The Differences Between the Core and Facilitating Planning Processes

A common confusion point for project managers and readers of the PMBOK is understanding the differences between "core" and "facilitating" planning processes. Common questions include the following:

  • Does "core" mean that the processes are always performed, whereas "facilitating" indicates optional?

  • Why is risk management planning considered a "core" planning process, but communications planning, quality planning, and risk response planning are not?

These are good, insightful questions. In order to answer them and improve your understanding of the distinction between the planning process types, let's review a couple points:

  • The distinction between core and facilitating planning processes is more of an "academic" distinction.

    The core processes are those that must be done in a specific sequence. The facilitating processes can vary in sequence, are often performed in parallel with each other, and have a two-way feedback loop with many "core" processes.

  • The facilitating planning processes are always performed.

    The effort to perform these processes will vary greatly depending on the nature of the project and the project management maturity level of the performing organization.


Facilitating planning processes are always performed. They are not optional.

Although these points help to explain the difference between core and facilitating processes, they do not clarify why risk management planning is considered a core planning process. Only PMI can completely explain this distinction, but here is our attempt:

  • The risk management plan is the only supplemental project plan with its own budget estimate. This budget estimate is needed to feed the "core" cost budgeting process. Therefore, it meets the "sequence" criteria for a core process.

  • PMI places high importance on the risk management process.

PMP Exam Cram 2. Project Management Professional
PMP Exam Cram 2. Project Management Professional
Year: 2003
Pages: 169 © 2008-2017.
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