brief. Some practitioners think that the first document is the charter but this is not accurate.
Once the first deliverable is ready, management (or executive management – a function of project size and organizational culture) will review the idea and either reject it, which END the process, or approve it and project continues.
If approved, our model requires appointing a sponsor AND a project manager.
The sponsor will consult with the project manager and will develop and issue a Stage Authorization Document (equivalent to a stage charter). Per CAMMP, there are four sub-processes that would be required at this time.
If this document is developed by the PM, then the sponsor will approve it at PG1 and if developed by the sponsor then PG1 will not be required.
Per CAMMP, the next step would be to develop the Stage Management Plan (SMP), which requires working 15 sub-processes all focusing on the management of the stage, not the project.
Next, it would be time for the PM to present the SMP to the sponsor for approval. If all is fine, the sponsor will approve authorizing the PM to go to the next step. Sometimes, the sponsor might ask for clarifications or revisions. However, notice that the PG1, 2, and 3, there is no stop points since stopping the project, if necessary, is typically at stage gate function.
Moving on it would be time to develop the Stage Detailed Plan (SDP), which requires about 26 sub-processes. The SDP will be the detailed plan that will be used for implementing the work, once approved at PG3.
Approving the SDP lead to implementing the stage work and in this case, it is to conduct the feasibility study and other related work.
After completing the feasibility study, it is time for Stage Gate 2, which consists of two or three steps.

  • Step 1, if the project is not feasible, then we end the work and go to PC = Project Close. If the project is feasible, then time for Step 2.
  • Assuming the organization subscribes to the principles of portfolio management and projects’ prioritization, then step 2 is to determine if the project is a priority or not. If a priority, the team will proceed to identify the stakeholders and developing the Project Authorization Document (PAD). PAD is the Project Charter in PMBOK Guide and ISO 21500.
  • If at Step 2 management decided the project is not a prioirty, then step 3 would be required to determine what to do next, either close the project or hold until another opportunity of the fiscal year.

We mentioned in the previous point the need to develop the PAD, if the project will proceed.
Once the PAD is issued, then the team will proceed to the next stage, while a team member (or more) will stay behind to close the stage, per the CAMMP five sub-processes.

Closing Remarks

The above will be a typical process for any project; assuming the organization:

  1. Accepts that the concept of projects starting with an idea and not after authorization.
  2. Accepts the strategic need to have a Discovery Phase.
  3. Accepts that a feasibility study is a must to determine the expected benefits and the ability of the organization to deliver the project successfully and realize those benefits.
  4. Accepts the need for formal stage gates and process gates.

Finally, all of the above steps might not be necessary if we have a small-simple project.
What do you think? Would love to hear from you!

Spread the love