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Topics: Agile, New Practitioners, Organizational Project Management
Difference between Project Management Process Groups and Project Phases
For some this is a very basic question, but i have seen many people struggle trying to differentiate between these two.

In your own words, what is the major difference between Project Management Process Groups and Project Phases?
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Project phases relate to a life cycle. There are several lifecycles that seem to get attention, although they are similar.

Process groups represent related processes that are performed at different stages of a project, throughout it's lifecycle.
@Aaron worte everything you need to know. Just to reinforce, project management process will be distributed and performed between the project phases that belongs to project life cycle. Remember you have life cycle models (two: predictive and adaptative), life cycle process that belongs to those life cycle models (waterfall - predictive, iterative - adaptative, and others), methods based on those life cycle models (SCRUM, SDLC, V, Spiral, etc), and tools (not software tools only) that will support the methods. In the basement, you have the approches: Agile, Lean, TQM, etc.
Processes are performed within Phases; and Phases are performed within the Lifecycle.
Project phase is life cycle in some industry and would say different in other.
In a large construction project you can have many phases. Each phase can be a separate autonomous building.
During all phase all project process are likely to be present.
Agree with Aaron.
Processes are set of interrelated activities.
Life Cycle: A project life cycle is when you split up a project into different phases A simple project can have only one phase. It can be broken into several phases. When several phases are available can be executed sequential or may also have overlapped relationships.

PMBOK processes are defined in the form of ITTO (Input, Output, Tools & Techniques) All five process groups (Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing) looks like executed serially. But actually this is not correct, processes are not phases.

Project Life cycle defines the beginning and ending of project

But processes are repeated in each phase of the project. We plan each phase, execute and close it. Monitoring & controlling is a continuous activity. It can also be viewed as , we initiate the project, we plan,execute and monitoring & controlling continuously and finally we close the project.
I will explain it with example. Building a house can be considered as a project which goes through life cycle of design construction and handover are the project life cycle phases. The process groups of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & Control and Closing can apply to each of these project life cycle phases. For example once project is awarded, we can initiate, plan, execute, monitor and close design phase. Process groups can be repeated in every phase of a project life cycle.
Another distinction is that the work done while executing project management processes (in the groups) is done by the project manager and the PM team.

On the other side, work in phases is done by the subject matter experts - for this kind of lifecycle, product, industry etc.
Thank you to everyone for the great explanations. I am new to this, and I am currently getting my master's in project management. This has helped tremendously!
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