Business Process Management vs Project Management Process


Share this Article:

Our content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click links to our partners. Learn more in our Editorial & Advertising Policy.

At an organizational level, both business and project management processes need to be in place in order for a project or product to be delivered successfully without any disruptions in normal business operations. Business processes are procedures that an organization continuously executes to keep things running. Studying, evaluating, and optimizing them is called business process management (BPM). Comparatively, project management processes allow teams to collaborate and coordinate efficiently when working on a project. Project management processes are normally grouped according to which project phase is performed. By applying optimized business and project management processes, companies and project teams can achieve short- and long-term goals. Read more: Best BPM Software

Types of Business Processes

There are five key aspects involved in business process management:
  • Design: Breaking down business processes and identifying the tasks that compose it
  • Modeling: Visualizing a business process using BPM software
  • Execution: Implementing a business process to test its results, usually starting with a small experiment group
  • Monitoring: Tracking and evaluating results of the executed process
  • Optimization: Spotting issues or opportunities for improvement and addressing them
The proper management of business processes helps ensure companies run smoothly and maximize resources. It’s also a vital foundation for companies to scale. Business processes normally fall into three categories: systems-centric processes, human-centric processes, and document-centric processes.

Systems-Centric Processes

Systems-centric processes are procedures that can go on without humans facilitating them. For example, when salaries are computed, most human resource teams no longer have to manually collate hours to know how much to pay each employee. Through software integrations and automation, programs can collect each employee’s work hours and multiply them according to their rates.

Human-Centric Processes

Human-centric processes require human involvement through approvals, meetings, or conversations. Examples of these are applicant interviews, board presentations, and status meetings.

Document-Centric Processes

Document-centric processes involve the formatting, verifying, production, and signing of documents. For example, in a company it’s common to have a standard template for contracts and work orders to ensure clear communication across all departments. Read more: What Is an Iterative Process & How Does It Work?

Types of Project Management Processes

There are five categories for project management processes, including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure.

Initiation Processes

The initiation phase involves the process of determining if a project (or a new phase of an existing one) is worth pursuing. Here, the project team’s goal is to obtain authorization to start by identifying the project’s goals and objectives and establishing their relevance to the business. Initiation phase processes include the development of budget and schedule proposals, identifying stakeholders, feasibility studies, etc.

Planning Processes

The planning phase refines and identifies the course of action to achieve the project’s objectives. The team comes together and agrees on an approach. Tasks are listed and assigned to each team member. Finally, they’re calendared — along with dependencies and resource requirements. Processes involved in this phase are meetings to plan stakeholder management, developing a project plan, scope planning, requirements collection, etc.

Execution Processes

The execution phase is when the team follows through with plans and commitments. The processes in this phase need to help project teams produce quality output, facilitate communication and collaboration, and maintain focus and morale. Examples of the execution process include project team check-ins, change request management, quality testing, etc.

Monitoring Processes

For project managers to effectively communicate with stakeholders, ensure progress, and manage resources, monitoring processes need to be in place. Documenting the team’s activities and decisions helps project managers detect opportunities for improvement and address possible bottlenecks. Task tracking, cost tracking, and schedule monitoring are a few examples of important monitoring processes.

Closure Processes

The closure phase is the completion or termination of a project. Processes here involve auditing a project’s results, turnovers, and the submission of a project’s deliverables. Especially for completed projects, closure procedures help prove that project teams are free to claim payment for their services. Examples of closure processes include documentation collection, procurement audits, turning over assets, submission of relevant reports, and more. Read more: 5 Phases of Project Management Life Cycle You Need to Know

Business Process Management vs Project Management

While business and project management processes are both important for companies, it’s also important to distinguish one from the other. The PMBOK Sixth Edition defines a project as “a temporary endeavor [emphasis by the author] undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” As such, project management processes are performed only within project operations. By comparison, business processes are performed daily for a company or organization to function. They’re not for “temporary endeavors.” Instead, they’re performed for as long as a company or organization exists. Project managers need to be mindful of a company’s business processes because projects function within it. For example, for a project team to procure resources, the business processes for requesting funds, securing approvals, and coordinating deliveries need to be performed. And to add more members to the team, a project manager needs to consider the company’s procedure and policy for hiring and onboarding new talent. Business processes will affect a project’s timeline and estimates. However, sound business process management is necessary for a company to achieve its short-term goals (through projects) and long-term organizational objectives. Read more on TechRepublic: 3 Things to Consider Before Implementing Business Process Automation


While different, business processes and project management processes are also closely related. Good business processes will help project teams plan and execute better. And efficient project management processes ensure projects yield optimal output, which contributes to an organization’s goals and objectives. Continuously optimize both for maximum productivity.

Featured Partners: Project Management Software

If you’re interested in learning more about top-rated project management software, the editors at actively recommend the following.

Sign up for our emails and be the first to see helpful how-tos, insider tips & tricks, and a collection of templates & tools. Subscribe Now

Featured Partners

Subscribe to Project Management Insider for best practices, reviews and resources.

Hannah Donato Avatar

Get the Newsletter

Subscribe to Project Management Insider for best practices, reviews and resources.