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Knowledge areas in PMBOK

There are Nine PMBOK® Guide project management knowledge areas, that are used throughout the project management processes.

They are:

  • Project Integration management
  • Project Scope management
  • Project Time management
  • Project Cost management
  • Project Quality management
  • Project Human resource management
  • Project Communications management
  • Project Risk management
  • Project Procurement management

Let’s consider each of the PMBOK® Guide knowledge areas in turn:

Project Integration management.

This knowledge areas consists of six processes:

  • Develop project charter
  • Develop project management plan
  • Direct and manage project execution
  • Monitor and control project work
  • Perform Integrated change control
  • Close project or phase

This knowledge areas is concerned with identifying defining the work of the project and then combining and integrating with the appropriate processes

It also includes managing issues and change, and replanning if required.

There are two tools which fall with this process. They are earned Value management and the use of project management software such as Microsoft Project.

Project Scope management.

This knowledge areas has five processes:

  • Collect Requirements
  • Define Scope
  • Create WBS
  • Verify Scope
  • Control Scope

There are two aspects of Scope management, one is product Scope and the other project Scope.

Product Scope covers the required features of the product and clarifies the boundaries what is not included.

Project Scope is concerned with the work of the project, and again clarifies the boundaries of what is not included.

Project Scope management within pmbok will use the following PMP areas:

  • The end-product requirement details
  • measurement techniques to verify those details
  • creating the project Scope management plan
  • creating the work breakdown structure
  • controlling changes to these processes
  • Project Time management

Project Time Management

This knowledge areas includes estimating task schedules, determining the project schedule and project completion date. It will also include monitoring and controlling a project schedule throughout the project. It is closely aligned with Project Cost Management, in particular with the Estimate Activity Resources and the Estimate Activity Durations, since it is these along with their cost implications that must be finalized before the schedule can be developed.

This knowledge area has six processes:

  • Define Activities
  • Sequence Activities
  • Estimate Activity Resources
  • Estimate Activity Durations
  • Develop Schedule
  • Control Schedule

Project Cost management

In a similar way, this knowledge areas is there to estimate the resources required, and the project budget.

Resource costing is not just about people. It should also include other types of resource such as Materials, equipment, facilities, and project related services such as letting contracts.

This knowledge areas has three processes:

  • Estimate Costs
  • Determine Budget
  • Control Costs

There are two techniques used to determine options and optimize the process: Value engineering, and life-cycle costing. These will be discussed in detail in a later article.

Project Quality management

This knowledge areas covers two main areas, creating the products to an acceptable quality level, and the quality of the project management process itself.

This uses three processes:

  • Plan Quality
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Perform Quality Control

Performing Quality Assurance is the act of auditing and comparing the quality requirements against the quality control measurements to check that appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used. Compare and contrast this to:

Perform Quality Control. This is the monitoring the results of carrying out quality activities which will include the project deliverables/products and project management results such as how the project is performing against schedule and budget.

Project Human resource management

This knowledge areas is to do with managing people. It includes aspects such as acquiring the team, developing the overall team performance, and then managing that performance such as performance appraisals, leading and coaching, and resolving resource issues and optimizing the project performance. The objective here is to ensure that all human resources are used effectively, and draws upon skills such as leadership, team building, and communication.

This knowledge areas contains four processes:

  • Develop Human Resource Plan
  • Acquire Project Team
  • Develop Project Team
  • Manage Project Team

Project Communications management

Communications is not just about the human kind, but includes information such as meeting management and actions, risk actions and assessments, project plans, reviews and walk-throughs, etc. This information must be shared with all of the project stakeholders — both internal and external to the project.

The Communications plan should document all of these aspects and along with other documents, be reviewed and updated as needed.

This knowledge areas contains five processes:

  • Identify Stakeholders
  • Plan Communications
  • Distribute Information
  • Manage Stakeholder Expectations
  • Report Performance

Project Risk management

The PMBOK Guide advises that risks include both threats and opportunities. An opportunity should also be seen as a type of risk because just like a negative threat, an opportunity also has uncertainty. Risks predict potential give negative impacts, and any actions should strive to reduce or remove these.

By the same token, opportunity actions should strive to make them more probable and increase their potential positive outcomes. Put another way, opportunities should be grasped, and action taken to ensure that they are realized.

This knowledge areas contains six processes:

  • Plan Risk Management
  • Identify Risks
  • Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
  • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
  • Plan Risk Responses
  • Monitor and control risks

Risk identification is best done during planning, and as many people should be involved as possible, so that the complete picture of risk threats and positive opportunities to the project can be identified.

Project Procurement management

Most projects work within a customer/supplier environment. Generally the project team are working on behalf of the customer, and suppliers are responsible for the creation of the project deliverables/products — there can be both internal suppliers and external suppliers.

Project Procurement is used when it is necessary to purchase or acquire products, services, or results needed from outside the project team. This knowledge area includes contract management and change control.

Activities in this knowledge areas will include working with suppliers, vendors, contractors, service groups, etc.

This knowledge areas contains four processes:

  • Plan Procurements
  • Conduct Procurements
  • Administer Procurements
  • Close Procurements

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